Nantucket cranberry pie is not really a pie. It’s more like an upside down cranberry cake, and it’s one of the fastest desserts you can make. With no crust to roll, you can assemble it in five minutes! This recipe is a great last-minute addition to your Thanksgiving buffet or Christmas dessert table.
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Why You’ll Love Nantucket Pie
This cranberry crustless pie is super easy to make. There is no to roll out and nothing to whip. Just spread a layer of cranberries, walnuts and sugar in a pie dish, then top with a basic batter and bake.
It reminds me of a French clafoutis. Although a traditional clafoutis is made with unpitted cherries, the method is the same. Butter a pie plate, add fruit, top with thick batter, and bake.
Since it’s not an overly sweet dessert, the cranberry cake is the perfect counterpart to pecan or pumpkin pies. It also works as a breakfast or brunch dish!
Cranberry Nantucket pie can be made two weeks in advance and frozen, making holiday prep that much easier.
If you’re looking for something different than a cranberry walnut pie, there are lots of variations for this recipe! It would work well with apricots and almonds, pears and pistachios, peaches and pecans – the combinations are endless! But if you use a sweeter fruit like peaches or pears, you may want to reduce the sugar by half so it’s not too sweet.
Why is it Called Nantucket Cranberry Pie?
This Nantucket cranberry pie recipe was passed down to me from my mother-in-law more than 20 years ago. I have no idea where she got it from since she was born in Minnesota, and as far as I know, she never lived in Nantucket.
What is the history of Nantucket cranberry pie? Well, cranberries are grown in Nantucket. For the past 150 years, commercial cranberry growing has been an important part of Nantucket’s agricultural heritage. But that’s about the only connection I can find.
There isn’t a clear origin for this dessert, though it is known as a classic New England recipe that has been passed on from generation to generation.
A version was also published in Gourmet magazine by Laurie Colwin in 1993. In her recipe, Laurie says this is “a cake that takes about four seconds to put together and gives an ambrosial result.”
Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used for this Nantucket cranberry pie recipe. Cranberries are high in vitamin C and fiber and you’ll easily find them pre-packaged in your local grocery store.
For fresh berries, make sure they are firm and plump with a deep red color. Avoid soft or shriveled berries. Fresh cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for several months or in the freezer for up to a year. Simply wash fresh cranberries in cool water before using.
Do you have to cook cranberries before baking them?
No, you should not cook cranberries before baking them, and you don’t need to thaw frozen berries either.
Are frozen cranberries as good as fresh?
Yes, frozen cranberries are just as good as fresh in this recipe.
How to Make Cranberry Nantucket Pie
All you need is a few simple ingredients, and there is no mixer to pull out and dirty.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
Preheat your oven to 325* F and butter a 10” pie plate or tin. Add fresh or frozen cranberries and cover with chopped walnuts and ½ cup of the sugar.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs, 1 cup sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract. Next, fold in the flour until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cranberries and walnuts. The batter is fairly thick and will need to be spread gently to cover the fruit.
Then bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
Check out more cranberry recipes you will love:
Nantucket Cranberry Pie
- Preheat oven to 325* F. Grease a 10" pie dish and spread cranberries over the bottom of the dish.
- Sprinkle chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup sugar over cranberries.
- In a bowl, whisk eggs, 1 cup sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract. Fold in flour until well blended.
- Pour mixture over cranberries. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
- Cool, then serve warm. Can be made ahead and frozen for up to two weeks.