Cranberry Orange Custard Pie
Updated: Jan 6
Switch things up from your typical pumpkin pie or Christmas cookies and add this unique pie to your holiday dessert spread. This festive dessert is everything you didn’t know your Thanksgiving or Christmas were missing. A creamy egg custard is paired with orange zest, spices, and tart cranberries and set in a rich, flaky cream cheese crust for a gorgeous make-ahead pie that’s bursting with beautiful color and vibrant flavors. The sweet, silky vanilla custard balances out the bright, tangy cranberries for an amazing dessert that will make a beautiful finale to any holiday party.
Cream Cheese Crust
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
12 oz full-fat cream cheese, cold, cut into small cubes
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp ice water
Cranberry Orange and Custard Fillings
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup water
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
4 tsp plus ¼ cup cornstarch, divided
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 cups whole milk, divided
3 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Crust
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
Add the butter cubes and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Add the cream cheese cubes and pulse a few more times until the dough starts to come together. The butter and cream cheese should be evenly distributed, and the mixture will be crumbly.
Add the vinegar and the ice water. Pulse a few more times until the dough is moist.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather shape the dough into two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm or overnight.
Roll one of the chilled doughs out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Gently place in a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the edge of the pie dough under itself and crimp decoratively with a fork or your fingers.
Cover and chill the pie crust while you preheat the oven to 425°F.
Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and prick the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto the pie crust. Fill with pie weights, beans, or rice and bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until the sides of the pastry have started to brown. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake the crust for another 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the second chilled pastry disc to 1/4-inch thick. Cut shapes using pie crust stamps. Brush the dough shapes with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425°F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Cranberry Orange Filling
In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange zest, ½ cup sugar, water, ginger, cardamom, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop, about 10-15 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together 4 teaspoons of cornstarch and the orange juice until smooth. Then stir into the cranberry mixture.
Bring the cranberry mixture to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
In a separate small saucepan, combine ¾ cup sugar and 1¾ cups milk and heat until bubbles form around the sides of the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup of cornstarch and ¼ cup of milk. Whisk the egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture until blended.
Add a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Add a few more ladlefulls and continue whisking. Then return the egg mixture to the remaining hot milk mixture in the pan whisking constantly.
Whisk vigorously over medium heat as the mixture begins to thicken (the mixture will become very thick). Bring to a boil and whisk 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
Pour the custard into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Place in the refrigerator for one hour until chilled.
Cranberry Orange Custard Pie Assembly
Once chilled, stir the custard to get rid of any lumps that may have formed. Then pour the custard onto the bottom of the cooled pie crust and use an offset spatula to spread evenly to the edges.
Gently spoon the cooled cranberry orange filling on top of the custard filling and use an offset spatula to spread evenly to the edges.
Top the cranberry mixture with the baked pie crust shapes and press gently to secure in place. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.