Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cranberry Apple Pie | A Three-Time, First-Place Winning Pie with a holiday twist!

Remember the unsinkable Molly Brown from the Titanic??

Please let me introduce you to the "unbeatable" --unsinkable apple pie.
This pie has a perfect winning record (so far... )

This apple pie has never lost a competition, not once.
Every time it is entered, it wins... first place, no less.  

I don't have too many recipes that can make that claim.
Perhaps I may be jinxing the discussing it's rare 1st place record... a giant iceberg... 

...but I think the proof is in the winning...and you can't dispute the wins this pie has had....and it even won transformed into an apple dumpling.


This Cranberry Apple pie is a great alternative or addition to your Thanksgiving dessert menu. 
From: Karri Perry of Blue Ribbon Kitchen Blog |

Pie Dough
2 ½ cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup butter flavored Crisco
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup ice cold water and ¼ cup vodka mixed 50/50
Once made, divide dough into two equal parts.  Wrap dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour, up to 2 days in the refrigerator. 

Egg wash
1 egg – beaten
 2 TBS water
1 TBS cream or whole milk

Crumb Topping
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½  cup unsalted butter-softened
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½  tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt

2-3 medium golden Delicious apples-peeled and sliced
2-3 medium Gala apples-peeled and sliced
1 Honey Crisp apple-peeled and sliced
½ cup rinsed and roughly chopped fresh cranberries
3 Tablespoons Arrowroot (Available in baking aisle of most grocery stores and online)
1 tsp cinnamon
½  tsp nutmeg
¼  tsp cardamom
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp butter
(Lemon water, 2 cups cool water with 1-2 tsp of fresh lemon juice to keep apples from turning brown)

Making the Pie Dough:
Using a food processor, pulse ingredients; add just enough liquid to the mixture to allow the dough to come together.  If you have leftover water/vodka, discard the extra.  (A pastry blender can also be used to make the dough by hand)

Once made, divide dough into two equal parts.  Tightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour, up to 2 days in the refrigerator. 

Making the Pie:
Combine the crumb-topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. 

Combine the pie filling dry ingredients (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, arrowroot, and sugar) set aside. 

Peel, core, and slice apples approximately ¼ inch thick. Cover with lemon water and set aside. 

Roll out one of the chilled and rested pie dough rounds to ¼ inch thick and place in an 8 or 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving about ½ inch overhang, crimp edges. Place the prepared unbaked pie shell in refrigerator to chill.

Roll the second dough round ¼ inch thick.
Use decorative cutters or leaf-shaped 1-2 inch cookie cutters to make leaf shapes for top crust.  For an 8 to 9-inch pie, 25-35 small leaf shapes will be used to cover the top of the pie. Lay the dough cut-outs onto a large (12 inch) dinner plate, brush with egg wash and set in freezer until ready to top the pie.  

Drain apples well. Mix the dry pie filling ingredients with apples, add the cranberries and fill the chilled prepared pie shell. Fill the pie plate 1 to 2 inches above the rim of the pie plate, forming a slight dome with the apples.  Next, dot the apples and cranberries with 2 tbsp of butter. 

Cover the apples with an even layer of the prepared crumb topping.   Next, begin placing the pie dough leaf cut-outs as desired, slightly overlapping each cut out.

Bake the pie in preheated 375-degree oven on the lowest oven rack for 60 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

During baking, check the pie after 30 minutes, covering the edges of the pie with foil or use a pie crust shield to prevent crust from over-browning. 

TIP: A "Pie Drip Catcher"-from Chicago Metallic is a huge help in catching drips from pies.  I would not bake a pie without one... or consider using a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and place on the bottom rack.  (Available for purchase online)

Need Pie Crust Help?? 

Just click on the link below for a full photo tutorial: 

Make the pie dough.  

TIP: Remember to keep the dough cool and chilled at all times.  If you are busy making the pie filling, make sure your prepared pie crust is in the refrigerator or the freezer "chilling"... and not on the counter getting warm and oily...
Prepare the filling.
Fill the pie. 

TIP: Before adding dry ingredients, mix the sugar, the spices and the thickener together in a separate bowl, then pour the entire combined dry mixture over the apples. -- This way the spices and thickener are evenly distributed --and it's easier to coat the apples, by stirring just one time, rather than multiple times.
Prepare the crumb topping.
Top the apples, and apply the top crust or decorative pie dough cut-outs.
TIP: Remember to egg wash and freeze pie dough cut-outs on a dinner plate.  


 Egg washing the cut-outs after you have neatly arranged the top of the pie...
 can be an utter disaster...

No matter how delicately you try to brush the cut-outs, they will move, slide and shift all over the top of the pie. 

By egg washing the pie dough cut-outs while they are on a dinner plate-- you do two things... First, the dinner plate is about the size of the top of your pie -- so you'll be pretty close on having the right number of cut-outs to cover your pie as long as you fill the plate with cut-outs. (you can always make a few extra if you are nervous you won't have enough -- but the plate trick is usually right on.) 

