For many years Apple Cranberry Pie has been one of our favorite holiday pies. Regardless of whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, this pie nearly always ends up on the menu. It’s a recipe that I’ve been using since I picked up the 1988 edition of Southern Living’s Annual Cookbook. The original recipe included apples, cranberries and blackberries, however over the years after trying different berry combinations, my family preferred the apple and cranberry filling best. In October during apple season I tend to pick up a variety of apples to make pie filling to put up in the freezer. I also keep frozen cranberries on hand to use just in case I can’t find fresh. I’ve found that pie filling maintains best when vacuum sealed and will keep in the freezer for up to 2 month’s which makes pie making so much easier. This year I made enough filling for 2 pies. Whenever I bite into a slice of pie it becomes my favorite at that moment. I’m a pie fanatic and although no one would ever say my pies are pretty, I’ve never had a complaint about how they taste.
This pie filling includes 4 cups of sliced apples. I have an apple peeler that make preparing the apples much easier than peeling by hand.
I would recommend investing in an apple peeler if you peel a lot of apples. This inexpensive gadget will peel, core and slice apples in a quick and efficient way. Afterwards all you need to do is cut through the middle leaving perfectly sliced apples ready to use for your pie. To keep the apples fresh spritz with lemon juice.
When you have your 4 cups of apples prepared, add in 2 cups of cranberries, sugar, cornstarch and cranberry juice. Stir all the ingredients together. You can use the pie filling now or freeze up to 2 month’s.
The pie crust I made is from Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Dough Recipe. Once I tried this recipe I’ve never gone back. It’s easier to work with and has a flaky texture that tastes so good. In a food processor, add 1 1/2 cups of flour along with your sugar and salt. Pulse a few turns to mix these dry ingredients together.
Add the chilled butter and shortening that have been cut into small cubes. Pulse several times until it resembles cottage cheese with small pebble sized bits of butter and shortening.
Add the remaining cup of flour.
Process the mixture until it is evenly distributed.
Here is the secret ingredient that makes this pie crust so easy to work with and gives it that flaky and tender crust. Vodka and ice water work wonderfully to bind this crust together.
Sprinkle vodka and water, a little bit at a time over the mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix and fold until the dough becomes slightly tacky and will stick together when pressed between your fingers.
The vodka makes this dough easier to mold and work with. Mold the dough into two even balls.
Flatten the dough into disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill dough for 45 minutes or up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to make the pie, let the refrigerated dough sit out to room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes. Generously sprinkle flour over your work surface. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/16 inch thickness to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Press the dough into the center and around the sides.
Roll out the second disk of dough that will top the pie. I used a cookie cutter to cut out little apples but you can roll it out and then make slits to vent the pie if you wish.
I’ve thawed my frozen apple cranberry pie filling and it’s ready to go.
Drain the excess liquid from the pie filling, then pour the filling into the bottom pie shell.
Before you place the top pie crust on top, dot the pie with about 2 tablespoons of butter that has been sliced thin. Trim the edges and press the two pie crusts together and pinch together.
If you want add the little apple cutouts onto the top crust. Just press them on top gently so that they will adhere to the crust.
Brush egg wash over the top crust and around the edges.
I sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top of the pie crust for some added texture and sweetness. This is optional.
Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. I placed aluminum foil around the edges of the crust and removed it 10 minutes before the pie was done.
Let pie cool before slicing.
Apple Cranberry Pie
Pie Crust Dough for 2 crusts (Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Dough), recipe follows
4 cups Apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Honey Crisp Apples)
2 cups Cranberries
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
2 tablespoons Cranberry Juice
2 tablespoons Butter, sliced thin to dot pie
Spritz of Lemon
Egg Wash, whisk together 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water
Turbinado Sugar, optional to sprinkle over pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
To make pie dough: Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no un-coated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
To make Pie Filling: Peel, core and slice apples. Place 4 cups of sliced apples in a large bowl and spritz with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add 2 cups of cranberries, fresh or frozen. Combine sugar and cornstarch, sprinkle over fruit and drizzle cranberry juice over sugar mixture. Gently toss the mixture together. If freezing, spoon all contents into a freezer zip lock bag or vacuum seal. Freeze up to 2 month’s.
To assemble and bake pie: If pie filling has been previously frozen, thaw completely and drain excess liquid. Prepare pie dough by rolling out one disk of the pie dough to approximately 1/16 inch thickness. Press dough into pie plate over the bottom and around the edges. Scoop the pie filling into the pie plate and dot with thin butter slices. Roll out the remaining dough. Trim to just over 9 inches and lay over the the pie filling. Trim the pastry, seal and flute the edges. Make slits in top crust to let steam escape. Brush egg wash over the top crust and around the edges. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired. Wrap aluminum foil around the outer edges of the crust so that they don’t brown too quickly. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove the aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of bake time. Cool before slicing. Makes one 9 inch pie.