Nantucket Cranberry Pie
The prolific food writer and novelist Laurie Colwin had a great appreciation for simplicity in the kitchen. This adaptation of her recipe for Nantucket Cranberry Pie takes her easy recipe and makes it even easier by using whole instead of chopped cranberries. Instead of serving the pie as suggested, topped with a browned crust, our adaptation inverts the cooked pie to showcase the glistening red berries. Top the pie with a dusting of snowy confectioner’s sugar — or, to offset the tartness of the fruit, serve each portion with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Cranberries freeze extremely well, so you can keep them on hand year-round. No cranberries? Blueberries make a lovely substitute, especially when you can harvest them locally. This recipe calls for a 25.4 cm (10-inch) pie pan.
Adapted from More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, Harper Collins 1993
For the cranberry-walnut mixture:
- Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil, for greasing pan
- 118 ml (1/2 cup) sugar
- 473 ml (2 cups) whole cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
- 118 ml (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
For the batter and topping:
- 2 large eggs
- 177 ml (3/4 cup) butter
- 237 ml (1 cup) sugar
- 237 ml (1 cup) flour
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) almond extract
- Confectioner's sugar, as needed for topping
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 177°C (350°F). Generously coat the inside of a 10-inch pie plate with oil or nonstick spray.
2. In the bottom of a 25.4 cm (10-inch) pie plate or springform pan, spread the sugar evenly, then add the cranberries and chopped walnuts. Mix well, spreading everything evenly across the bottom of the pan and lightly patting it down.
3. In a heatproof bowl in a microwave oven (or in a pan over low heat), melt the butter. Stir in the sugar. Add the flour, almond extract, and eggs, mixing well to make a smooth batter. Pour this over the cranberry mixture, starting with the edges and working toward the middle. Smooth the batter so it covers evenly and to the edges of the pan.
4. Bake until the top is light golden brown, about 40 minutes. While the pie is baking, set aside a plate for the finished pie, two oven mitts, and a small sharp knife.
5. When the pie is ready to come out of the oven, remove it and set on a heatproof surface. Immediately run the knife around the inside edge of the pie to loosen it. Place the serving plate on top of the pie pan and grasp the serving plate and pie pan with both mitts, flipping the pie upside down. The pie should release easily from the pan. Use the edge of the knife to help lift the pie pan so you can remove it. If any pie filling has stuck to the pan, remove it and pat back into place on the pie; when the pie is cooled, confectioner’s sugar will help hide any imperfections.
6. Allow the pie to cool completely before topping with a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. Serve at room temperature. If desired, garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream.