The season of pie is upon us and I am here. for. it.
Growing up I was never much of a cake person, especially birthday party cakes (you know the ones I’m talking about… bright colors from the grocery store with insanely sweet icing) and pretty much always opted for either ice cream cakes or pie for my birthdays and other celebrations. This love for pie eventually led to me starting up a little pie business of my own in high school. “Puddy’s Pies”, as it was called, did quite well, especially during the holiday season and I raked up quite a bit of cash over the years (notably my parents bought all the ingredients so it was basically 100% profit). I had a website and ads in the school newspaper. It was a thing. But I digress, let us continue to this pie season and this particular pie, a Spiced Apple Cranberry version that screams the holidays and is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
Fruit pies are actually some of the easiest pies to make as they only really require you prepping the fruit, mixing it with sugar, spices and some sort of thickening agent (I use cornstarch in this recipe) and then pouring into a pastry shell and baking.
The area where I feel like most people get anxious is in making of the pie crust. Now, you can totally use a store bought pie crust for this recipe and I will not judge you for it. BUT if you have the time and willingness to go for the homemade version I can assure you it is worth it. I’ve linked my recipe for a double crust pie dough below. I use a combo of butter and shortening for a crust that is both flavorful and flaky. When it comes to pie crust my main words of advice are: keep it cold; work quickly; and do not overthink it (it’s just pie dough after all).
One last thing, don’t get too caught up in making the crust look absolutely perfect. I like a nice simple lattice for this pie (instructions in recipe below) and I did decide to go a little fancier than usual and braid some of my extra dough to lay on top. But ultimately no one cares what your crust looks like as long as the pie tastes delicious, and I can assure this one does. Enjoy!
Spiced Apple Cranberry Pie
- 9 inch pie pan
- mixing bowl
- pastry brush
- Rolling Pin
- 1 double crust pastry dough, homemade or store bought my recipe for double crust flaky pastry is linked above
- 4 apples, peeled and sliced to 1/4th inch thickness I recommend honeycrisp apples
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1-2 tbsp butter, diced into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp milk preferably whole milk
- sugar for sprinkling
- flour for dusting
- Prepare the pie dough. Divide into 2 equal pieces and wrap with cling film. Set in the fridge to chill.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl combine apples, cranberries, orange zest and juice, spices, 3/4th cup sugar, vanilla extract and cornstarch. Allow the mixture to set while oven preheats.
- Take one half of the pie dough out of the fridge. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out to the size of the pie dish. Transfer your pie dough onto the dish and carefully and gently press to form.
- Place the dish back into the fridge to chill and take out your second piece of dough.
- Once again, dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out to about 1/4th inch thickness to prepare your lattice. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut your dough into about 8 strips, approximately 1 inch in width.*Note* This does not have to be perfect, so just eyeball it.
- Remove your pie dish with dough from the fridge and using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit filling into the pie crust. There will be excess liquid at the bottom of the mixing bowl, you will simply want to discard this. Do NOT pour it into the pie crust as it will make your pie soggy.
- Dot the top of the pie with 1-2 tbsp of cold, diced butter.
- Make a lattice on your pie by first taking 4 strips of dough and laying them on the top of the pie, leaving small gaps in between.
- To weave your lattice, pull back every other strip and place a new strip of pie dough perpendicular to the strips you have already laid. Replace the strips you folded over and repeat the process, alternating folded strips, until the pie is covered.
- *Option* If you have extra dough and want to attempt to braid the crust simply roll the dough out then divide into 3-4 sections. Cut each section into 3 strips, leaving a small attachment at the top for ease of tranfer. Braid the 3 strips as you would hair and press together at the end to seal. Repeat the process with the remaining sections. Gently lift one section at a time and carefully press onto the outer lining of the crust. Repeat until the crust is covered.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg with 1-2 tbsp of milk. Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash to all visible parts of the dough. Generously sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake pie in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, turn heat down to 350 degrees F and bake for another 35-40 minutes until the crust is browned and the filling is cooked through. *Note* In order to prevent the crust edge from burning I usually put on a pie shield for the last 35 minutes of cooking. If you do not have a pie shield you can make one by arranging foil around the outer edge of the pie to prevent over browning.
- Once the pie is beautifully golden brown and cooked through remove from the oven and all to cool for about 45 minutes before slicing. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, custard or by itself. Enjoy!
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