Cranberry Chiffon Pie

My oh my…will you lookie here now at this show stopping Cranberry Chiffon Pie! How fancy! But this pie isn’t just all looks. No indeed, it delivers on taste as well.

The crunchy graham cracker crust is filled with a lighter than air combination of tart and silky cranberry curd and luscious sweet Swiss Meringue. It is topped with gorgeous little sugared cranberries. Just Stunning!

Today is February 1st. This particular day lies half way between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is St. Brigid’s Day. Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints along with St. Colmcille and St. Patrick. Beginning in 2023, Ireland will be marking her Feast Day with a new permanent Bank Holiday on the closest Monday to February 1st. Hooray! Who doesn’t like more holidays?!! According to Irish hagiography, Brigid was an early Christian nun & abbess who preformed many miracles. She also shares the name with an important Celtic goddess who is associated with the festival of Imbolc which was celebrated at this time as well, which suggests that the early church might have adopted the legends of the goddess and transformed them into the Christian persona. Interesting huh? I don’t know how many of you folks out there remembered to put a scarf out last night. You see on St. Brigid’s Eve you should always place a scarf or other piece of fabric outside.

When Brigid passes over the land that night she will bless it. You then can fetch it back inside the next day and thanks to Brigid, it has the power to protect and heal headaches, sore throats and fevers throughout the coming year! What with all the Covid still rampaging around, I wasn’t going to take any chances. My little scarf was frozen solid this morning, but is happily thawing away now, freshly imbued with healing powers. As I mentioned, today marks the festival of Imbolc as well as Candlemas, both of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. And speaking of weather divination, tomorrow my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if instead Spring is on the way.

One extraordinary rodent!

I don’t know if good ole Phil will see his shadow tomorrow or not. If he predicts more winter, I am, of course, fine with that. But even if he says Spring is coming, I feel like I’ve at least gotten a taste of winter. So this is quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking another event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 11th year anniversary of  the my cooking blog! Yup… Eleven years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.

I’ve managed to do an anniversary post nearly every year since. Pretty impressive considering how slack I can be! Last year I shared the rich & creamy Ground Beef Chili with Chocolate & Peanut Butter. Get. out!

And the year before, I posted about these scrumptious Morning Buns!

One of my favorite recipes that I shared with you on an anniversary was: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:

Then there were those decadent  Banana Rum Muffins:

That jaw-dropping, over the top Crack Pie:

And who can forget that magical “caviar of the South” – Pasture’s Pimento Cheese. Keep this one in mind for the Super Bowl!

But let me get back to telling you about this Cranberry Chiffon Pie. I originally made this for Thanksgiving and it was indeed a hit. Of course it would also go great with a Christmas feast. But you know, I was thinking with it’s flirty pink hue it might also be great for Valentines Day, which is right around the corner.

That being said, I will warn you that this pie is a bit of a time commitment. I would recommend planning ahead and making it in stages. The crust one day. The curd the next and then maybe do final assembly on the third day. And you might want to make sure your dishwasher has been unloaded before you start. Man did I dirty of few dishes to make this little devil! But hey, this pie is so unique and delicious it was worth it! I would totally do it again.

Make sure you allow at least four hours for that filling to set up. It would be better if you could let it sit in the fridge overnight. You want to make sure it can hold that dainty light and airy texture. And don’t forget to add a lovely dollop of whipped cream.

Believe me, folks will be thrilled with its sweet & tart flavor and light silky creamy texture. Bet you won’t just be making it once!

Cranberry Chiffon Pie

  • Servings: one 9
  • Difficulty: moderate - it is challenging to strain the cranberries & there are a lot of steps
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Baking Company

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups (149g) graham cracker crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup (28g) confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, melted

*About 11 whole graham crackers will yield this amount of crumbs.

For the curd:

  • 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries, a scant 3 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) orange juice, cranberry juice, or water
  • zest (grated rind) of 1 orange, optional
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks, whites reserved for the meringue
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) water, hot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (A typical packet of powdered gelatin is a generous 2 teaspoons, so you’ll need less than a packet. Be sure to measure out 1 ½ teaspoons carefully; too much gelatin and the pie’s filling will be “bouncy.”)

For the Meringue:

  • 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, reserved from above
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup (113 grams to 227 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (7 grams to 14 grams) confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

To make the crust: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, and butter.

Press the mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9″ springform pan, 9″ cheesecake pan, or 9″ deep-dish pie pan.

If you’re using a 9″ by 1 1/2″ pan, you’ll have 1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra crumb mixture. This can become a garnish for the pie, if you like.

To prebake the crust: Place it in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes, just until set and you smell the cookies toasting. Remove the crust from the oven, cool on a rack.

To make the curd: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, juice or water, and zest. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring the berries to a simmer. Cook until all the berries have burst and softened, about 10 minutes total.

Remove the pan from the heat and pass the cooked cranberries through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or measuring cup. Be sure to press the solids to extract as much of the smooth sauce as possible; you should be left with about 1 1/2 cups (400 grams to 425 grams) of sauce. (Pushing those cranberries through the strainer actually be much easier if you give the cooked cranberries a few pulses with an immersion blender before trying to strain them.)

Stir the butter into the warm sauce until it’s melted completely.

Clean and dry the saucepan, then add the eggs and egg yolks to it. Slowly pour the cranberry sauce back into the saucepan with the eggs, whisking to incorporate.

Return the pan to medium-low heat and cook the curd, stirring constantly, until it’s thick enough that the lines made by your spoon or spatula as you stir take a second or two to disappear.

Remove the curd from the heat and pour it into a heat-safe bowl or measuring cup. If you see any small bits of cooked egg, pass the curd through a fine-mesh strainer to remove them.

 In a small bowl, combine the hot water and gelatin. Add a spoonful or two of the hot curd to the gelatin, stirring to incorporate, then stir the gelatin mixture back into the curd, mixing thoroughly. Set aside while you prepare the meringue.

To make the meringue: In a large heatproof bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together (briefly) the sugar, egg whites, and salt.

Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (you should just barely see some lazy bubbles coming up) and whisk gently and continuously until the mixture reads 160°F to 165°F on a digital thermometer.

Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the meringue with a whisk or your stand mixer’s whisk attachment until stiff.

Fold about a quarter of the meringue into the curd to lighten it, then fold the curd back into the meringue, mixing gently until no white streaks remain.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and refrigerate the pie (covered with a cake cover or large overturned bowl) until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the topping: Whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form.

Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie or serve it in a bowl alongside. Garnish with sugared cranberries, if desired (recipe below).

Storage instructions: Store the pie, covered with a cake cover or large overturned bowl, in the refrigerator for up to five days.

To make sugared cranberries: Combine 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar with 1/2 cup (113 grams) water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, cooking until the sugar dissolves. Add 1/2 cup (50 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries stir around quickly. Remove from the heat and, with a slotted spoon, take the cranberries out of the syrup and roll them in superfine (Baker’s Special) or granulated sugar until coated. Place on a rack to dry before using to garnish your pie.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cranberry Chiffon Pie:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Set of 3, Fine Mesh Strainers

Vitamix Immersion Blender

Lavatools Javelin Pro Instant Read Thermometer

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