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Sweet Tart: Cranberry Bourbon Pecan Pie

Cranberry Bourbon Pecan Pie
Emily Post is probably frowning at me (tastefully, unobtrusively) from the great beyond for mentioning a holiday pie before Halloween is even over, but trust me: this one is worth the breach in etiquette.

The backstory? Not long ago, I sampled an absolutely delicious walnut-caramel-cranberry bar cookie in Chicago, and instantly I knew I had found a hit: the sweetness of the sugary nut mixture was perfectly paired by the tart cranberries. I had a feeling that it would translate beautifully to Pecan Pie.

So when I encountered the Bourbon Pecan Pie in the brand new (and so worth buying!) Grand Central Baking Book by local legend Grand Central Bakery (remember my adventure with early morning baking there?), I knew I had found the ideal recipe for my cranberry hypothesis.

Well, this spy is happy to report that it worked beautifully. Adding a generous handful of tart cranberries (I know! Fruit!) to the Bourbon Pecan Pie worked on two levels: first, it tempered the extreme sweetness of the pecan-sugar-corn syrup mixture; second, it added a refreshing tang to the fiery, warming bourbon.

Want some for yourself? Here's the recipe.
Cranberry Bourbon Pecan Pie
Bourbon Pecan Pie with Cranberries
-adapted from The Grand Central Baking Book-


  • 1 single pie crust, blind baked (ingredients below) 
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used apple juice-sweetened; if possible, use the least sweet version you can!)

Rather Thick Single Pie Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp. pcs., very cold
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cold water



  1. Prepare the pie crust. Put the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks grainy. Then slowly, while pulsing, add the water until you can form the dough by pressing it between your fingers. Note: this can be done by hand as well. Decant the loose dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap, fold the loose dough towards the middle and press with the back of your hands to form dough. Wrap and chill for at least 4 hours before using. Dough can be made ahead for up to one week. Before you're ready to bake this pie, blind-bake the pie crust for about 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees F.
  2. Ready to make the pie? Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F., baby!
  3. When you're ready to Prepare the filling. Put the corn syrup and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the butter, bourbon and vanilla. Let the mixture cool, and then add the eggs and whisk until smooth (don't add the eggs while the mixture is still very hot, otherwise you'll have scrambled eggs!).
  4. Fill and bake the pie. Arrange the pecans and cranberries on the bottom of the crust. Carefully pour the filling over them (some will rise to the top, like magic!). Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the filling is set; rotate the pan halfway through baking time. This pie allegedly serves about 8--however, what the recipe does not mention is that the 8 servings may be the same 2 people four times in one day.


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Reader Comments (10)

Oh yeah... I heard about this pie... :) Wish I had a little taste of it... but since I haven't, I just might try it!
Any suggestions for how to sub for corn syrup? I don't really like to use it. heard too many bad things about it...

October 28 | Unregistered CommenterNurit

Usually I am not making food but it looks nice as well as easy to make so I am thinking to make it for my sweet parents. Really I would like to say thank you for sharing a very cool recipe to us! If you have any more recipe like this then please share with us.

October 29 | Unregistered Commenterheilpflanzen

YUM! I've been looking for a good pecan pie recipe for Thanksgiving this year. I'm not a big fan of cranberries but maybe I should try this one anyway since I'm the ONLY person in my family who doesn't like them. Great adaptation!!

October 29 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

I'm not a fan of pecan pie, but this... was sooo good, well done :)

October 29 | Unregistered Commentermosquito

See I love pecan pie but pumpkin not so much. It wasn't until I topped pumpkin pie with http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2009/10/potluck-parties-park-avenue-potluck.html" rel="nofollow">pecan praline that I found out. So maybe this would help me like cranberries?

omg. that is a must make.

all the best things in life!

i guess we will all diet next year!

October 29 | Unregistered Commenterkatw0man

Wow - must make! I LOVE cranberries and while I enjoy pecan pie, it's over-sugary sweetness usually makes me teeth hurt. I think this pie falls into the holiday category and Halloween IS a holiday (my favorite)so I think Emily Post can keep her looks to herself!

October 29 | Unregistered CommenterKrystel

Oooh! This is so different and delicious-sounding :)


October 29 | Unregistered CommenterWe Are Not Martha

This is like my dream pie. I'll take a couple slices please.

October 30 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat
I made this recipe last year and it was a HUGE hit! This year I'm going to try a little tweak by substituting the brown sugar and karo syrup, with maple syrup. It works wonderfully in my basic pecan pies so, fingers crossed, it should work here. The benefit: A lot of time of time saved standing over the stove, a lot of time saved waiting for the mixture to cool, and backaches averted! :)
November 22 | Unregistered Commenterpie assignment
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