If you are looking for the perfect holiday dessert, this cranberry custard pie is it! It looks exquisite and has all the festive flavors you want to serve your guests throughout the season. Creamy and delicious, it’s the ultimate Christmas pie, and you won’t be able to stop at one slice!
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The best cranberry orange custard pie
I love pie season, so Thanksgiving and Christmas are favorite times of the year. This cranberry custard pie tastes insanely delicious and is suitable for both holidays.
Not only is it incredibly festive, but it’s one of the most delicious holiday pies I’ve ever tasted. It’s so fruity and creamy.
I enjoy cranberries, but sometimes the flavor can be a bit too tart. But not this pie. It has the perfect balance of tangy and sweet.
Made with a flaky pie crust and lush custard filling, it has just the right amount of fruity cranberry flavor, bright orange aroma, and creamy sweetness.
This cranberry citrus pie gives you all the holiday spirit you could ask for in a dessert. It’s great for any occasion during the holidays and will be a showstopper on your dessert table.
I based the recipe on my condensed milk lemon pie, one of our most popular pies, and it might just become a new favorite!
If you love cranberry desserts as much as I do, then you have to try our Panera cranberry orange muffins, Ocean Spray cranberry bread, and cranberry walnut pie.
My cranberry custard pie has a surprisingly short ingredients list. Once you see how easy it is to whip up, you’ll make this over and over again. Please check the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- Pie crust: The pie features a classic flaky pie crust. To save time, you can make your own pie crust or opt for a pre-made pie shell. If going homemade, I highly recommend my all-butter pie crust. It’s made with 3 ingredients and is super flaky.
- Cranberries give the filling a wonderfully tart note and ruby-red color. I find that fresh cranberries create the best flavor, but you can use frozen berries too.
- Sweetened condensed milk contributes to the creaminess and keeps the filling from being too sour.
- Egg yolks add richness to the pie and ensure the filling sets. Save the egg whites for sawdust pie, meringue cookies, or coconut macaroons.
- Orange juice + zest add a wonderful citrus aroma to the cranberry custard.
How to make cranberry custard
Given how good this cranberry custard pie looks and tastes, you want it front and center at your holiday table. If you have never made a custard pie, don’t feel intimidated. The steps are straightforward, and you’ll have the perfect Christmas dessert in no time!
#1: Prepare pie crust
- Roll out pie crust. Roll the refrigerated pie dough into a 12 in / 30 cm circle on a lightly floured work surface. Turn the dough about a quarter after every few rolls and add more flour as needed to avoid sticking.
- Line pie dish. Carefully transfer the rolled-out dough into a 9-in / 23 cm deep-dish pie pan. Tuck it in with your fingers, ensuring it’s smooth. Trim the extra overhang with a small, sharp knife. Flute the edges with your fingers or crimp with a fork, if desired.
- Par-bake pie crust. Line the pie crust with a piece of parchment paper and a piece of tin foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans, evenly distributing them around the pie dish. You need 2 standard sets of pie weights. Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350°F. Then carefully remove the pie weights, tin foil, and parchment paper and bake for another 10 minutes.
#2: Make cranberry custard filling
- Cook cranberries. Combine the cranberries and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until simmering. Continue cooking until most berries have burst, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Strain cranberries. Use an immersion blender to puree the cranberries. Then press the puree through a fine-mesh sieve and catch the strained cranberry mixture in a bowl or pot. Measure out 2 cups.
- Mix filling. Pour the sweetened condensed milk, cranberry mixture, and orange zest into a large mixing bowl. Whisk until everything is well combined and thick.
#3: Bake & chill cranberry pie
- Bake pie. Pour the cranberry custard filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Bake the pie for 30 to 35 minutes, until the center is almost set. A small part of the center will be wobbly, and that’s okay. If the crust turns too dark, cover the edges with aluminum foil or a pie shield to prevent them from burning. Start checking the doneness at minute 25 and then every 5 minutes until the pie is ready.
- Cool. Once cooked, put the pie on a wire rack and let cool for about 2 hours.
- Refrigerate. Place the pie in the refrigerator to cool completely for at least 4 hours or overnight, preferably.
Custard pie can be a little tricky to get right. Here are a couple of tips to help you bake the perfect cranberry custard pie!
- Full-fat sweetened condensed milk: For the best taste and texture, grab a can of full-fat condensed milk, not skim or sugar-free.
- Puree cranberries: Pureeing the cranberries with an immersion blender is key to achieving the rich red hue because the cranberries’ skin creates the most intense color. Cranberries have a high pectin content, which helps to thicken and stabilize the filling.
- Measure cranberry puree: You need 2 cups cranberry puree for this recipe. I recommend measuring the mixture with a measuring cup to get the right amount.
