Nantucket Cranberry Pie Recipe: Is This Sweet Cranberry Dessert a Pie or Cake? by Donna John

Pies Desserts Holidays
8 months ago

Nantucket Cranberry Pie Recipe: Is This Sweet Cranberry Dessert a Pie or Cake?

For me, one of the reasons for the season is cranberries. As fall rolls in I start looking for those bags of fresh cranberries in the produce department. I buy enough to last me through fall and the winter holidays. Actually, to last me sometimes into summer. My freezer becomes a cranberry wonderland. This year, the passing of Christmas didn't stop me from baking with cranberries. This Nantucket Christmas cranberry pie recipe was a new discovery that caused quite a lot of discussion in my family.

Is it a pie? Is it a cake? We decided after lots and lots of taste tests, that we'll just call it a dessert. While it is baked in a pie plate, the consistency is moist and cake-like. It's a sweet, tart and amazing addition to my cranberry recipe collection.

The pie starts with a mixture of fresh or frozen cranberries, sugar and chopped pecans on the bottom of the pie plate. A thick batter made with butter, sugar, eggs, flour and almond extract is spread over the top of the cranberries. The best way to get it even because it's so thick is to dollop the batter over the top, then gently spread it out. It bakes in the oven for about 45 minutes and then it's ready to eaten (and analyzed).

Serve this cranberry dessert warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top. Store the leftover pie in the refrigerator, then microwave individual pieces to warm. Be sure to print out the recipe to put in your recipe box. How you categorize it is up to you!

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 to 60 minutes
Servings: Makes 1 pie



  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup flour

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Stir together the cranberries, sugar and pecans in a bowl. Pour the cranberry and nut mixture into the bottom of a pie plate.
  2. For the topping, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and almond extract. Beat until fluffy. Add the flour and beat until combined.
  3. Dollop the thick filling over the top of the cranberries, then spread to cover.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until set and golden.
  5. Serve the pie warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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Pie Plates $8 & Up
Pecans $4 & Up
Almond Extract $3 & Up
Flour $2 & Up

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Donna John
FYI: I've ruined some recipes by adding too much almond extract. So with this one, I used 1/2 teaspoon instead of the 1 teaspoon called for. It was not overpowering. I will probably do the whole 1 teaspoon next time. You could substitute vanilla extract if you don't like almond extract.
Isn’t there something called pie-caken? Like turducken? That’s this recipe!

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