I love cranberries which led me to make this tasty and creamy Cranberry Cheesecake Pie. A flaky pie crust is filled with no-bake cheesecake filling that tastes like orange creamsicle and then topped with a deep dark red cranberry curd. The whole thing is topped with whipped cream. Simply delicious. Read more on how easy it is to make this dessert; and if you're interested in getting notified of the latest recipes sign up for the baking newsletter.
Why This Recipe Works
This pie has a crisp flaky crust and a great flavor combination. Orange zest and orange juice are added to this no-bake cheesecake filling to create a filling that tastes like an orange creamsicle. The tartness of the creamy cranberry curd is perfect with the sweet orange filling. Brushing the bottom of the pie crust with apricot jam ensures that the pie crust stays crisp after the filling is added.
Cranberry Curd and Cheesecake Filling Ingredients
This recipe starts with a creamy and tart cranberry curd. During cranberry season it is made with fresh cranberries, but during the rest of the year, the curd can be made with frozen cranberries. To make the curd you'll need the following ingredients:
- Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
- Granulated Sugar
- Orange Zest and Orange Juice
- Unsalted Butter
No-bake cheesecake filling is easy to make with just a few ingredients:
- Cream Cheese. I prefer Philadelphia brand cream cheese because of its creaminess and tanginess
- Orange Zest and Orange Juice
- Powdered Sugar. You can substitute granulated sugar or even honey.
- Heavy Whipping Cream
How to Make the Pie Dough
Making pie dough is one of those essential baking skills that can be hard to master. Or at least it was for me. But now I find it relaxing. If you prefer you can use a store-bought pie crust and following the manufacturer's directions for blind-baking the dough.
Here are my tips for making good pie dough not matter what recipe you use.
- Use cold ingredients. Your butter and water should be cold when they mixed into the dry ingredients. My mother sometimes chilled the flour. I haven't tried that technique yet, but it worked for her. I keep a jar that holds 2 cups of water in the refrigerator at all times so I know that I will have ice cold water whenever I need it.
- Don't overwork the dough. Working the dough too much will activate the gluten in the flour and create a dough that is harder to roll our and a finished pie crust that is chewy. Once the water is added only work it enough with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to work it into the other ingredients and then shape it into a circle or square for your recipe.
- Keep the dough cool. After chilling the dough, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll out. Quickly roll out the dough and fit it into whatever baking pan or pie plate that you are using. Then chill the dough again after shaping it.
After the pie dough has chilled for at least an hour, roll it out on a well-floured surface to 12-13 inches. Fold it into quarters so you have what looks like a pie wedge. Place the dough in the pie plate lining the point of the folded dough with the center of the pan.
Gently unfold the dough and press it into the sides and bottom of the pan. Trim the dough, so the overhang is about 1-inch all around. The most important thing is to make sure the overhang is even all the way around, so if it is a little more than an inch that is fine.
Fold the dough edges underneath so that the edges of the pie dough line up with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the pie dough as shown in the picture above or use another design.
How to Make the Cranberry Curd
The first step to making cranberry curd is to extract as much juice from the cranberries as possible before combining them with the eggs and butter.
Chop the cranberries in the food processor. This step will make it easier to extract the juices from the cranberries for the curd. If you do not have a food processor cook the berries whole and use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. It will take an additional 5-7 minutes
Cook the fresh or frozen cranberries with sugar, orange juice, orange zest, water, and a little salt to concentrate the flavor. The orange juice and zest are added to enhance the flavor.
When the berries are finished cooking remove them from the heat and taste them. They should be tart, but not too sour. If you want it a little sweeter add another 1/4 cup of sugar and cook for another 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat to dissolve the sugar.
Strain the cooked cranberries to remove the large solids, i.e. the skins. Allow th mixture to cool for another 5 minutes. While the cranberries are cooling beat the eggs together and whisk them into the cranberry mixture.
Cook the curd over medium heat, whisking continuously until it reaches 175°F. The curd will be a little thicker. Don't worry if it seems thin, it will thicken and solidify while it is chilling in the refrigerator.
Whisk the butter into the curd and then strain in again through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any egg solids.
Refrigerate the curd until it has completely cooled. As with all curds and custard type dishes cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming.
How to Blind Bake the Pie Dough
First, start by docking the pie dough with the tines of a fork. About 8-10 times will be adequate. Next line the pie dough with aluminum foil. I like using foil because it is easy to shape against the dough and will help the dough stay in place as it bakes.
Fill the aluminum foil with pie weights or dry beans to weigh down the pie, so the bottom doesn't puff up and the slides don't slump down.
Bake the dough for 35 minutes in a 375 degree F oven until the edges are golden brown. Remove the foil and pie weights from the pie crust and bake for another 10 minutes. The bottom of the pie crust will start off pale and then turn a beautiful golden brown.
How to Make the Cheesecake Filling
The no-bake Cheesecake filling is easier to make than you think. A lot of recipes call for room temperature cream cheese, which is definitely a must if you are making a regular cheesecake that is baked in the oven.
The addition of the orange zest and orange juice make the filling taste like an orange creamsicle. One of my favorite childhood flavors.
But since we are making a no-bake cheesecake this recipe starts with cream cheese straight from the refrigerator. Beat the cream cheese, the sugar, and the orange zest together with a handheld mixer until the cream cheese is smooth and creamy.
Beating the cream cheese with the sugar introduces air pockets into the cream cheese which helps with the fluffy texture.
Next, add the vanilla extract and the heavy cream. While the mixer is running, slowly add the heavy cream by pouring it down the sides of the bowl. Once all the cream is added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form and the beaters leave visible tracks in the filling.
