For years, the only appearance cranberry made on my family’s annual Thanksgiving table was in the form of canned, gelatinous, store-bought sauce. It slithered out onto a plate, still in the shape of the can from which it came, then proceeded to sit there, untouched, for the duration of the lengthy meal.
For several years now, I’ve been making a homemade sauce, desperate for my family members to fall in love with cranberry’s zippy tang, so welcome alongside the heavier fare on the holiday table. But the only ones who touch the sauce are me and my mom.
This year, I’m trying a different approach: I’m serving cranberries in a pie. Specifically, this Cranberry Chiffon Pie.
The man who claims to have invented chiffon pie (back in the 1920s!) was legally named Monroe Boston Strause, but he was perhaps better known as The Pie King. He was a tireless pie inventor, constantly churning out new recipes, but he was most famous for his chiffon pie. The name is attributed to his mother, who supposedly responded to a taste test of her son’s latest pastry invention by proclaiming, “It’s just like chiffon” (the gossamer stuff of fancy gowns and curtains billowing in a summer breeze).
She was referring to the pie’s ethereal lightness, a trademark whether the recipe is thickened with cornstarch (as The Pie King called for) or gelatin (a more common approach today, and the one we use in our recipe). It’s that delicate, airy texture that makes this pie so perfectly suited to a Thanksgiving feast. What better way to end a meal laden with rich gravy, juicy turkey, and buttery sweet potatoes than with a pie so dainty, you may just find yourself tucking away multiple slices?
In this recipe, the cloud-like cranberry filling is paired with a rye shortcrust, which complements the tart berries with a grounded earthiness and buttery crunch. With just enough structure from the gelatin, the filling slices neatly for a show-stopping presentation of pale pink color and pillowy whipped cream.
It’s that stunning appearance, weightless texture, and zingy flavor that make this pie a worthy conclusion to any Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or other autumnal celebration — and it’s the reason Cranberry Chiffon Pie is our Bake of the Week.
Cover photo by Rick Holbrook.