There’s something to be said about not have central air-conditioning. We had a brutal summer in Southern California with more-than-usual days over 100 degrees F. All we could do was to use our portable little air-conditioner along with three circulating fans to keep the house as cool as possible. When it was unbearable, we’d escape to dog beach and stay as long as possible on the cooler shores. But not everyday could be made into an escape to dog beach because someone needs to work to pay for all the doggie toys and treats. We always try to explain this to the pups, but they still don’t seem to understand why we can’t have daily field trips.
While developing some recipes for a client during one of these scorching hot days, we started to think about desserts and pies that could be made without ever having to turn on the oven. For days when we’re hitting triple digit temperatures, the very last thing in the world we’d ever want to do is to turn on the oven.
We were inspired to make pie without an oven. Essentially two words dominated our food creativity and conversations when the thermometer reached its sweat inducing peaks.
Then we started researching and found some inspiration (whew!) on desserts that were no bake, no heat and no oven torture. A no-bake graham cracker crust filled with a whipped cream, fluffy filling. Fill it, chill it, and eat it. A delicious, creamy, fluffy pie and no oven time needed. We were hooked.
Now we are past the dog days of summer. Well, almost. We’ve nearly hit 90 degrees again lately. However with the holidays approaching, especially the epic food holiday of Thanksgiving, having a no-bake dessert up our sleeves it more than handy.
Sometimes it may be a requirement. There’s nearly always going to be a turkey hogging up the oven for hours. And then we have to make our potatoes au gratin. Can’t forget the sweet onion crack dip. With so many dishes needing oven time, even with a double oven there might not be enough thermal real-estate. Let alone if we happen to be some where with only a single oven at the ready.
So taking the no-bake pies we played with this summer, and have a holiday apropos version seemed like a no-brainer. We came up with this no-bake cranberry pie version, garnished with an optional orange curls or sugared cranberries if you feel like dolling the pie up.
Holidays here we come.
-todd and diane
No Bake Fluffy Cranberry Pie with No Bake Graham Cracker Crust
Yield: one 9-inch pie
Total Time: 30 Minutes plus chill time
Neither the crust or filling need baking. Just chill time.
For tips on whipping cream stages, here is a great post.
No-Bake Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups (360ml) graham cracker crumbs (about 9 whole crackers worth)
- 1/4 cup (55g) packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, melted
Fluffy Cranberry Pie Filling Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy whipping cream
- 12 ounces (340g) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 1 - 14oz can (397g) whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla
- zest of 1 medium orange
- optional - a few drops of red food coloring to achieve deeper pink color
- optional - orange peel curls for garnish
- optional - a few frozen cranberries for garnish (rolled in sugar)
- Make the pie crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Mix in the melted butter until evenly combined.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan into an even layer. Press well to compact the crust. Set aside.
- Make the cranberry pie filling: Beat the heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In large bowl, beat together the sugar and cream cheese until well combined and smooth. Stir in the cranberry sauce, vanilla, and orange zest until smooth.
- Add the whipped cream mixture and enough food coloring to achieve your desired pink color. Continue to gently fold the entire mixture until well combined.
- Fold in the cranberry pie filling into pie pan prepared with the graham cracker crust.
- Chill the pie for about 6 hours or overnight, until firm.
- Garnish with orange peel curls and/or sugared frozen cranberries.