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Healthy Cranberry Cherry Pie with Walnut Crunch Topping Recipe

Updated on July 27, 2017
A variation  uses only cherries for a treat that can be prepared all year round.
A variation uses only cherries for a treat that can be prepared all year round. | Source

Cranberries are wonderful in baked goods.

Cranberries are a wonderful healthy treat. Their bitter taste means that they need to be used in recipes rather than eaten raw. Everyone is familiar with cranberry sauce, but have you ever thought of using cranberries in pies, breads. and puddings? Here is a recipe for an all-natural Cranberry-Cherry Pie with Walnut Crunch Topping.

This is a very healthy dessert because the three main ingredients, cranberries, sour cherries, and walnuts are all “super-foods."

A cranberry Bush

Cranberries grow in bogs on low-lying bushes.
Cranberries grow in bogs on low-lying bushes. | Source

What are super-foods?

“Super-foods” are foods that are high in anti-oxidants that are especially effective in inhibiting the oxidation that leads to free radicals. These free-radicals can cause cell-death and inflammation in the body. Inflammation leads to disease by reducing the functioning of the immune system.

Super-foods are also foods very high in vitamins and phytonutrients. Plants contain thousands of natural chemicals that, while not essential to life, help to keep the body working at its best.

Cranberries, cherries, and walnuts are all high in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients.

What are the health benefits of cranberries?

Cranberries are part of a group of foods called “super- foods” because they are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Cranberries are a good source of important vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins C, E, and K and the mineral manganese.

Cranberries may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

Cranberries are a good source of fiber. High fiber intake is associated with lower risks for heart disease, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, obesity and some gastrointestinal diseases. It also reduces cholesterol and can aid in weight loss.

A half-cup of cranberries contains only about 25 calories.

Cranberries keep very well in the freezer. Since cranberries are only available in the fall in the United States, be sure to pick up some extra bags to keep in the freezer until you are ready to use them in recipes. (If the cranberries are frozen, you can use them frozen. No need to defrost.)

Cherries

Ripe red cherries on a cherry tree.
Ripe red cherries on a cherry tree. | Source

What are the health benefits of cherries?

There are two primary varieties of cherries. Sweet cherries, like Bing cherries, are best eaten fresh and raw. They are in season in the United States only briefly, from May to June.

Sour cherries have a tart flavor and are best when cooked. They are available canned in syrup or in water. I’ll be using the ones canned in water for my recipe.

Cherries, and especially tart cherries, pack a lot of health benefits in one delicious little package.

Cherries are rich in anti-oxidants which help to reduce inflammation in the body. Less inflammation reduces the risk of cancer, arthritis, and gout. It can even help to reduce post- exercise muscle pain.

Cherries improve heart health and reduce the risk of stroke by activating PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) in your body’s tissues. It reduces triglycerides and promotes healthy fat and glucose metabolism. The fat-burning potential of tart cherries can aid in weight loss and the reduction of belly-fat.

Tart cherries also contain melatonin which helps to regulate sleep. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body; cherries are the only natural source of melatonin.

Additionally, the fiber content off cherries aids in digestion which reduces the risk of colon cancer.

And last but not least, cherries are a good source of vitamin C and carotenoids (a precursor for vitamin A).

Sour cherries are also low in calories-- only about 25 calories per half-cup.

A Walnut

Walnuts are tree nuts.
Walnuts are tree nuts. | Source

What are the health benefits of walnuts?

Walnuts may be nature’s most nearly perfect food,. Walnuts contain protein, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants (including some rarely found in other foods), and many vitamins and minerals. One-quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats. Walnuts also have high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin.

Walnuts may help reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer. They can lower the risk from cardio-vascular disease and heart attacks. They help keep cholesterol at a healthy level. They help improve sperm health and brain health. They are also helpful in preventing diabetes and weight gain.

Even though a quarter cup of walnuts contains close to 200 calories, walnuts should be part of a healthy diet because of their amazing health benefits.

I buy shelled walnuts in bulk at Costco. I fill a small jar with walnuts and keep the jar in the refrigerator. The jar makes it handy to grab a few walnuts to add to cooked oatmeal, yogurt, salads, etc. or just to eat out of hand for a snack. I keep the remainder in the freezer so the nuts won’t go rancid. I fill my jar from my freezer stash as needed.

Cranberry Cherry Pie Recipe

Cranberry-cherry pie with walnut crunch topping straight from the oven.
Cranberry-cherry pie with walnut crunch topping straight from the oven. | Source

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared pie crust
  • 2 cups raw cranberries, ((Fresh or frozen)
  • 1 14 to 15-ounce can of tart (sour) cherries, (Packed in water)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 TBS cornstarch

The Cranberry Cherry Pie Filling Preparation

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The filling mixture is simmering in the pot..The slurry of cherry water and cornstarch will be used to thicken the filling.The filling is added to the prepared pie shell.
The filling mixture is simmering in the pot..
The filling mixture is simmering in the pot.. | Source
The slurry of cherry water and cornstarch will be used to thicken the filling.
The slurry of cherry water and cornstarch will be used to thicken the filling. | Source
The filling is added to the prepared pie shell.
The filling is added to the prepared pie shell. | Source

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Drain the cherries, reserving the liquid. Rinse the cranberries and remove any that have gone soft.
  3. Put the drained cherries, the cranberries, and the honey into a pot.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Stir occasionally. Let it boil slowly until the cranberries have burst. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Measure out a half cup of the cherry liquid. (Add water if you have less than a half cup.) Add the cornstarch into the liquid and stir until it is dissolved. Pour this liquid into the cooked cranberry-cherry mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon constantly until the mixture turns bright red and is thickened. When it turns bright red, it is done. Remove from the heat.
  6. Put the bottom pie crust into a 9 inch pie-shell. Pour the thickened cranberry-cherry mixture into the pie shell.
  7. Top with the walnut-crumb topping. (See recipe below). Place one spoonful of the mixture at a time on top of the filling. Spread with the back of a spoon so the filling is evenly covered. don't worry about small gaps in the topping. The topping will spread a little as it bakes.
  8. Bake in 375 degree oven until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  9. Let the pie cool thoroughly on a wire rack before serving.

The Walnut Crunch Topping Preparation

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The topping has been partially applied to the filling.The oats, flour, and walnuts will be mixed together in a bowl.A sticky mixture is formed when the honey is mixed into the dry ingredients.The pie is ready to go into the oven. Small gaps in the topping are fine.
The topping has been partially applied to the filling.
The topping has been partially applied to the filling. | Source
The oats, flour, and walnuts will be mixed together in a bowl.
The oats, flour, and walnuts will be mixed together in a bowl. | Source
A sticky mixture is formed when the honey is mixed into the dry ingredients.
A sticky mixture is formed when the honey is mixed into the dry ingredients. | Source
The pie is ready to go into the oven. Small gaps in the topping are fine.
The pie is ready to go into the oven. Small gaps in the topping are fine. | Source

How to Prepare the Crumb Topping

Ingredients

1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup flour (white or whole wheat)

¼ cup honey

½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl until well blended. The mixture will be sticky. Add a little extra honey if needed.

Have a slice for breakfast ...

It has oatmeal in it--that makes it breakfast food.

Helpful Hints

I "chop" the walnuts by breaking them into small pieces with my hands.

If you want a sweeter pie, add a little more honey to the filling--an extra tablespoon or two.

If I am using a prepared pie crust that is sold in the flimsy tin pin pans, I place the tin pie pan inside a studier glass or metal pan. This make the pie pan easier to handle.

I usually place a foil-lined cookie sheet in the oven on the rack below the pie plate to catch any of the filling that my boil over.

For the bottom pie crust you can bake your own or use a pre-made crust from the supermarket. If you buy a pre-made crust search for one that does not contain hydrogenated oil.

Serve with a spritz of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

How would you rate this recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of Cranberry Cherry Pie

Variations Using Canned Cranberry Sauce or All Cherries

If you do not have fresh (or frozen) whole cranberries, you can substitute one 14-ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce for the fresh cranberries or use two cans of water-packed cherries. (Drain the cherries and reserve the liquid.) Place the canned fruit in a pot with 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup of the reserved cherry liquid. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the fruit comes to a full boil, dissolve 1 TBS cornstarch in 1/4 cup of the reserved cherry liquid. Add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling fruit, and stir constantly until the mixture turns bright red and is thickened. Remove from the heat and pour the thickened pie filling into the bottom crust. Cover with the Walnut Crunch Topping. Bake at 375 degree oven until the topping is browned.

If you have leftover cherry liquid, add it to iced tea to flavor the tea.

Variation Using Frozen Cherries

Instead of canned cherries, use two cups of frozen cherries. Use 1/4 cup of cold water instead of the canned cherry liquid.

Healthy Eating Poll

Do you make an effort to eat a heathy diet.

See results
Cranberry cherry pie is wonderful at Christmas time served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Cranberry cherry pie is wonderful at Christmas time served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. | Source

© 2014 Catherine Giordano

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    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Thanks for this recipe, Catherine. It is perfect for holiday gatherings. I bookmarked to add to my favorite recipes.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you, Phyliss. It is pretty easy to make also which makes it good for the busy holiday season. I'm going to make one for a potluck party on the weekend. (The one I made in order to take photographs is all mine.)

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      P.S. to Phyliss: Thank you for the share. That's a real compliment--when you like it enough to share.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 2 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I will have to try this--I love nuts and cranberries.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      What a gorgeous pie and the combo of cherries and cranberries sounds divine. I love that it doesn't sound too sweet!

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I have been looking for a good cranberry pie recipe! This one looks delicious!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you Kschimmel for reading and commenting. Cherrries and walnuts are two of my favorite foods also.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you Glimmer for your "gorgeous" comment. I'm not a food stylist or even a photographer so I'm glad to hear that my picture looks good. This pie is on the tart side. It is not just a dessert; it would be great for brunch. I'm going to have a slice tonight for dessert and again tomorrow with my morning coffee.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you, cygnetbrown. If you try it and like it, please come back and rate it. I think you will like it. Thanks for your comment.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Looks yummy. I'd have to adapt for gluten-free and a honey substitute, as I just signed a Care2Petition to maintain America's pollinators by banning certain pesticides. Bee population according to the petition group's information is down 70% in some areas! This pie looks absolutely delicious. I give you kudos for artistic presentation!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      You might enjoy my hubs about bees--take a look. I am a great admirer of bees. Use maple syrup instead of honey. Or how about organic honey? Use your own recipe for a gluten-free crust or omit the crust and the recipe for pie is now a recipe for crumble. Oats are gluten free-right? You might be able to substitute a gluten free flour for the crumble or perhaps just omit the flour. I'm not sure--I guess you will have to experiment. Thank you so much for your compliment about artistic presentation. Doing hubs has taught me a lot about graphic design.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Wow recipe. It looks very beautiful and delicious. I should try one. We love these pies very much. Thanks for sharing it.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Ven: I hope you get a chance to try my recipe for cranberry cherry pie. I appreciate that you took the time to comment and say my pie looks beautiful and delicious.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i buy cranberries when there is an offer. Otherwise, I won't be using any cranberries in my cooking

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      At my local supermarket cranberries are sold, buy one get one free--two bags for three dollars. I saw them at Aldi for $1.59 a bag. I think the price for cranberries is pretty good considering how nutritious they are. Also delicious.

    • monia saad profile image

      monia ben saad 2 years ago from In my Dream

      for me i practice sport 3 time a week and i'm not fat 60 kg and i eat all i want but healthy food

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I'm glad to hear that you like to eat healthy. My cranberry-cherry pie is for when you want a treat made with nutritious foods and no refined sugar.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Absolutely breakfast food! That was the first thing that sprang to mind when I open the article. Thank you for verifying that. :)

      I'm so glad you mentioned walnuts. My husband and I just had a lengthy conversation this morning about the benefits of raw cashews over peanuts. Google was involved, raised voices, strong language, tears and eventually reconciliation (I hate it when he cries). Actually, nothing that dramatic, but I had forgotten about walnuts until you just mentioned it. Now I have an alternative to my beloved cashews.

      Now, when are you coming to stay with me? You may have free reign over my tiny kitchen. The cranberries are in the freezer and all the nuts are kept in jars to the left of the stove. Just let yourself in anytime.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Iris, I had the same thought myself. If I'm ever in Boise, I'd love to meet you. And I'll bake you a pie. Walnuts are the best nuts to eat. I think peanuts are the worse, if I remember my research. Cashews are good so are macadamia nuts. Since I am not likely to visit anytime soon, I hope you will bake my pie and have some for breakfast. P.S. Orlando is lovely this time of year.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for introducing me to a recipe combination that is totally new to me! I did not know that sour cherries are the only natural source of melatonin, so you taught me something new too. Thank you!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Ecogranny: You can enjoy this pie in the morning because of the oatmeal content and in the evening because of the melatonin content and any time in between because it is delicious. Thanks for reading and commenting. it is nice to hear from you.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Cathy, next time I'm down that way we will meet for sure. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the recipe and the information on the great benefits on the super foods in it. The walnut crunch is appealing. Sounds healthy, looks good. I can do with a taste right now.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you MsDora. If you like the crunch topping, you can use it with any cooked fruit to make a crumble. No pie crust needed. I also use the crumble topping for other fruit pies, like blueberry pie. I wish I could hand you a slice of the pie right through the computer. I had a slice for breakfast, but thee is still half a pie left.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      If you don't have fresh cranberries, substitute a can of whole cranberry sauce. Or just use two cans of sour cherries. You can also use the crunch topping over the pie filling of your choice.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      I wish there was a YUMMY option to vote on, but Useful is food too. Bookmarked, tweeted, and pinned to my Home Cooking board.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Colorfulone: Now that you mention it, "yummy" would be a great option. I suppose one could substitute "beautiful." Thanks for your votes and shares. It's so nice to know you liked my recipe.

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