Secondly, by egg washing the cut-outs on the plate before you need them and then freezing them, the cut-outs will need no additional egg washing.  --When you place the cut-outs on top of the pie, they are all ready to go.  Added bonus, the frozen egg washed cut-outs are much less messy, not drippy at all and therefore, easy to keep in place.

Don't go crazy with the egg wash -- a gentle coating (as seen in the above photo) is perfect. By not soaking your cut-outs in egg wash, most of the dough cut-outs will easily lift off the plate. If they tend to stick, use an off-set spatula to gently remove them from the plate--or even better, lay a piece of parchment on the plate first... before you get started.
Lay the pie cut-outs like shingles, slightly overlapping, starting from the edge of the pie and working toward the top to get the leaf look.
--Or just lay them out nicely to create your own unique and beautiful pie top.
BEST TIP of the DAY:  Before you put all that hard work and artistry into the hot sure to give the pie one last chill.  Pop the pie into the freezer or refrigerator for 5-10 minutes... this lets the dough firm up --before it gets baked.  
Cold pie dough going into a preheated hot oven = GREAT.  
Warm or soft pie dough going into a preheated hot oven = BAD.
Tomorrow...pie garnishes!!  So cute!  Not to be missed...More about chocolate turkeys, leaves and monogrammed pie crust add-ons!

The Scoop via Stone Gable
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style


  1. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it for Thanksgiving Dinner and it was really something special!! I'm interested to know what kind/brand of cutter you used for your decorative leaves on the top crust?

    1. Hi Jana!! How fabulous...I'm so happy it turned out for your Thanksgiving!! My pie crust cutters are from Williams-Sonoma. They sell them seasonally to match the holidays... right now you might be able to get a fall/autumn set on sale since Turkey Day is now over. I've purchased a set or two from ebay as well...(retired sets) You can find pie crust cutters in the baking sections sometimes of Joann's, Michael's and even once I saw some at WalMart.... the cutters worked fine..the William-Sonoma ones seem to be a little higher quality...and they do coast a little more...but my "off brands" worked too!! I hope you get a set!!
      Thanks for writing, Karri

  2. hi :) i am going to try your recipe today and i was wondering if you can use one kind of apple cause we have a apple tree though im not sure what kind it is. they are a little tart and im using the last of our harvest to make both a cranberry apple and an apple


  3. and also could i add some brown sugar too?

    1. My favorite apple (currently) for baking in a pie is a Braeburn apple. I think the key to a great apple pie is using fresh apples that smell and taste like "apple"...I also like to mix apple varieties to create a depth of apple flavor. I'm not sure if your apples are good for baking...some are and some are better for eating or for apple sauce-depending on how they break down when heated... but It's probably worth a try to find out!! You could add brown sugar if you wished, I would simply cut back on the amount of granulated sugar in that case--so you don't end up with too much sugar and an overly sweet pie... Best of luck with your pie!!

  4. Gathering recipes for Thanksgiving this year... I was wondering if it is possible to make this pie one week before Thanksgiving and freeze it and then bake it the day before Thanksgiving? Thank you.

    1. Hi Sandy! That is a great question... I know that you can absolutely make the pie dough ahead, and even fill the pie plate and have all the leaves cut out ahead (just be sure to cover with wrap so that the dough does not pick up freezer flavors or get dried out...) You can pre-measure the sugar and thickener... But as far as freezing the whole unbaked apple pie, I am not sure... I worry that the apples might get spongy after being frozen...and the bake time would be significantly longer...therefore affecting the pie crust... My best advice for working ahead is do all the parts of the pie ahead of time, like making the dough and freezing the leaf- shapes... Pies are best when made a day ahead and allowed to cool fully... So make your apple pie the afternoon or evening before Thanksgiving, but make it with fresh cut apples and cranberries. I think the final product with be beautiful and there won't be any unknowns from having frozen it... That's my best advice--since I have not tested freezing a whole pie... If you really want a make-ahead dessert-- my spiced pumpkin cake is super easy and can be in the fridge for up to two days chilling...while you work on other holiday matters... It's a great cake--so easy and a big winner. All the best in your holiday baking efforts!! Happy Thanksgiving!! Link to the Pumpkin Cake:

    2. Thank you, Karri. I will definitely make the pie dough ahead of time. Trying to plan now for managing time, to make it as stress free as possible. I will definitely check out your spiced pumpkin cake! Thanks again.

  5. Hi there!

    What pie dish did you use for this? Shallow or deep??

    1. Hi Kaley, I use clear glass Pyrex pie plates... I like the vintage ones... I get them from thrift stores for almost nothing!! The pie plate was probably a 9 inch... You could use a deep dish if you needed to... but I almost always use a standard pie plate.

  6. Hi there, just wanted to let you know that I entered this pie in a baking contest and won first place! Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. Hi there, just wanted to let you know that I entered your pie in a contest last weekend and won first place out of 14 entries! Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Yay!!!! Congratulations!!! Way to bake that pie. I'm so happy to hear you had success with this recipe!! That's really wonderful!! Thanks for taking the time to let me know, I LOVE to hear all about those wins!!



  8. Mine won first place too!!! It is my a must have now at every Thanksgiving, Im not allowed to make anything else.l LOL. Thanks for the great recipe!