A Cranberry Lime Pie to Unite Your Thanksgiving Table

16 Nov

America is more polarized than ever. We’re embroiled in an age-old Us vs Them battle that is steeped in tradition and intractable in scope.  This November, it’s more and more obvious that there are two kinds of people: Thanksgiving Purists and Thanksgiving Innovators.

I come from a family of Purists. We’ve eaten the same menu every year for as long as I can remember, with some slight changes here and there for family circumstance–the absence of marshmallow cranberries (…yes, cranberries) after my beloved grandmother died, the one-time-only addition of Tofurkey the first year I was a vegetarian (never again), and the re-imagination of MamaKef’s amazing corn casserole to suit a gluten-free, sugar-free crowd (best. sidedish.ever), to name a few.

Despite my traditional roots, I’ve always been drawn to the new-take-on-an-old-trick recipes. Luckily for HomeBrewKef, Purist in Chief, the danger of my taking over Thanksgiving and replacing all the onions with shallots has passed, as I go to MrKef’s family for Thanksgiving these days. But that doesn’t stop me from buying the November Bon Appetit the SECOND it hits newsstands and drooling over all the re-imagined favorites in absurdly-titled articles like “Have a Thai Thanksgiving This Year.”

In the spirit of compromise and reconciliation, today’s recipe is a wonderful blend of the familiar and the new. To please the old guard, we’ve got hallmarks of fall favorites in the gingersnap crust and luscious cranberry curd, while the idea of adding some citrus to an otherwise apple- and cinnamon-laden dessert table is catnip to those of us desperate for change. In short: this looks like Thanksgiving and tastes like Key Lime Pie, and that’s a ticket everyone should be able to get behind.

For once, my creation was extremely attractive and I was super excited to share a beautiful picture of my pie here… but your girl ChefKef lives in a small apartment with limited storage space and has only one pie dish, which just so happens to be the exact same beautiful shade of cranberry as this pie. Not ideal. Luckily, Bon Appetit staged an entire photo shoot just so I could share a picture of the pie–so thanks to them for this verbatim recipe and picture. Rest assured I used the SAME gold snake in my photo shoot, too.


I made mine gluten and sugar free just to really antagonize the Purists out there– you do whatever will keep you sane and your close-minded Uncle Al happy this year.

Cranberry-Lime Pie


–For the crust

  • About 16 gingersnap cookies (For gf/sf: I made these with Cup4Cup and coconut sugar)
  • 1 c pecans
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 TBS light brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)

–For the filling

  • 12 ounces fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries, plus 4 ounces (about 1¼ cups) for serving (bolded because I missed this and had to make a second trip)
  • 2.5 c granulated sugar, divided (I used coconut sugar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 2 tsp lime zest, finely grated and divided
  • ½ c fresh lime juice (I used the stuff that comes in the weird plastic lime and it was fine)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • Whipped cream (for serving)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse cookies in a food processor until very finely ground (you should have about 1 cup). Add pecans; pulse until finely ground. Add butter and brown sugar; pulse to combine. Transfer to a deep 9″ pie dish. Using a measuring cup, press firmly onto bottom and up sides of dish. Bake until firm and slightly darkened in color, 10–15 minutes. If crust slides down sides, gently press back up. Let cool.
  2. Bring 12 oz. cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat; simmer until cranberries burst and most of the liquid evaporates, 12–15 minutes. Let cool. Purée in a blender/food processor until very smooth.

    3. Cook purée, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lime juice, salt, ½ cup sugar, and 1 tsp. lime zest in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping down sides of bowl often, until curd thickens and coats spatula, 8–10 minutes. (Ed. Note: this is no small arm workout, so get ready to sweat.) Let cool until just warm.

    4. Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat curd, adding butter a piece at a time and incorporating after each addition, until curd looks lighter in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Scrape into crust and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

    For the beautiful garnish: Bring ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add remaining 4 oz. cranberries and cook until barely starting to soften, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill until no longer sticky, 20–30 minutes.

    Toss remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp. lime zest in a small bowl. Toss cranberries in lime sugar. Top pie with cranberries; serve with whipped cream.

3 Responses to “A Cranberry Lime Pie to Unite Your Thanksgiving Table”

  1. cookiesnchem December 8, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    YUM! Need this in my life right now 🙂 Beautiful!

    • cookingupkefi December 8, 2016 at 10:24 am #

      Thank you! It was a big hit and I wish I had some leftovers right about now 🙂

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