Taste the mixture and add additional sugar according to your taste. Mix it in by hand so you don’t overbeat the filling.
How to Assemble the Final Dessert
Fill the cooled pie shell with the whipped cheesecake filling, and smooth the top until it is level. Chill the cheesecake for 30 minutes. Add the cranberry curd and spread across the top of the cheesecake filling.
Make the whipped cream topping
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use store-bought pie crust?
Yes, you can use store-bought pie crust. Follow the manufacturer's directions for blind-baking the pie dough.
Do I have to use cranberries? Can I make this with lemon curd?
Yes, you can make this with lemon curd or another favorite. Check out my other recipes for different flavored fruit curds.
What can I use instead of cream cheese for the filling?
In place of cream cheese you can use mascarpone, ricotta cheese, or soft silken tofu. You will need to adjust the sugar to your own taste.
More Cranberry Desserts
If you like cranberries here are more yummy cranberry treats:
- Cranberry and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Cranberry Meringue Tart
- Orange Butter Cake with Cranberry Filling
I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments please send me an email or leave a note in the Comment field below. If you make this recipe I would love to see your pictures and if you post it to Instagram tag me @bakesbybrownsugar and #bakesbybrownsugar.
Cranberry Cheesecake Pie
- 1 1/4 cups 190 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon 13 grams white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons 142 grams cold unsalted butter cubed
- 1/4 cup ice-cold water or more if required.
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) white sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 (100 grams) whole eggs
- 2 (40 grams) egg yolks
- 8 ounces (227 grams) full fat cream cheese cold
- 1/2 cup (57 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream cold
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 cup heavy cream, cold
- 3 tablespoons (38 grams) granulated sugar
For the Pie Dough
- Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles small peas.
- Combine the ice-cold water and the lemon juice. Add the ice water and use a rubber spatula to toss together. It will still be slightly crumbly or shaggy but will hold together when squeezed into a ball. If more water is needed add a tablespoon at a time.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough together, folding it over on itself until it starts to hold together. Try not to work the dough too much or it may become overdeveloped and tough.
- Shape the dough into disk 1-inch thick. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
- For a 9-inch pie plate roll the dough until is it 1/8-inch thick and 12-inches round. Fold the dough in half and then half again so that you have a quarter. Place the dough in the pie plate do the corner of the dough is centered. Gently unfold the dough so the pie plate is completely covered, and the dough is overhanging the plate.
- Trim the dough so that there is about a 1-inch overhang all the way around. Fold the dough under so that it rests on the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the dough using a fork or create your own design.
- Refrigerate the prepared dough for at least 45 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and use a fork to dock the bottom of the pie dough. Line the dough with a large piece of foil so that it overhangs the edges of the dough. Press the foil lightly into the dough, so there are no gaps. Fill the foil with pie weights up to the to edge of the dough.
- Bake the pie dough for 35 minutes. The visible edges should be golden brown and the center will be pale. Remove the pie weights and foil, return the pie dough to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. The interior of the pie will turn golden brown.
- Remove the pie crust from the oven and allow it cool to room temperature.
For the Cranberry Curd
- If using frozen cranberries they don't need to be thawed before making the curd.
- In a small bowl whisk together the whole eggs and egg yolks. Place a bowl with a medium-coarse strainer next to the stove.
- Place the cranberries in a food processor and process until they are coarsely chopped. Place the cranberries, sugar, water and salt in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan. Zest the orange directly into the saucepan. Juice the orange and add 1/4 cup of orange juice to the saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes in order to extract as much juice as possible from the cranberries. Strain cranberry mixture through medium coarse strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids with a rubber spatula to extract as much puree as possible. Place a
- Whisk eggs and yolks into cranberry mixture in the bowl. Return the mixture to the saucepan, Rinse out the bowl and place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. Cook the cranberry mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, until the mixture is thickened and registers 175 degrees in multiple spots, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Off heat, stir in butter until incorporated. Strain the cranberry mixture through the fine-mesh strainer. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (Curd can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
For the Cheesecake Filling
- Place the cold cream cheese and. powdered sugar in a large bowl. With a handheld mixer beat the mixture on low speed until the ingredients are combined and then increase the speed to high and beat until the cream cheese mixture is smooth and cream. Taste the mixture and determine if you want to add additional sugar.
- Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on medium slowly heavy cream and when all the cream has been added increase the speed to medium high. Beat the mixture until the beaters start to leave visible tracks in the cheesecake filling and soft peaks have formed. You know you have soft peaks when you stop the mixture, lift up the beaters and the peaks of the whipped cheesecake slightly fold over. Do not overmix the filling. It is okay to undermix the filling, check for soft peaks and then continue to beat it until the right consistency is achieved.
- The cheesecake filling can be made 3 days in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble the dessert.
Whipped Cream Topping
- Place the heavy cream and sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Start by whipping the cream on medium-low speed and then increase it to medium-high just until traces of the beater begin to appear in the cream and there are soft peaks.
Assembling the Pie
- Microwave the apricot jam in a heatproof container for about 15-20 seconds or until it becomes more liquid and is easy to stir. With a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of the baked pie shell with the jam. This step will help keep the pie crust from becoming soggy after the cheesecake filling is added.
- Fill the pie shell with the whipped cheesecake filling. Smooth the top until it is level. Chill the cheesecake for 30 minutes. Add the cranberry curd and spread across the top of the cheesecake filling.
- Top the pie with the whipped cream and serve.
- The pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.