The coordination of a Thanksgiving dinner can sometimes feel akin to a NASA space launch, what with all the details, family members assigned to different tasks, and anticipated disasters, so anything you can make ahead of time will minimize that "how-do-I-make-everything-come-out-at-the-same-time-and-still-keep-my-sanity?"turkey day angst. That's where this amazing Frozen Cranberry Cream Pie comes in. Not only is it gorgeous to look at and to eat, but it's easy and you can make it up to a week in advance, so while you're focused on stuffing and turkey and sides, it's hanging out in the freezer, waiting to make it's dazzling debut just as you're ready to drop from exhaustion! How great is that?!! I promise it'll be the hit of the night. Stress-free holiday dessert?!! I've got you covered!!
Thanksgiving is one of those occasions where pie is sort of a requirement and I know this kind of freaks out many non-bakers, but I assure you that even if you've never baked a pie in your life before, you will be able to pull this one off with flying colors. The crust is just a simple graham cracker one--it comes together in minutes and the filling is mostly made on the stovetop with the addition of some beaten egg whites and heavy cream--there's no real baking or rolling out of crust necessary here!! C'mon you know you can do it!!!
And the effort is totally worth it. The filling is light, not overly sweet and creamy dreamy cool--sort of like frozen mousse--perfect for after a heavy meal. And it's so pretty too--it'll definitely add that splash of color to the oranges and browns of the table.
My home judges gave it the thumbs up since their mouths were too full of pie to say anything and this beauty will definitely be making its debut at our big family shindig this year. In fact, I think you're going to love this so much, that you won't just want to save this one for Thanksgiving--it might easily become a year-round staple, so stock up on those cranberries while you can!! More Thanksgiving goodies to come!!
Frozen Cranberry Cream Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
Prep Time for Crust: 7-8 minutes; Bake Time: 12-14 minutes; Prep Time for filling: 20 minutes (plus several hours of cooling and chilling time)
For the Crust
- 12 graham crackers, finely ground in food processor (you need about 1 1/2 cups)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined (If you don't have a food processor, you can mix them all together really well in a bowl.)
2. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. To make the filling: Place the cranberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium, sturdy saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. (If you're really in a rush, you can chill the mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes).
4. Use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are foamy. Then turn the mixer up to high and slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar, beating until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Then add the remaining sugar, heavy cream and vanilla and beat until stiff again. Remove from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the cooled cranberry mixture. Scrape the mixture into the cooled crust, cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer (or fridge, if you don't want to freeze this). Pie can be made up to one week ahead and kept frozen.
5. Take the pie out about 20 minutes before serving so that it's easier to slice.
Note: Recipe for crust adapted from Martha Stewart. Recipe for filling adapted from Icebox Pies by Lauren Chattman.