Greetings from Napa!
Soaking up the beautiful sunshine, brilliant eats, even better wine, and great company on a work trip this week. Kevin came along too because… Napa. Feeling unbelievably grateful that my almost 5-year-old blog (omg almost 5!) has brought so many unbelievable opportunities like this. I really have YOU to thank.
But anyway, welcome to recipe 4 in pie week! What’s been your favorite so far? Have you tried any of them or are you waiting until Thanksgiving?
In the past 5 years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve gone from wildly intimidated by pie crust to this braided + lattice beauty. It’s taken some practice and even more shriveled mistakes (literally shriveled), but I want to show you that it’s possible. And it certainly won’t take YOU 5 years to get here.
This apple cranberry pie is why I love baking (and eating!) dessert so much. Not only is apple pie my favorite dessert to eat (looking at you, salted caramel apple), it’s my #1 to bake. Making the dough from scratch, creating beautiful decorations for the crust, playing around with filling flavors, and having a super dependable homemade crust. The entire process is almost therapeutic. Do you feel that way about baking too? It soothes my soul.
To get started, you’ll need homemade pie crust. In the sake of time and to prevent my fingers from falling off, I won’t repeat why this homemade buttery flaky pie crust is my favorite. If you have time, I geeked out for an entire 1,000 words. (insert nerd emoji) I always make the crust the night before to save time the next day. Or, better yet, make the pie crust today, freeze it, then put it in the refrigerator the night before making the pie. Save even more time later!
My number 1 tip? Keep the dough in the refrigerator anytime you are not working directly with it. So after you roll out the bottom crust and place it into the pie dish, stick it in the refrigerator. When you’re waiting for the oven to preheat, stick the whole thing in the refrigerator, etc etc.
The filling’s a cinch and made from fresh (or frozen!) cranberries, about 3ish apples, sugar, cornstarch, and spices. You know what pairs so awesomely well with cranberries? Orange. Add a little orange zest to the pie. The flavor is unreal; everyone will love it. For even more mass appeal, dot the filling with butter before arranging the top crust. Buttery, cinnamon-spiced, and orange scented apple cranberry filling. ♥
You see all this? ↑ ↑ Put it in the refrigerator while you roll out the top crust.
Now, I do not expect you to make an intricate pie crust like this but… it was pretty damn fun! Steph, my assistant, came over and we baked this pie together. Here’s what you’ll need to make this design: apple cookie cutter and this ribbon cutter set. It’s actually a fondant cutter set, but works for cutting scalloped or super thin (and even!) lines in pie dough.
The braid is actually just placed on top, just slightly press it down onto the edge of the pie. We made the braid in two sections, then just placed an apple shape over where the two braids connect to hide it. (Sneaky!)
If you plan to make a lattice top + braid + apple shapes, I recommend having an extra pie crust on hand just to make sure you have enough pie dough to work with. You should really stock your freezer with pie dough now. You know, for braided lattice apple cranberry pie emergencies. Those exist, right?
Brush the whole top with egg wash, place the pie in the fridge while the oven preheats, then bake.
But none of this detail works unless the pie tastes good. You remember that buttery cinnamon spiced apple orange scented cranberry business I mentioned up there? Of course it tastes good! You’ll love how the tart cranberries balance out the sweet cinnamon apples. It’s like Thanksgiving gave you a big warm hug. And then you ate it? That was a disturbing comparison but hopefully you get me.
Enjoy enjoy enjoy!
Apple Cranberry Pie
- homemade pie crust (my recipe makes 2 crusts; 1 for bottom 1 for top)1
- 3 large apples, cored, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-inch slices (about 6-7 cups)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (187g) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (14g) cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
- The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
- Make the filling: Stir the apples, cranberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Set filling aside as the oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9x2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Spoon the filling into the crust, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl (you don't want that in the filling-- discard it). Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling. Stick in the refrigerator until ready to cut the lattice.
- Arrange the lattice: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a circle that is 12 inches diameter. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, pizza cutter, or this fun ribbon cutter, cut strips 1 or 2 inches wide. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and carefully thread the pie dough strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Press the edges of the strips into the bottom pie crust edges to seal. Use a small knife to trim off excess dough. Crimp the edges with a fork, if desired. See recipe notes for making the braid or apple shapes! (Alternatively, you can simply cover the filling with the 12-inch pie dough circle. Cut slits in the top to form steam vents. Trim and crimp the edges. Or a crumble or streusel topping would be great as well.)
- Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash mixture.
- Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350°F (177°C) and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly.
- Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make ahead tip/Freezing: A couple ways to make ahead of time! Make 1 day in advance-- after it cools, cover tightly and keep at room temperature. The pie crust dough can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Baked pie also freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Prepared filling can also be frozen up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- If you'd like to make the apple shapes and/or the braided edge, I recommend working with 3 pie crusts in total. 1 for the bottom, 1 for the lattice, and 1 for the braid + apples. So make my pie crust recipe twice.
For the apples: On a floured work surface, roll the crust out into a large circle, about 1/8 inch thickness. Using an apple cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Place directly on top of pie crust before baking OR bake separately. To bake separately, brush each lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar (that's optional). Place onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool before decorating pie.
For the braid: With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut six 14 inch long, 1/4 inch wide strips. Gently braid three strips. Brush edge of crust with egg wash, the carefully place braid around half of the pie and press lightly to secure. Repeat with remaining strips, then attach the two braids by pressing one into the other. Brush it all with egg wash. Here's a video tutorial for more inspiration.
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