Choco-berry? Cran-olate? Cranberry-Fudge Pie.

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Imagine the tart-sweet taste of homemade cranberry sauce, its tender/crisp berries bursting on your tongue.

Now consider toasted pecans, embedded in rich dark chocolate.

And a crunchy, pleasantly sweet-nutty graham cracker crust.

Right about now, you’re either thinking YES…

…or EWWWWWWW!

The idea for the following cranberry-topped pecan-fudge pie came from Joanna Waldman, a dedicated home baker, and member of the KAF “family.”

Joanna’s husband, Jim Taylor, is our Web developer. Which means… well, he does something that involves long strings of incomprehensible letters and numbers on a computer screen, that somehow come together to make the pages on our Web site look good.

“Code,” it’s called. More than that I don’t know, and don’t WANT to know – despite my Web teammates’ attempts to educate me in this arcane skill set.

Think “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!”

If HTML were English, that’s where I’d be.

Anyway, Joanna is a gym buddy of mine. You know, the girlfriend you chat with while you’re on the treadmill, so you don’t die of boredom while trying to stave off a heart attack.

And what do we usually talk about, as we’re huff-puffing away at 6 a.m.?

Food, of course.

Cookies. Pie. Sourdough bread.

(Dare I admit it?) Rum balls. Upon which we heap scorn.

Not so pie. Joanna and I are both pie lovers extraordinaire. I’m totally into fruit pies. My current favorite is peach-apricot, though raspberry is a perennial front-runner. Cherry, apple, rhubarb, blueberry, bumbleberry… they put wings under my baking feet.

Joanna’s more the chocolate type. She’s also a free-thinker, unwed to conventions of any kind – in the best way.

Which is how she came up with the idea for this pie.

We were talking about nuts one day. The conversation ranged to chocolate-covered nuts, then to Raisinets. Then to chocolate-covered fruit: dried apricots dipped in dark chocolate. Cherry cordials. Chunky bars.

From there, it was an easy segue to chocolate-covered cranberries. And thence to Cranberry-Fudge Pie.

Which, so far as either of us knew, was as yet only a dream. Neither of us could find a recipe for what we envisioned: dark chocolate filling topped with cranberries.

So I started experimenting. First I opted for a graham cracker crust, both for simplicity’s sake, and because the slight sweetness of the crackers helps temper the acidity of the cranberries and chocolate.

Next, I added some toasted pecans. Just because.

Then I sent a slice home with Jim, for Joanna.

We agreed: success!

Sure, it’s one of those “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips” things; a dessert best made infrequently, and enjoyed in small slices.

But hey, that’s what treadmills are for…

Let’s get baking. First, the graham cracker crust.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Mix the following:

1 3/4 cups (about 5 1/4 ounces) graham cracker crumbs*
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter

*One cellophane-wrapped packet of graham crackers (11 whole crackers) will yield this amount of crumbs.

Stir until thoroughly combined.

Pour the crumbs into a 9” pie pan.

Press them into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Smooth the crumbs; the bottom of a dry measuring cup is a good tool to use for this task.

Bake the crust for about 7 to 8 minutes, until it’s set, but not brown.

Remove it from the oven, and cool.

Why did we use confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar in this crust, instead of the more usual granulated? We find confectioners’ gives a slightly softer, crumblier crust, perfect for a pie that’s going to be refrigerated.

Next, cranberry sauce for the topping.

Bring the following to a boil:

1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice

Stir in 1 cup dried cranberries. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add a 12-ounce package (a generous 3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries.

The fresh cranberries will float to the top; don’t bother trying to push them down.

Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until some of the berries have popped.

Remove from the heat, and cool to room temperature. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Now, the fudge filling.

Put 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate and 2/3 cup heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl, or saucepan.

Resist the urge to use bittersweet chocolate; with the acidic tang of the cranberries, it’s just too much. You want a dark chocolate that’s noticeably sweet; most chocolate chips will be fine. We prefer Peter’s Burgundy chunks.

