This gorgeous Cranberry Meyer Lemon Pie with gingersnap crust is a show-stopping holiday dessert that’s perfect for Thanksgiving. It’s like Key Lime Pie, but better!
STOP THE PRESSES. This Cranberry Meyer Lemon Pie is the pie to beat all other pies this Thanksgiving (sorry Grandma). It’s a brilliant twist on key lime pie that will not only stand out on the table, it will completely steal the show. No one will even remember that turkey was served. It’s that good.
I’ve had my eye on this Cranberry Lime Pie ever since it was printed up in the 2016 Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit. I mean, LOOK AT IT. Is there a more beautiful pie in existence? I was dying to try it, but kept putting it off, and then – shocker – never wound up making it. This year, however, I wasn’t wasting any time. The minute I saw fresh cranberries at the market, I bought up as many as I could and got to work.
Of course, I had to put my own spin on it. I wasn’t really feeling the lime, even though I’m sure it’s lovely, and lemon didn’t quite feel right either. Orange wouldn’t work because it’s too sweet, but then I remembered the Meyer lemons lurking in the back of my crisper drawer. A cross between Mandarin orange and lemon, Meyer lemons are sweeter and more interesting than a standard lemon, but still plenty tart. This was exactly the flavor I wanted.
This pie is best described as Key Lime Pie’s older, more sophisticated sister. The filling consists of a rich cranberry-Meyer lemon curd, and in lieu of a graham cracker crust, we’re making one with gingersnaps instead. The original recipe calls for using pecans in the crust, but I felt they took away from its crispiness, so I left them out. The crunchy, spiced crust along with the smooth, puckery filling is absolute perfection. As someone who usually prefers traditional Thanksgiving desserts, this one left me speechless.
The filling is somewhat time consuming, but nothing astronomical. It’s made with a whole 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, plenty of Meyer lemon zest and juice, butter, eggs, and obviously a good amount of sugar to balance out all that tartness. The Bon Appetit recipe calls for using a food processor to make the crust, then a blender AND an electric mixer for the filling (not to mention, a double boiler), but dude, that is way too much equipment for one recipe. Instead, I cut out the blender and used a food processor for the crust and filling.
There were still quite a few pieces of cranberry skins that wouldn’t fully blend, so I opted to strain the mixture after cooking the curd and it worked out really well. In addition to straining out the cranberry skins, it also helped remove those little bits of egg that coagulate during the thickening step. Of course, you don’t have to strain the filling, as it is an extra, annoying step, but I think it’s worth it if you want to achieve the silkiest, smoothest filling possible.
Other than those swaps, I pretty much kept to the recipe and it is really, truly incredible. In the reviews on Bon Appetit’s website, several people said their pie never fully set up in the fridge, so I want to stress the importance of the thickening step. Just like when making ice cream, lemon curd or any other kind of custard, you have to cook the mixture slowly, while stirring constantly, over low heat, until it gets thick. Not just a little bit, but really thick, like the texture of loose pudding. It will take some time – 10 minutes at least. Don’t rush it. Make sure your mixture is truly thickened at this step, or risk the whole thing turning to slop.
I am not one to stray from traditional Thanksgiving desserts, so this recipe is really going out on a limb for me. Still, I can’t get over how amazing it is. It’s intensely creamy, perfectly tart and so, soo festive. After indulging in a huge meal, I can’t think of anything that would be more welcome and refreshing to eat. It’s so rich and strongly flavored that just a skinny slice and a few bites will do the trick.
I rushed to get this recipe out to you ASAP so you’ll have enough time to plan ahead. If you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert that will be sure to impress EVERYONE at the party, look no further.
One Year Ago: Brown Butter Pear Pandowdy
Two Years Ago: Brussels Sprout, Kale + Apple Salad with Sharp Cheddar, Bacon + Pecans
Three Years Ago: Fennel + Onion Gratin
This gorgeous Cranberry Meyer Lemon Pie with gingersnap crust is a show-stopping holiday dessert perfect for Thanksgiving. Like Key Lime Pie, but better! Adapted from Bon Appetit.
For the Crust:
- 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs *see note
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
- 1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest
- ½ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- Fresh whipped cream, for serving
For the Sugared Cranberries (optional):
- 1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
Make the Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Add gingersnap cookie crumbs, butter, brown sugar and salt to a food processor. Pulse until the crumbs are moistened, then transfer to a deep 9-inch pie dish. Use a measuring cup to press the crust firmly into the bottom and up sides of the dish.
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until crisp and slightly darkener. If the crust falls off the sides, use the measuring cup to gently press it back into place while still hot. Let cool. Crust can be baked up to 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until needed.
Make the Filling:
Add cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the berries burst and the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 15 minutes. Puree in the food processor (or blender, if you wish), until as smooth as possible. This may take a good 3-4 minutes. Be careful whenever blending hot liquids – allow the mixture to cool down first if using a Nutribullet or a blender that does not allow steam to escape.
- Add the cranberry purée, eggs, egg yolks, Meyer lemon zest, Meyer lemon juice, salt, and remaining ½ cup sugar to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water). Cook gently, while stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until curd thickens and coats the spatula, about 10 minutes. Don’t rush this step, and be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
- Set a fine meshed strainer over a bowl, then pour the curd through. Press with a rubber spatula to make sure you get as much of the curd through as possible while leaving the bits of cranberry skin and coagulated egg in the strainer. Let cool until just warm.
- Beat the warm curd with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, adding butter one piece at a time. Be sure each piece of butter is fully incorporated before adding in the next. Beat the curd until all the butter has been incorporated and it looks lighter in color and texture, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the curd into the prepared crust, then smooth out the top. Gently bang the pie dish on the counter to remove any air bubbles, then chill until firm, at least 2 hours. Pie can be made 2 days ahead. Cover once filling is firm and keep chilled.
Make the Sugared Cranberries:
Boil ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat, then add the cranberries and cook until just starting to soften, about 1 minute. Use a perforated spoon to transfer the berries to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes until just barely tacky.
- Mix together the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and Meyer lemon zest in a small bowl. Roll cranberries in the sugar mixture until coated.
- Top pie with cranberries right before serving. Serve with whipped cream on the side.
*The amount of gingersnap cookies needed for the crumbs will vary by brand (or use homemade for even better results). I found about 3 cups of loosely packed cookies produced enough crumbs. Use the food processor to buzz them up, then measure.
Keywords: cranberries, meyer lemon, christmas, thanksgiving, key lime pie, pie, tart, gingersnap, crust, custard, curd, citrus, holidays