Friday, December 24, 2010

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Apple pie is my husband's favorite, and I wanted to try this apple pie with a twist--a cranberry twist. I got the idea for putting the cranberry on the bottom instead of mixing it through the pie from one of my Cooks Illustrated magazines (but I can't remember which one). The guy went through a zillion iterations trying to construct the perfect cranberry-apple pie, and the thing I remember most was that he decided he got the best flavor balance by putting the cranberry on the bottom.

This pie was so delicious. The thin layer of cranberry was the perfect compliment to the sweet, cinnamony apples on top. I used my regular apple pie recipe and a basic homemade cranberry sauce, but I'm sure you could use canned whole-berry sauce that you've crushed up. In fact, this pie is a great way to use up part of the cranberry sauce people always seem to need on their holiday table, but never eat much of.

And the topping....let's not forget about the topping. It was pure crumbly deliciousness. You could make this with a regular pie-crust top, but the crumb top is our favorite.

Note: you'll notice that I use a refrigerated pie crust. No apologies. I can make my own pie crust, but I think the Pillsbury pie crust is just as good (don't use a store brand--blech). If you have a scratch pie crust you love, by all means use that.

Cranberry-Apple Pie
printable recipe

1 pie crust from 13.8 oz pkg, softened according to package directions

for the apple mixture
8 medium apples, about 3 lbs (I like half Gala, half Granny Smith)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

3/4 cup fresh cranberry sauce (from recipe below)
**If you're using canned, whole berry sauce, crush the berries well with a fork or potato masher.

for the topping
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Line a pie plate with the crust, crimp the edges under, and put it in the fridge while you prepare the apple filling.

2. Core, peel, and slice the apples very thin, then cut the slices into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces. (I use an apple corer-slicer tool to this this; it peels, cores, and slices the apples easy and fast. I only use it a few times a year, but it's worth it's weight in gold.)

3. In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt, and toss gently to mix well.

4. Spread the cranberry sauce on the bottom of the pie crust. Spoon the apple mixture on top of the cranberry. I actually use my hands to do this because it's easier to get the apples packed in well.

5. In a medium bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients and mix well. Pick up a handful, squeeze it together in your hand to make a solid mass, and crumble it over the pie (I like to leave most of the pieces big). Repeat with the remaining topping.

6. Adjust your oven racks to the two lowest positions, and put a piece of foil on the lowest rack to catch any drips; heat your oven to 425.

7. Put the pie on the top-most rack and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the apples are tender with pierced with a sharp knife and the topping is browned. If the topping gets brown before the pie is done, cover it with a piece of foil while the pie finishes. Cool completely before serving.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Basic Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1 12-oz package fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 minutes (the berries should be very soft and some will have burst). Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Use a potato masher or fork to crush the berries. Cool completely and store in the fridge.

Makes about 2 cups cranberry sauce.


  1. Making my mouth water, I love this kind of pie and now I want to make one but first I have to try the Blender Cheese Cake I found on another site! Thanks for the recipes!

  2. @shirlene, Thanks for your comment :) My sister makes her cheesecakes by mixing the ingredients in her food processor, so I bet your blender cheesecake will be awesome! :)

  3. sounds fantastic!!

  4. Great Pie! May I offer a simple crust recipe? This doesn't need to be rolled out, and can be mixed up right in the pie plate:
    1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil (I always use olive - and you can't tell by the flavour)
    2 tbsp cold water

    Browning doesn't work the same for this crust as others since the only fat is olive oil. The trick is to hardly mix it at all. It doesn't hold as well together for tops (because of a lack of developed gluten), but it is super easy to patch any holes. If minimally handled, this crust is nice and flaky!! And really healthy to boot.


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