Heat for about 90 seconds. Remove from the heat, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and dark brown.

Like this. You’re simply making a basic ganache.

Final step: assemble the pie.

Pour the hot ganache into the cooled crust.

Tilt the pan so it spreads to cover the bottom.

Scatter on 3/4 cup diced walnuts or pecans. I like to first toast the nuts in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes; it brings out their flavor.

Cover the crust, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, probably 2, until the ganache has firmed up.

Next, the final touch: cranberries.

Spoon about 1 1/2 cups of the cranberry sauce atop the pie. You’ll have some sauce left over; enjoy it on its own.

Press them down gently, to smooth the top.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

As I said, you have to be a fan of the cranberry/dark chocolate flavor combo to appreciate this unusual pie. But assuming you are – this is sheer perfection.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Cranberry-Fudge Pie.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. mrshittle15814

    i LOVE this idea! i don’t mostly go in for the traditional pumpkin or pecan pies (unless it’s a chocolate pecan pie, or even better, chocolate mixed nut pie). Instead, my traditional Thanksgiving pie is a lemon creme. i think this year, we’ll have cranberry fudge as well! Thanks for the brilliant idea, Joanna and PJ!

    Come join us at the gym, we’ll think of the Next Great Pie together! PJH

    Reply
  2. kapintoperry

    How unusual that no one has posted a comment about this unique pie yet. I love chocolate covered fruit and this pie looks and sounds delicious!

    You were actually the first to comment – I’m approving these in reverse order at the moment… Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  3. Maureen

    This looks incredibly delicious! I was planning to make a cranberry upside down cake tomorrow, but this looks much more decadent. You are a genius for finding the perfect combination of cranberries and chocolate (and the pecans are an added bonus)! I’m salivating over the pictures right now. Bravo!

    Salivating? Step away from the computer, Maureen… :) PJH

    Reply
  4. Lina

    This one looks a little too rich for me. (Wait, did those words just come out of my mouth?) The whole bottom being pure chocolate ganache just seems like it would be waaay too much chocolate. I suppose it just calls for smaller slices, perhaps?

    You’ve got it, Lina – very small slices, and a cup of coffee. I thought it would be over-the-top rich, too; but the thick layer of cranberries and the crumb crust help temper it. It’s a nice pie… PJH

    Reply
  5. HMB

    Since I just made a pumpkin pie this week to use up some extra pumpkin puree I had sitting in the fridge, maybe I’ll try this for Thanksgiving instead — I’m definitely in the YESSSS camp on this one!
    And speaking of unusual pies, sometimes I make a pie that’s caramelized apples on the bottom and pumpkin custard on top. That way you don’t have to choose between the apple pie and the pumpkin pie.

    Whoa. That does sound like a unique pie! Unusual, but I think I would really like it :) kelsey

    Reply
  6. Tonia

    OHOHOH!!! I can see this as a 9″ tart with the pecans ground up fine and mixed into the graham cracker crust, then the ganache filling then the cranberries directly on the ganache with a dollop of whipped cream on the side — Oh, yeah!

    Reply
  7. JuliaJ

    Thanks for providing the weight equivalents in the recipe. I was wondering about the 6T melted butter vs. 6T butter, melted. (I’m not sure they’re the same, I’ll stick with melting 3 ounces of butter.)

    Will definitely have to try this–and then see about morphing the recipe into a cherry fudge version, yum!

    Cherry fudge- now THERE’S an idea, Julia! I say go for it. And yes, 6 tablespoons melted butter is the same as 6 tablespoons butter, melted. Thanks for pointing out the possible confusion. PJH

    Reply
  8. dunn2

    You got my attention when you wrote Cranberry Fudge but a pie wasn’t what I had in mind…maybe you can help me with that too!

    Many years ago in an antique store in Cave Springs, GA I purchased some cranberry fudge. It appeared that it was made in the antique store…they had an entire little fudge section. Pretty pink and oh so GOOD, I think it had pecans in it…it was in GA after all! I’ve not been back to Cave Springs but I’ve looked high and low for the recipe. Since you are all in cranberry country, maybe you have some ideas on this….and if you do…maybe you’ll share! :) Thanks!

