apple-cranberry pie

I’m quite sure that there are very few people in the world who can look back on an unexpected layover due to multiple delayed flights with thankfulness. Except me.

When I think back to November of 2010, I remember a direct, 15-hour flight from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles. I remember stepping off the airplane at about six o’clock in the morning, majorly sleep and coffee deprived, knowing my family and I had about three hours to wait for our connecting flight to San Francisco.

The next thing I remember is paying 10 dollars for two magazines… I had never done that before. Why would I if I could buy a year’s subscription for just five more dollars? But I was desperate for reading material as our “little” three-hour layover slowly turned into a four-hour layover. And then a five-hour layover, then six hours, and ultimately seven hours!

Anyways, the ridiculously long layover is not the point. The point of this story is that one of the magazines I splurged on happened to be the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens. And this fantastic pie happened to be in that magazine. My mom and I made it soon after we got home, and now, almost two years later, we’ve made it countless times. It’s our favorite apple pie… and one of the only desserts my dad is actually crazy about.

Indeed, the Apple Cranberry Pie is the reason why I am now okay with seven hours wasted spent in Terminal 4.

This pie has three parts, just like my Blueberry Tart– crust, pastry cream, and fruit. I’ll show you the process for each, and then how to assemble everything. If you take a minute to read the recipe through before you begin, it shouldn’t be too hard at all :) Here goes!!

Recipe adapted from Alan Carter via Better Homes and Gardens November 2010

For the dough:

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 3/4 cups very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2/3 cup ice-cold water
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Since the dough must chill for at least 2 hours, get it started first. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the largest pieces are about the size of peas.

Whisk the water together with the sour cream and vinegar, and quickly stir it into the flour mixture all at once. The dough will be a bit crumbly, but will come together as it rests. Do not over mix.

The crust can also be made using a food processor, and I have to say I prefer that method. Simply pulse the dry ingredients to combine, add the butter and pulse again. Then, with the motor running, pour in the wet ingredients and stop the motor just as soon as the liquid is distributed.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. *Divide the dough into three equal portions and pat them into disks.

*You will only use 2 portions for the pie. The remaining disk can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to one month. If you decide to freeze it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using. I always make a galette with the leftover :)

For the pastry cream:

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar

2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

While the dough is chilling, make the pastry cream so it has time cool as well. Heat the milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until milk is hot and bubbles start forming around the edges.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-sized bowl until well blended.

Gradually whisk 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps, then quickly stir in the rest of the milk. Return to saucepan and whisk until the mixture comes to a boil and is thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Allow the pastry cream to cool completely before using in the pie.

For the apple filling:

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place the apples in a large bowl and toss them with the cranberries and lemon juice.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Pour it over the apples and cranberries and stir until all the apples are coated. Set the bowl aside.

To assemble:

2 portions of dough
Pastry cream
Apple-cranberry mixture

1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon whipping cream

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and position a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly spray a 9-inch glass pie pan with cooking spray and place the pan in the center of the baking sheet.

Roll out one portion of the dough on a floured work surface to a 14-inch circle (it should be about 1/4-inch thick). Gently place it in the pie pan without stretching it. Trim the edges, leaving about an inch of overhang.

Spread the pastry cream in an even layer over the bottom of the pie. Then pour the apples over the pastry cream and even them out.

Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch circle. Place it on top of the apples, and trim the dough equal with the bottom dough. Working your way around the pie, pinch the top and bottom layers of dough together while rolling them under. Use a knife to make five small slits on the top of the pie. Beat the whipping cream into the egg and brush it all over the top crust.

Bake the pie for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until, as Alan Carter says, the piecrust is the color of dark caramel. Allow the pie to cool before serving.

A couple of notes:

>> It is essential that you bake this pie on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. A lot of butter cooks out of the crust, and you would have a huge mess to clean up in your oven if it weren’t for the baking sheet!!

>> If you have leftover pie, you might consider keeping it in the refrigerator and trying it chilled later. That’s my dad’s favorite way to eat it, and it actually is a whole different pie eating experience!!


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