Hoosier Mama's Cranberry Chess Pie

Hoosier Mama's Cranberry Chess Pie

[Photograph: Steve and Anne Truppe]

Tart and creamy with a hit of citrus, Cranberry Chess Pie from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie uses buttermilk and orange zest to take the typecast cranberry from sidekick to star.

Excerpted from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie by Paula Haney and Allison Scott (Paula Haney). Copyright © 2013. Photograph by Steve and Anne Truppe.

  • Yield:makes 1 9-inch pie
  • Active time: 1-2 hours
  • Total time:overnight, if making filling in advance


  • 1 single-crust, napkin-fold All-Butter Pie Dough shell (ingredients and recipe follow)
  • Pie Wash, for brushing the pie shell (equal parts whole milk and cream)
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (112g) unsalted butter
  • 1 orange, for zesting
  • 3 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons (63g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (7g) cornmeal
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup (242g) buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) vanilla paste
  • 2 cups (200g) coarsely chopped cranberries
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • Pie Dough Shell
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 1/4 cups (333g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (6.5g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon (6.5g) granulated sugar


  1. 1.

    Dough Making: Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Freeze 5 tablespoons for 20 minutes or overnight; chill the remaining 1 1/8 sticks in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  2. 2.

    Stir the red wine vinegar into the cold water and set aside.

  3. 3.

    Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to combine.

  4. 4.

    Add the chilled butter and mix for 25 to 30 seconds, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

  5. 5.

    Add the frozen butter and pulse 15 to 20 times, until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

  6. 6.

    Add 6 tablespoons of the vinegar water and pulse 6 times. The dough should start to look crumbly. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount in the palm of your hand. If it easily holds together, it is done. If not, add 1/2 tablespoon of the vinegar water and pulse 3 more times. Repeat this process as needed until the dough holds together.

  7. 7.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead together until smooth; dough should never come together in the food processor.

  8. 8.

    Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll each into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator until ready to use, at least 20 minutes but preferably overnight.

  9. 9.

    When ready to use, take one of the dough balls out of the refrigerator. The other can be frozen, for future pies.

  10. 10.

    Lightly coat a 9-inch pie tin with cooking spray and dust with flour. Rotate the tin to coat the side. Turn the tin over and tap out any excess flour.

  11. 11.

    Pick the dough circle up firmly by the edges and center onto the prepared pie tin. Tap the pie tin on the counter several times until the dough settles into it. Gently press the dough into the corners of the pie tin with your fingertips.

  12. 12.

    Napkin fold: Grab the edge of the pie dough between the thumb and index finger of your right hand. Be careful not to pull the dough up out of the pie tin as you work.

  13. 13.

    Gently fold a 1/2- to 1-inch section of dough over so it points toward the center of the pie shell. Place your left thumb on top of the first fold.

  14. 14.

    Grab a second 1/2- to 1-inch piece of pie dough between your thumb and index finger, next to the first fold, and gently fold it over like the first piece. Repeat this process all the way around the pie. The more folds you make, the rounder your pie shell will be, but large folds look appealingly rustic.

  15. 15.

    When you are finished with the folds, tap the pie tin against the counter several times. If the pie dough falls down into the pie tin, or unfolds and falls off the rim of the pie tin, unfold that section of dough and make adjustments. If the pie shell holds its shape, gently press the folds down onto the rim of the pie tin.

  16. 16.

    Place the finished napkin-fold pie shell in the refrigerator to rest for at least 20 minutes before use. Well-rested shells hold their shape the best.

  17. 17.

    Pie Assembly: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

  18. 18.

    Take the pie shell out of the fridge and place on a baking sheet. Brush the rim with Pie Wash and set aside.

  19. 19.

    Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Zest the orange over the bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl after each addition.

  20. 20.

    Whisk the flour, cornmeal, and salt together in a small bowl.

  21. 21.

    Stir the buttermilk and vanilla paste together in a small bowl or pitcher.

  22. 22.

    Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just to combine. With the stand mixer on low, add half of the buttermilk mixture and mix just to combine. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix just to combine.

  23. 23.

    With the mixer on low, add the rest of the buttermilk mixture and mix just to combine. Add the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix just to combine.

  24. 24.

    Scrape the side and bottom of the bowl and incorporate any unmixed butter. Gently fold in the cranberries.

  25. 25.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pie shell and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees every 20 minutes. The pie is done when the top
    is slightly puffed and has turned a light golden brown. Cool to room temperature.

  26. 26.

    Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.