    I’ve had cranberry fudge myself, on Cape Cod. To me, it tasted like pink-colored vanilla fudge, with dried cranberries folded in. So if you could find a vanilla fudge recipe (there are plenty online), you might want to substitute cranberry juice for some of the milk/cream, and go from there. Good luck! PJH

    Reply
  9. hepokoski

    I’ve been looking for a way to put dark chocolate and rhubarb together…I bet this would work great!

    What are the dried cranberries adding here?
    A little more texture and less straight tart. Elisabeth

    Reply
  10. lillyajensen

    My family always makes an oatmeal/white chocolate/cranberry cookie. A white chocolate base might be a good alternative for those who don’t like the chocolate/cranberry combination. The super-sweet white chocolate works well with the cranberries.

    Reply
  11. kraftyer

    YUMMMMM – will have to try this one! It will be fun to see the reaction at Thanksgiving this year.

    One question: cranberry juice – is that straight cranberry juice or cran-apple/cran-grape etc….?

    thanks bunches
    I believe that is straight cranberry juice. If you wanted to use some variation thereof, that may be fine. Elisabeth

    Reply
  12. jecklcat

    This sounds fantastic! After making it this way, I might even be tempted to put the cranberry layer on the bottom, then the ganache, then the nuts on top – so the cranberries are more of a ‘surprise’ when the pie is served.

    Reply
  13. argentyne

    That looks quite tasty. I might have to try that and then some experimentation on my own… Do you think almonds would work in this? I don’t care for most walnuts anymore (we had a walnut tree when I was little. I’m spoiled.) and Pecans are horribly expensive at my local stores right now. But I have a TON of almonds and they are dirt cheap at the moment.

    Sure, any nuts you like would be fine. I’d suggest slivered, toasted almonds as a delicious choice… PJH

    Reply
  14. robertdroppa

    It would be nice if King Arthur would have button to send recipes to a friend! I’d send it to my own e-mail address just so I could save the recipe!

    Sorry to hear of your difficulty. When you click the “email this recipe” link, there will be 3 step process. 1) Verify your info. 2) Add recipient address(es). 3) Click Send. Hope this helps. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  15. slevinator

    OH MY GOSH! My 4yo daughter and I just made a special trip to the store for more cranberries so we can make this for a special homecoming surprise for Daddy tonight. I was looking for something easy, tasty and fun that she can help with – this looks like it. Can’t wait to try this tonight- the sweetness of chocolate against the tartness of cranberries!!! Thanks for the delicious idea!

    Lucky Daddy! :) PJH

    Reply
  16. HC

    Do you think this recipe would work if the nuts were omitted (Sadly, I have a nut allergy)? Thanks.

    Sure, no problem – they’re there for taste, not structure, so leave them out. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  17. nmklassen

    OH MY!!! Will be trying this for Christmas this year…(we do Canadian thanksgiving). I love all three ingredients together…Can’t wait!…MUST make a ‘trial’ pie first!

    Trial pies are always key – gosh, you wouldn’t want a “failure” on the big day, right? I suggest a trial run ASAP. :) PJH

    Reply
  18. nlshugars

    The whole business looks delicious. But here’s my question — is there some secret trick I don’t know about regarding getting a nice looking piece of pie out of the pan with a graham cracker crust? Or is it meant to be “rustic”? Help me, please?!?

