Apple Cranberry Pie is a perfect fall baked good and makes a wonderful addition to a Thanksgiving dessert buffet table. This pie has a perfect combination of warm spiced apples with a tart punch from the cranberries. My first memory of eating a cranberry and loving it, was from my childhood where we went on a family vacation out East to the Ocean Spray factory and getting to taste all their products.
Bakers tips for Apple Cranberry Pie:
Use a blend of apples:
Use a variety of apples. I use a mix of Jonagold, Jonathan and Granny Smith since they blend well together for a tart and sweet pie. Use whole, fresh cranberries which are plentiful in the grocery store this time of year. Frozen cranberries work too, just don’t thaw them out before adding to the pie filling or they will make the pie mushy.
The right tools save time:
To save time, you can use a commercial apple peeler/corer/slicer. I’ve used the Pampered Chef version which is fast and simple to use, however it yields spiral, thin slices. If your looking for more diced, chunky filling, then cut with a paring knife.
Ceramic pie plates create better crust:
I bake my pies in vintage ceramic pie plates which conduct slow, even heat. You can usually find a vintage pie dish at your local antique store, howeer, there are several modern brands like LeCruset or Emile Henry.
Do-it-yourself apple pie spice:
Many recipes call for apple pie spice which you can purchase in stores. I prefer to make my own, a bolder version with a higher ratio of warm spices (nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and allspice) to cinnamon.
Prep the dough for a perfect crust:
Always dust your raw crust with a thickening agent (this can be cornstarch, tapioca starch or clear jel) and then brush with egg wash (1 egg+1 T. cream) prior to pouring in the filling. This prevents a soggy pie crust. To avoid a tough crust, add vinegar or vodka to prevent excess gluten from forming.
Work quick/keep things cold:
Use frozen butter and dice into small cubes and put right back into the freezer if your not making the dough right away. Chill water with some ice cubes before using. After you roll out the crust, place it in fridge to ensure the crust from shrinking. Also be sure to place the assembled pie in the fridge for about 15 minutes prior to baking, so it goes cold into a nice hot oven.
Begin baking at high heat, then reduce temp:
Start with a hot oven to keep the shape of crust and then reduce oven temperature and cover with foil or pie protector to ensure filling is cooked through but that the crust doesn’t burn. Watch to see when pie starts to bubble, then let it bake 5 more minutes.
Apple Cranberry Pie
- 2 c. unbleached flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 12 T. unsalted butter ice cold
- 1 T. white vinegar or vodka
- 1/3 c. ice cold water
- 5 c. apples peeled/cored/cut
- 3 c. cranberries
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 2 T. clear jel or tapioca starch
- 2 T. orange zest
- 2 T. orange juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. Apple Spice Blend
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 T. unsalted butter small dice
- Place dry ingredients in mixer, add cold butter and pulse until crumbly. Pour into a separate bowl, add liquid and hand mix with pastry blender until just combined.
- Pour onto parchment paper and roll into (2) 8" round disks. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
- Take out one of the pie disks and roll out on lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Use a pastry cutter to cut into 10 (1") strips. Place strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put back in fridge until ready to use.
- Use up leftover dough and cut out decorative shapes with pie or mini cookie cutters and place in fridge until ready to bake.
- In a separate bowl, mix together filling ingredients and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Roll out the other pie dough disk on lightly floured surface about 1" larger than your pie plate. Place in pie pan and dust bottom of crust with thickening agent (clear jel or tapioca) and then brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg+1 T. cream).
- Pour in filling, top with diced butter and place the pre-cut pastry strips into a lattice pattern.
- Place decorative cut-out pieces with a dab of egg wash. Brush lattice with egg wash and sprinkle with course sanding sugar. Place assembled pie in fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
- Bake pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 degrees, cover with foil placed with a pie protector over the foil and bake an additional 45-50 minutes. Watch to see when pie starts to bubble, then let it bake 5 more minutes.