This is the time of year I always try to do too much. In reality, we all know a day is only 24 hours, but in my head I seem to think each one is actually 48! And so, as I try to fit 48 hours-worth of tasks into 24 hours, I end up rushing and frazzled and somehow disappointed in myself.
And every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, I swear that I'm going to make things ahead of time so I can enjoy the holiday. But I'm always just plain busy, and so my make-believe Sunday where I get to spend the afternoon listening to records and baking “when I have the time” is a total figment of my imagination.
I'm excited about this challenge because (1) it's something I always mean to do—make dishes ahead of time, and (2) it's something that might actually happen because it takes only 20 minutes!
Scratch cooking in 20 minutes is difficult, so I needed to familiarize myself with the store-bought ingredients needed to make one of my all time favorite Thanksgiving dishes—my Grammy’s cranberry salad.
Also, salad is a VERY, VERY loose term here!
To update the recipe a little, I used a fresh pineapple and seared it off to caramelize the sugars on the outside (however, it would be fine to use canned pineapple to keep the recipe simpler!). This turns out to be the only actual cooking in the recipe.
As for the canned cranberry sauce, I went with the “whole berry” version.
And once you've handled those two ingredients, you're already ⅓ of the way through the recipe!
Next, stir in the coconut (you could toast it beforehand, but only if you want to—I didn’t).
When you're finished with that, fold in the whipped topping...
A splash of vanilla or orange extract would be a nice addition here!
Mix, mix, mix, then pour the mixture into a prepared graham cracker shell.
I used a regular crust, but I think the deep dish version would actually be a better fit for all of the filling.
Smooth out the mixture, then cover it gently with plastic wrap and freeze it until it's solid—at least four hours.
The great news is that you can actually make this two weeks ahead of time, and your active “cooking” time is literally under 20 minutes. It's also light, tangy, and delicious.
I made the recipe for a friend's (Sole!) birthday and it was devoured before I could snap a photo. And the pie pictured here is literally going to Friendsgiving so I can’t show you an individual slice…
See?! This challenge really helped me. Typing up the recipe, I am smiling knowing there is a delicious Thanksgiving pie all ready to go in my freezer!
Cranberry Pineapple Freezer Pie
servings: 1 pie
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 5 fresh pineapple rings (about 1 cup)
- One 14-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- One 8-ounce tub cool whip, thawed
- 1 prepared graham cracker crust, deep dish
- Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange the pineapple in a single layer and sear it until it is dark golden brown—about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Remove the pineapple from the skillet, then remove its core from its center and discard it. Roughly chop the pineapple, then transfer it to a large bowl.
- Add the cranberry sauce to the bowl and stir to combine all ingredients, then add the coconut flakes and stir until they are evenly distributed. Fold in the whipped topping.
- Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and smooth until the filling is to the top of the crust. Wrap with plastic wrap and store in the freezer until frozen solid—at least 4 hours.
- If you are going to store frozen for longer than a couple of days, make sure to wrap the pie tightly in the plastic wrap after it's frozen solid. This will prevent freezer burn and keep the pie tasting fresh.