Sunday, December 19, 2010

Apple Cranberry Pie

Winter Solstice is officially taking place on Tuesday the 21st but, seeing as how it is the weekend, the party at Sekhet-Ma'at Lodge will be held tonight. We will all be gathering for a ritual celebration followed by a pot luck feast. This means I'm going to have to cook something and, after waking with a slight hangover from last nights birthday festivities, food was not exactly high on my list.

By this afternoon, however, I was feeling much better and that's when I got the inspiration to bake a pie for the party. Reviewing what I had on hand, I decided to make an apple pie. I remembered that I had some cranberries stored in the freezer and opted to throw them in as well.

I started by making my favorite pie crust, a recipe I got from America's Test Kitchen for all butter crust. It always comes out wonderfully flaky and delicious so I've never felt the need to make a different crust. Here is the double crust recipe.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together:
1/3 c ice water
3 T sour cream (I always use plain yogurt)
Set this mixture aside. In a food processor combine:
2-1/2 c flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt
Pulse to mix and then add:
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen for 10-15 minutes
Pulse several times until texture looks crumbly. Add the water/yogurt mixture and continue to pulse. You may have to add a tablespoon of ice water though I usually don't. The crust should not be over-mixed or over-handled. It is done when you pinch a small amount and it sticks together. When it is done, pour it out of the processor bowl onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gently press the dough together into a flat disc, wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Once the dough has cooled down a bit, remove it from the fridge and split it into 2 batches. Roll out one half into a disc about 10 inches across and carefully place it into the pie dish. Roll the other half out into a 9 inch disc and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover both halves with plastic and return them to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

As I mentioned, this crust is incredibly flaky and tender. If you were using it for a prebaked pie crust, you would bake it at this point. Since I'm not doing that, I put it back in the fridge so the butter could harden back up.

Making the pie filling is simple enough. Once the crusts are back in the fridge, peel, core and slice:
8-10 medium apples
Granny Smith are always best for pie but I did not have any. Instead I used Fujis and a couple of Cameos. Place the apples in a large bowl. Add in:
1 c fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 T orange juice
Combine and set aside. This is a good time to get your oven warming. Place the oven rack on the lowest setting, put an insulated cookie sheet on the rack and set the temperature to 500°. (Be careful using non-insulated cookie sheets as they may cause the bottom of the pie to burn.) In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together:
1 c sugar
2 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t ground clove
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
Add the above ingredients to the apples and combine until the fruit is well coated. Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator. Carefully transfer the fruit into the bottom crust, mounding the fruit to get all of it into the dish. After the apples cook and cool, they will shrink a bit. Cover the apples with the top crust, rolling it out a little more if needed. Pinch the edges of the crust together and, if you like, make a decorative edge by either scalloping the dough with your fingers or pressing down on the dough with a fork around the edge of the dish. Brush the top of the crust with:
1 egg white, lightly whipped
Make a few slits in the top of the crust to allow for venting. Place the pie on the hot cookie sheet and reduce the temperature to 425°. Bake the pie for 25 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet, reduce the temperature to 375° and bake for another 30-35 minutes. Allow the pie to completely cool before cutting.

The pie, as you can see from the picture, came out wonderfully! The crust was crispy (as the butter crusts always are) and the cranberries added a delightful dimension to a classic favorite. The comments from the party-goers seemed to agree. This is quite definitely a pie I will make again. And again.

A Happy Solstice to you, one and all!


  1. Is there a link to the crust recipe? I need a good one, but for some reason I am not seeing the link...

  2. There is no link. The recipe is included in the post.
    "...Here is the double crust recipe.
    "In a small mixing bowl, whisk together..."

  3. Oh my, what a lovely pie! The crust looks fantastic, and the pairing of apples and cranberries sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing :)