Posted by: Erica Retrochef | November 22, 2011

Cranberries, cranberries, cranberries!

“Eat a Cranberry Day” is coming up on Wednesday, November 23, and in honor of that, we started a little bit early with cranberries this year. They’re one of my favorite fruits, and you just can’t get them outside of November — unless you settle for canned jelly or cranberry juice, which isn’t the same at all. (There’s a store here called Earth Fare that sets up a little tabletop “bog” with fresh cranberries floating in water, and you scoop them out and put them in bags and buy however much you want. I am exactly the sort of person they hoped to attract with such a display, because I absolutely love going in there and scooping my own cranberries for some reason.)

In addition to bringing from-scratch cranberry jelly and relishes to this year’s family Thanksgiving assembly, we decided to make a couple of retro cranberry recipes. That means you get a bonus double batch this week, two retro recipes for the price of one! (Sorry, you can’t put them on layaway…)

First up, Buzz wanted to try Cranberry Maple Pie. Just because it’s CRANBERRY TIME!


1 tablespoon flour
1 cup maple syrup
2 cups Eatmor Cranberries
Pie pastry

Line an 8-inch pie plate with pastry. Sprinkle flour over bottom crust and add maple syrup. Top with whole raw cranberries. Cover with pastry, press edges together and brush top of crust with milk. Bake in hot oven, 400Β°F. about 40 minutes. It’s sweet, juicy, good!

This looked fairly promising, until I read through the instructions more closely. “Wait, it’s just cranberries, sitting on maple syrup?” [Skeptical face!]

So, I sprinkled flour.

I poured in maple syrup.

I added cranberries. And then the proportions actually started to make sense; the maple syrup did manage to mostly cover the cranberries, so maybe this would turn out OK after all.

After baking, it looked wonderful. (I had to get out the little turkey-shaped cookie cutter and make some turkey pie crust shapes for the top. HAD to.)

Slices of the pie didn’t really stand up well, which was probably the fault of both a fairly liquid filling, and not very strong crust.

I don’t really know what I expected from the pie, although “good” wasn’t high on the list. However, the maple syrup really did a decent job of holding together (especially once the filling had cooled). The biggest downfall was my homemade pie crust, something I’m still working on perfecting. (It generally tastes fine, but its structural integrity leaves something to be desired, a rather ironic shortfall for a mechanical engineer.) I had never tasted maple syrup with cranberries before, and the combination is pleasantly fall-like.

And moving on!

Canned cranberry jelly, while not something I personally see the appeal of, is the favorite of some people. Maybe I’ll like it better when you add stuff to it and serve it in pretty glasses, instead of just slicing it on a plate. With that theory in hand, we’re attempting Cranberry Noel Dessert.

Cranberry Noel Dessert

Beat together 1 lb. can Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce and 2 tblsps. sugar. Fold in 1/2 pt. heavy cream, whipped, and 1/2 tsp. almond extract.

This was also very easy to whip up. I even forgot an ingredient shot, it’s so easy.

Can-shaped jelly and sugar!

Mushed together!

And folded with whipped cream!

To make it look that much more awesome, a little cranberry and mint-leaf garnish.

The Cranberry Noel Dessert (which we rapidly started calling “cranberry fluff” just to save time) was also good, much better than plain old sauce-from-a-can. I don’t know if it necessarily needed the extra two tablespoons of sugar, since canned jellied cranberry sauce tends to be quite sweet. (Perhaps it was more tart, back in the day?) Regardless, it melded together nicely with whipped cream. I could even see turning this into a freezer pie, potentially…

Whatever form your cranberries take this week, we hope you have a fun and delicious Thanksgiving holiday!

Cranberry Maple Pie is from an advertisement December, 1939, in Woman’s Day magazine. Cranberry Noel Dessert is also from a Woman’s Day magazine advert, but later — December, 1954. Both were found via the TJS Labs Gallery of Graphic Design.



  1. We don’t have Thanksgiving (being in Europe, obvs) but cranberries are in the shops for Xmas…our cranberry jelly comes in jars- do you think the dessert would still work? Otherwise I could set some cranberry juice with gelatine, and THEN make the dessert. πŸ™‚

  2. (The cranberry fluff scares me. MORE sugar!?!? Cream, however, does make everything better…)

    OH, HUGE surprise that the pie was good. HUGE, huge surprise. I like cranberries. I like maple syrup… they don’t seem to go together, because depending on the grade, maple syrup can be fairly bland. I like my cranberries with orange zest and lots of seasonings, and putting them, whole fruit, in a pie, made me think it’d be wildly sour-bitter. I’m going to have to try this, with maybe a teensy bit of cornstarch if I serve it to guests (otherwise, if it falls apart, I don’t care). Good luck with your crust – I make one excellent one for every three horrific ones. (Did you use your lard?)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. All of your garnishes were key (the turkeys are adorable).
    And, I like most anything called ‘fluff.’

  4. You know, I took one look at that cranberry pie this morning and said to myself, “Well, heck, I guess I’m going to have to add another dish to the menu.” This is the first time I’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving, but it’s such an easy pie that I just HAD to make it, and it’s in the oven right now. πŸ˜€ I guess I’ll know on Thursday how it is!

  5. OK, I never thought about cranberry pie–but *both* of those recipes sound good. May have to try one of those out before the cranberries all disappear from the grocery store.

  6. Cranberries are on sale at Publix on Thursday! I’m going to try making this cranberry pie. Do you think it needs a tablespoon of flour in the filling to thicken it a bit?

    Would you like to share it on my website? We try to share recipes that correspond with the grocery store adds, and this pie recipe is even better because it’s kosher and non-dairy.

    • Hi Caroline — It does have a tablespoon of flour (underneath the maple syrup) already. I honestly don’t know if a bit more would help with thickening, or lead to floury-tasting filling!

      Please feel free to share, it’s easy and pretty tasty! Hope your readers enjoy πŸ˜€

  7. […] the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to make a cranberry recipe this week. Last year we tried Cranberry Maple Pie and Cranberry Noel Dessert, both fairly tasty. This year… well, just take a […]

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