- Pre-bake the pie crust. Whether using a homemade or pre-made pie dough, partially blind baking ensures that the crust is crisp throughout and doesn’t get a soggy bottom.
- Tent your pie to protect the crust from browning too quickly. Use a pie shield or wrap a piece of foil loosely around the pie pan and crumpled over the top. Doing so will give you a baked-through pie and golden crust.
- Allow the pie to chill before serving. It’s important for cranberry pie with sweetened condensed milk to sit and cool for a couple of hours before serving. Overnight is ideal. The condensed milk pumpkin pie filling sets up as it cools, making slicing much easier.
- Use a sharp knife for slicing. To get those perfect, clean edges, slice your pie with a sharp knife and only cut the pie when cold. Clean the blade after each cut by whipping it with a damp paper towel.
This cranberry custard pie is going to be the star of the show. Below are some decorating tips that will take your pie to the next level.
- Sweetened whipped cream: First, I piped tuffs of sweetened whipped cream around the edges of the pie. Red and white is the ultimate holiday color combo!
- Berries: Red fruits such as cranberries, red currants, raspberries, and pomegranates look stunning on the pie, almost like ruby red crystals. I placed them between the cream puffs.
- Sugared cranberries: For an extra festive look, I frosted a few cranberries with granulated sugar. Place a handful of cranberries into a small bowl, add 1 tsp corn syrup or honey, and roll until the outside is sticky. Next, roll the cranberries in a shallow bowl of granulated sugar until completely covered.
- Sugared rosemary: Sparkling rosemary sprigs pose as snowy pine twigs. The process is similar to the cranberries: Roll rosemary springs in corn syrup or honey. Place them on a cooling rack so the excess can drip off. After an hour, the sprigs should no longer be dripping but still be sticky. Roll in granulated sugar until completely covered.
- Sprinkles: I finished my pie with cute snowflake sprinkles. You could also sprinkle on white nonpareils or coarse white sugar.
This cranberry custard pie tastes fabulous, with just the right levels of sweet and fruity. However, don’t let that stop you from experimenting with the flavor profile.
- Spices: In addition to the orange zest, feel free to add cozy spices to your orange cranberry pie. Ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and pumpkin pie spices are great aromatics to add warming flavor to the pie.
- Vanilla extract: 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla adds warmth and depth of flavor. You could also try other extracts and add a few drops peppermint or butter rum aroma.
- Switch the crust: Instead of a classic pie crust, try a gingerbread pie crust, Biscoff pie crust, or graham cracker crust.
- Berry blend: Instead of pure cranberries, try a mix of cranberries and blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Just note that blueberries and blackberries will change the color of the pie.
How to store cranberry custard pie
Allow the pie to cool to room temperature. Then cover loosely with foil and store in the refrigerator. It will last for 3 to 4 days
I like to place my cranberry custard pie into a large airtight container to keep it fresh tasting. Alternatively, wrap the pie in plastic or aluminum foil.
Make cranberry custard ahead of time
Since it needs to chill, this Christmas custard pie is a great make-ahead dessert for the holidays. You can prepare it 1 to 2 days in advance and then refrigerate it until ready to serve.
Hold off on any toppings and garnishes before serving so your pie looks best.
Can you freeze orange cranberry pie?
Yes, the pie freezes well. Cut any remaining pie into slices and place them uncovered in the freezer. Once frozen, wrap each portion in plastic and put them back into the freezer.
You can also freeze the whole pie by wrapping the pie pan in several layers of plastic wrap. I recommend freezing the pie without any garnishes.
The cranberry custard pie recipe can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, let the slices or pie thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reasons to love eggnog custard pie
- Delicious holiday flavors: The filling is sweet and creamy with bright citrus notes and a wonderfully tart cranberry aroma. The perfect holiday pie!
- Beautiful presentation: You can garnish the pie as simply or elaborately as you like. Keep it simple with a dusting of powdered sugar, or go all in with whipped cream and ruby-like berries.
- Ease: While this isn’t a super quick recipe, you can totally do it! The steps are pretty simple, and there’s nothing more satisfying than a gorgeous homemade cranberry pie.
- Make-ahead: This cranberry orange pie is a fantastic make-ahead dessert. You can prepare the pie the day before for maximum impact but minimal effort on the day of!
More cranberry desserts
Cranberry is the fruit of the season! Here are some more delicious recipes to utilize the ruby red berry. You may want to make these treats year-round because they are so good!
- Classic Cranberry Pie
- Cranberry Banana Bread
- Cranberry Bliss Bars
- Dried Cranberry Muffins
- Ocean Spray Cranberry Muffins
Other holiday pies
Every baker needs a good selection of pies in her collection. These are some of my other favorites that I like to pull out for the holidays and whenever we crave a slice of homemade pie.