Paula's Pie Project Blog

52 different pies in 52 weeks

Pie #46- Apple Cranberry November 15, 2010

Good morning class….and now for a little shout out to Chris Taylor’s home economics classes at Swanson Middle School in Virginia… Thanks for reading my blog!  I can’t wait to teach all of  YOU how to make your own pies!

I am not sure if any of you read the comments-portion of my posts (Travis always has something witty to say), but recently my friend Jacqui took on the pie making challenge and added a couple of comments to the posts.  She made Pie #40- Green Tomato and then the next day pumped out Pie #6- Pear Pie.  I am so proud of her!  This is the photo she shared with me of  HER green tomato pie.  Yeah, Jacqui!  It’s beautiful!!!

And now on to the recipe for this new pie…. Thanks to Theresa for passing this on to me.  I knew it would be the perfect one to try near Thanksgiving since cranberries are now fresh and available in the grocery stores.  I passed on the stuffing and cooking of the bird this year and appointed myself to make the pies for our big feast.  If all goes well and no one croaks after consumption, I plan to make this one again for Turkey Day since my sister-in-law (who is hosting our meal) really loves apple pie.

And another thing….. my friend Greg (He’s the one who gave me the recipe for Pie #16- Rhubarb Cream Cheese) asked me last night which crust recipe I liked best.  My immediate response was my Mom’s (Jan Mom’s pie pastry) recipe since  it is tasty, easy to make and I now know it like the back of my hand.  But he brought up the vodka infused crust recipe that I used with Pie #28- Blueberry.  Oh, yes, that WAS a fantastic crust recipe!  And I haven’t made it for quite a while, so I decided to make it tonight with this pie.  Once again it did not disappoint.  


Makes one 9-inch pie.   Published November 1, 2007.   From Cook’s Illustrated.
Use sweet, crisp apples, such as Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Fuji, or Braeburn. The two fillings can be made ahead, cooled, and stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon for top of pie
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 1/ sweet apples (6 to 7 medium), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note above)
1 recipe pie dough (see related recipe)
1 egg white , beaten lightly

1. Bring cranberries, juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally and pressing berries against side of pot, until berries have completely broken down and juices have thickened to jamlike consistency (wooden spoon scraped across bottom should leave clear trail that doesn’t fill in), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in water, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cornstarch in large microwave-safe bowl; add apples and toss to combine. Microwave on high power, stirring with rubber spatula every 3 minutes, until apples are just starting to turn translucent around edges and liquid is thick and glossy, 10 to 14 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3. While fillings cool, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Transfer cooled cranberry mixture to dough-lined pie plate and spread into even layer. Place apple mixture on top of cranberries, mounding slightly in center; push down any sharp apple edges.
5. Roll second disk of dough on generously floured work surface (up to 1/4 cup) to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side.
6. Using kitchen shears, cut evenly through both layers of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg white and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Using sharp paring knife, cut four 1 1/2-inch slits in top of dough in cross pattern.
7. Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake until top is light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, rotate baking sheet, and continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack to cool at least 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.


Makes one 9-inch pie.   Published July 1, 2008.   From Cook’s Illustrated.

2- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar 
12  tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cold cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup water

1. Process 1-1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined.  Add butter and shortening and process until dough starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds.  Scrape bowl with spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.  Add remaining cup of flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl.  Empty into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture.  Use folding motion to mix, pressing down until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.  Divide into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4 inch disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

3. Remove 1 disk from refrigerator and roll out onto generously floured surface.  Carefully place rolled dough into pie plate.  Roll out disk 2. 


 Personal Notes

  • I used Braeburn apples and fresh cranberries for this pie. 
  • The crust was amazing!  I’ll say it again, the crust was amazing!!!  The alcohol cooks out of the pastry during the baking process and there is no hint of vodka left as you bite into the crust.  Whatever chemical reaction the vodka has with the pastry concoction, it sure does it right.  This crust is  light, flaky and extremely tasty.  I promise you if your read Travis’ comments he will find the perfect words to describe how delicious it was. 
  • I did not keep the dough in the refrigerator very long like the directions suggest.  I like my dough warmer because I think it is easier to roll out.
  • The cranberry twist to this apple pie recipe is the perfect thing to help kick off the holidays.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
  • And now I am too tired to write anything else.  I look at this again in the morning and add more if it is noteworthy.