    Do you mean, why do graham cracker crusts always crumble? You could try using granulated sugar, and more of it; sugar melts as the crust bakes, then solidifies as it cools, providing more structure. You could also add a bit more butter, so the crust looks “wetter” going into the pan; the milk solids (protein) in the butter also provide structure. If you’re really desperate for a cohesive crust, you could stir a beaten egg into the crumbs; that should help a lot. PJH

    Reply
  19. Jerinka

    My first post from the first recipe I have made! YES!! I have already made this twice now and will keep this recipe close at hand. Delish!! Especially with that coffee. And I am a picky chef and like really good flavor pairings. This is amazing!!! THANKS
    Thanks for touching base and sharing with us. We hope to hear lots more from you in the future. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  20. SloJo

    Frank – exactly where on the page is the “email this recipe” link? I’ve looked the page over 3 times, and will feel chagrinned when its pointed out, but I don’t see it, text searching didn’t locate it either, except in your response above. Thx. Jo

    No trouble. From the blog click the recipe link for Cranberry-Fudge Pie. that will take you to the recipe page here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/cranberry-fudge-pie-recipe?preview=Y
    At the top of the page, just below the recipe title you will see the “email this recipe” link. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  21. downmary

    When I first saw this recipe I thought of my husband who loves cranberries. A couple of days later I remembered that our church was having a pie baking contest and I decided to try this recipe out for it. The contest was yesterday and I won the Grand Prize and had several people ask if I would share the recipe. This pie is Wonderful. I will be making it again. I thought that I might add a little orange, maybe peel, to the cranberry mixture since I usually do that with my cranberry sauce and I love the combination of orange and chocolate. Otherwise, this pie is perfect. Thanks for the inspiration.

    WAY cool! Thanks for sharing your success here- PJH

    Reply
  22. Mrs.Bones

    How do you think this pie would keep? I wanted to make it tomorrow and then serve it for Thanksgiving, but I’m not sure if the layers will mix together and mush everything up.

    Maybe better to wait and make it the day of?

    It’ll keep fine for at least 24 hours – make it tomorrow… PJH

    Reply
  23. wingboy

    Wonderful. Perfect. Amazing. I’m really into the flavor combination.

    This pie just might replace strawberry-rhubarb as my favorite.

    Thanks!!!

    (I’m making another one for Thanksgiving)

    Just spooned the cranberry sauce onto one here… going out the door later with one of my Web teammates. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  24. cyclejunkie

    This pie was perfect for Thanksgiving. I had to make it ahead (crust and topping Monday), and I put it together Tuesday night. It kept just fine until Thursday. I did decide to drain off most of the juice from the cranberry sauce before putting the topping onto the crust.

    Everyone loved it. The first time I set it out, I put it out too early and it was a little mushy. The next time I served it, I kept it in the refrigerator until the last minute. I will make it again for at least one more Christmas gathering. Thank you for a great recipe and tutorial.

    Reply
  25. sealily

    I agree that cyclejunkie’s pie was awesome—and we both need to go cycling after that treat. This totally decadent dessert was all we had hoped for, and more! Cycle junkie did a great job! Thank you PJH and KA for fabulous recipes and excellent tutorials! You’re tops!

    Glad it worked out for you – thanks for connecting here. PJH

    Reply
  26. Carly

    I made this for Thanksgiving, and it was a hit. Like cyclejunkie, I drained off a lot of the juice before putting the cranberry topping in the crust. The slices came out much neater than expected–the topping really hung together after being in the fridge for a few hours.

    Reply
  27. jencollinsmoore

    I’m a little late to the game on this one, but am planning to make this one for Thanksgiving. (It looks delicious!) I was hoping to make the crust and cranberries on Tuesday, then put it all together on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. (I saw another post said it will be all right for 24 hours.) Can I fill the crust with the chocolate and nuts on Tuesday as well, or is it better to hold off on that until later? Thank you for any help on timing the advance work!

    You should certainly be able to fill the crust with the chocolate and nuts ahead of time, I would just hold off with the cranberry filling until 24 hours before you plan on serving the pie!-Jon

    Reply
  28. Robin B

    Ok I made this with pecans because I am well a pecan-a-holic, yep I admit it! I toasted 3/4 cup of pecans chopped divided them and added 1/8 of a cup to the graham crust and then the rest to the recipe. Oh my……. It was served with pumpkin flavored whipped cream……heh heh.

    Reply

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