If you already have your holiday desserts set in stone, I’m sorry to complicate things for you but I really think you need to consider including this cranberry streusel pie in the mix. Cranberries are surely one of the best seasonal foods at this time of year, at least in my opinion. I expect they are gracing your Thanksgiving table in one form or another, be it an appetizer, sauce, one cocktail or another.

Rarely do they play a starring role in dessert and it is obvious why – their natural tartness can be a bit too much and outweighs their vibrant red color and excellent consistency when cooked. This pie manages to highlight their beauty, take advantage of their texture, and balance out their tart side with just enough sweet and a rocking toasty warm pecan streusel.

I love how this is unique from most traditional seasonal pies, though it also isn’t such a radical departure from them. While I do like streusel on many baked goods, I tend to prefer double crust pies over streusel any day. This pie is definitely an exception in my book. The streusel adds both a textural and flavor contrast that pretty pie crust never could. Another plus is that this is pretty quick to make. I had the whole thing made and in the oven in under an hour. Prep the crust and while it chills, make the filling and topping – both are simple and straightforward. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this victory for the underdog!

  • Prep 20 minutes
  • Cook about 1 hour
  • Yield 1 9-inch pie


For the crust: 

  • 1¼ cups (155 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. (6 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 tbsp. (115 grams) butter, cold and cut into small chunks
  • 3 tbsp. very cold water
  • 1 tbsp. vodka

For the filling: 

  • 4½ cups (18 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1-2 more tbsp. if desired, to taste
  • A few gratings of orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

For the topping: 

  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (or ½ cups oat flour)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted


  • 01

    To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together with a fork. Add in the butter and use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and the smallest butter pieces are the size of peas. Add in the water and the vodka and stir until the mixture comes together into a shaggy dough. Knead gently until the dough is cohesive and no dry ingredients remain. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate to chill while you prep the filling and topping.

  • 02

    In a large skillet or saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, salt and cornstarch. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes, the berries will begin to release their juices. Continue to cook about 5 more minutes so the berries continue to soften and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside to let cool.

  • 03

    In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pecans about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Set aside to let cool. If using rolled oats, grind them in a food processor until finely ground to a powder. To make the topping, combine the oat flour, all-purpose flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Add the pecans to a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the pecans to the bowl with the other dry ingredients. Add in the melted butter and stir together with a fork until it forms a crumbly mixture.

  • 04

    To blind-bake the pie shell, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Roll pie dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch disc.  Place it in a 9-inch pie plate, trimming away the excess and creating decorative edges as desired.  Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with the tines of a fork.  Line the crust with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  (If you don’t have baking beads, dried beans or rice also work.)  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the baking beads and foil and bake about 5-10 minutes more, until light golden.  Transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚ F.

  • 05

    Add the cranberry filling to the pie shell and top with the streusel mixture. (This is a very thick layer of streusel. You may opt not to use all of it. I used about three quarters of it.) Bake 40-50 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is browned. If the topping is browning too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing.