Every year, I go a little crazy making cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. It’s so pretty—a glorious ruby red—and tart and sweet and seasonal and my enthusiasm leaves me with cranberry sauce languishing in the refrigerator long after the last bite of turkey has been consumed. Meet the pie that solves my problem. Based on fregolotta, a classic Italian jam tart, this slab pie is quick to put together, even if Thanksgiving cooking has been going on long enough.
Heat the oven to 350°F; if you have one, place a baking stone, Baking Steel, or inverted baking sheet on the center rack to heat.
Using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or strong wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar together until lightened and fluffy. Add the eggs yolks one at a time and beat until fully incorporated. Mix in the extract. Add the flour and salt and mix on a low speed until a crumbly dough is formed.
Divide the dough into two portions, one twice as large as the other. Wrap the smaller portion in plastic wrap and chill while assembling the rest of the pie.
Turn out the larger portion of the dough into the slab pie pan and, pinching off walnut-sized pieces, press the crust into the sides, corners, and edges and across the bottom of the pan. Use your knuckles, the side of your hand, a metal cup measure, or a flat-bottomed glass to press the crust firmly and as uniformly as possible to about a 1⁄4-inch thickness.
Spoon the cranberry sauce across the bottom crust. Smooth with an offset spatula. Scatter the raspberries over the cranberries and sprinkle with the sugar. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and pinch off small pieces, scattering the nubbins across the top of the filling. Top with the almonds.
Bake (on top of the steel, stone, or baking sheet if using) until the almonds appear toasted and the crumble is slightly browned, 50 to 55 minutes. Place on a rack to cool slightly before portioning. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Swaps: Make a sauce out of strawberries instead of cranberries. Top with diced rhubarb, gooseberries, or fresh currants.
My Cranberry Sauce
Combine the sugar, pomegranate juice, and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the zest and cranberries. Cook at a quick boil, stirring often and warily to avoid hot sugary splatters, until most of the berries have burst, 16 to 18 minutes. The sauce will firm up as it cools. Once cool to the touch, fill a jar, cover, and refrigerate for no more than a month.
I’ve never thought cranberries needed much coaxing with sugar or other additions, so this recipe keeps those precious berries front and center in a tart sauce. If you prefer a sweeter condiment, add 1/4 cup additional sugar.