Cranberry Apple Pie

Welcome back to pie season! In the last couple of weeks I’ve posted my go-to Cream Cheese Pie Dough, a Pumpkin Pie that is super light and fluffy thanks to the addition of whipped egg whites, and a showstopper Black Bottom Pear & Almond Pie. Yum! Make sure to check them out while you’re writing your Thanksgiving menu! Today, I’m bringing you a pie that is sweet and tart thanks to a mixture of apples and juicy fresh cranberries. Apples, cranberries, orange, and spices? Sign. me. up.

This recipe starts out like most do, by rolling out pie dough. Fit it in a pie plate, and trim the edges to 1-inch. Since this is a double crust pie, we need extra long edges for a good crimp. Put the bottom crust in the fridge to chill while we make the filling.


  

Peel some apples. In this pie, I used two Granny Smith, two Honey Crisp, and one Golden Delicious. In a regular apple pie, I’d use more tart apples (like Granny Smith), than sweet, but as we’re adding all those tart cranberries, I figured it was better to go sweet. Dice the apples into 1/2-inch pieces and set them in a large mixing bowl. In a traditional apple pie, I would slice the apples, but here I recommend chunking them so that they are similar in size and shape to the cranberries–this promotes even baking. Rinse some fresh cranberries and pick over them to remove any that aren’t in great shape. Place the cranberries in the bowl with the apples. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and arrowroot powder. I use arrowroot powder as the thickener in my fruit pies, but if you don’t have any, use an equal volume of cornstarch or instant tapioca. Zest and juice an orange. Pour your sugar and spice mixture, orange zest and juice into the bowl with the apples and cranberries. Use your clean hands to toss everything together.

Let the filling sit at room temperature for thirty minutes to release some excess liquid. If we put the filling into the crust without letting some of the liquid drain off, our filling will seep out of the crust while the pie bakes and bake/burn itself onto the bottom of the oven. No thank you! Also, our filling will shrink down below the top crust, leaving a huge gap between the top crust and the bottom. Again, no thank you! So, once the filling has sat for a while, drain off the excess liquid (there will be a lot!) before putting the filling in the prepared bottom crust. Dot the filling with butter (I forgot and had to dot with butter after the top crust was on 😁). Put the filled pie plate back in the refrigerator and roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust dough to a 12-inch diameter. From here, you can either place the whole crust over the top of the pie or get a little fancier. For a full top crust, lay the rolled dough over the filling, trim and crimp the edges, and cut a few vents (lest you have an exploding pie) before proceeding. If you want to do something a little more exciting, cut your dough into 1/2-inch strips. Lattice crusts are classic and simple to weave. Deb Perelman has written a great tutorial, if that’s the route you’d like to take.


I have been into braided top crusts lately. To achieve a braided top, take three strips at a time and lay them on a floured surface. Gently (very gently) braid the strips together. Set the finished braids aside while you complete the rest of them (I made five). Lay the braids (or the lattice) on top of the pie and trim the ends.


  

Remember those extra long edges we left on the bottom crust? Fold them in toward the filling, effectively enveloping the ends of your decorative top crust. Once this is finished, crimp the edges and brush the exposed crust with cream before sprinkling with additional sugar. Put the pie in the fridge while you preheat the oven. Bake the pie for 45 minutes to an hour, until the apples are tender, the cranberries are bursting, and the crust is golden brown. If the crust starts to get too dark during baking, loosely tent it in foil.

Let the pie cool for at least four hours before slicing and serving. I know warm pie is tempting, but the pie needs to be room temperature or cold to slice nicely. Each slice can be quickly warmed in the microwave, if you’re not into cold pie. I don’t know about you, but I am into pie at any temperature.

Cranberry Apple Pie is fantastic with whipped cream. Or a la mode. Or with caramel sauce. Or with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Or plain. Or with yogurt for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. What?! There’s fruit in there! It’s totally breakfast-appropriate. Trust me.

Cranberry Apple Pie
makes one 9″ pie

1 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough*
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5 cups peeled, diced apples (1/2-inch dice)*
1 cup fresh cranberries
juice and zest of one large orange
3-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Cream or milk, for brushing

On a floured surface, roll 1 disc of cream cheese pie dough so that it is 12 inches in diameter. Fit it in a standard pie plate, and trim the overhang to 1 inch. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, spices, salt, and arrowroot powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples and fresh cranberries. Toss with sugar/spice mixture and orange juice and zest. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about thirty minutes to release excess liquid. When the time is up, dispose of the excess liquid. Transfer the filling to the bottom pie crust. Dot with butter and refrigerate.

Roll out the second crust to a 12-inch diameter. Slice the dough into 1/2-inch thick strips. Lay them on the top of the pie in a decorative pattern.* Fold the bottom crust overhang over the ends of your strips so that the edges are about 1/2 inch all the way around. Crimp the edges. Brush the exposed crust with milk or cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate the pie while the oven preheats.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the pie on the top rack and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the cranberries are bursting, the apples are tender, and the crust is cooked. If the top crust starts to get too dark at any point, loosely cover the top of the pie with foil for the remainder of the baking time.

Let pie cool on a rack for at least three hours before slicing and serving. Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Notes:

1. I prefer my Cream Cheese Pie Dough, but any good pie crust will do.
2. I use a combination of sweet and tart apples, the majority being sweet. I recommend Honey Crisp, Macintosh, or Golden Delicious for the sweet variety, and Granny Smith for the tart. See more information on baking apples here.
3. If you do not have or do not want to use arrowroot powder, I recommend an equal volume of cornstarch or instant tapioca. Looking for arrowroot in Brooklyn? Take a trip to Sahadi’s.
4. I have linked to a lattice top tutorial in the content above. If you would like to braid your crust, braid three strips at a time and lay them over the filling before proceeding. 

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