Let's face it--Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without some sort of pie, right? Not sure why say, brownies or chocolate chip cookies aren't a turkey day staple (hmmn, maybe it's time to start a new tradition) but until then, when dessert rolls around you better have pie on the menu or there will be TROUBLE!! For years I've been making this Apple Crumb Pie without fail, and it's really, really yummy, but this year I thought it might be time to get really adventurous and thus, this Cranberry-Apple Crumble Pie. Did a little test run this week and my husband has declared it his new favorite!! If you're looking for a way to jazz up the holiday without going totally rogue, this pie might just do it for you!!
The addition of the cranberries not only adds a bright splash of color but it balances out the sweetness of the apples and the crumbly streusel-like topping.
Plus, the pie is relatively easy to make and very forgiving in the looks department--rustic and homey is what you're after here. If you've ever struggled with crimping a top crust of a pie, this is the Thanksgiving pie for you, because there's no fussiness of a top crust required. You simply roll out the bottom, fill it with the apple-cranberry mixture and top it with a very "let it be" crumb topping. Low on the stress scale!!
The pie doesn't cut particularly neatly--I tried and tried to get a "perfect" slice to photograph, but I think it may be a physics impossibility--no worries, one bite and no one will care. The combination of sweet cinnamon-y apples, tart juicy cranberries, nutty, buttery, sugary topping and flaky pastry will overwhelm any worries about pie messiness. Ladies and gents, I think we have a new winner!!
What kind of pie will you be making for the holiday?
Cranberry-Apple Crumble Pie
Makes one 9 or 10-inch pie
Prep Time for the dough: 10 minutes, plus chilling time and rolling out time; Prep Time for the Filling and Crumble: 20 minutes; Bake Time: About 1 hour and 30 minutes
For the Crust:
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the Filling:
- 2 pounds Gala apples (about 5--or any other sweet but firm apple you like) peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 8 ounces fresh or frozen (but don't thaw) cranberries
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the Crumble:
- 3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1. To make the crust: Chill the bowl and paddle of a standing mixer (or the bowl and beaters of a handheld) until very cold. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the cold water and chill until very cold.
2. Place the flour and butter into the chilled bowl and toss the butter in the flour until the pieces are well coated. Mix on low speed until pea-sized lumps form. Add the water mixture, turn the speed to medium and mix just until the dough begins to come together.
3. Gather the dough together and split it in half to form two balls. Flatten the balls into 1-inch thick discs and wrap each individually in plastic wrap very well. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. For this recipe, you will only need one of the halves. The other half you can use for another pie, or double wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
4. When you're ready to make the pie, lightly flour a board and your rolling pin and roll out one of the dough halves into a 13-inch round. Transfer to your pie plate, pressing gently down on the dough to fit into the plate. Fold the overhang under and crimp decoratively. Place into the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling and crumble. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
5. To make the Filling: Place all the ingredients for the filling, except the cubed butter into a large bowl and combine well. Set aside.
6. To make the Crumble: Stir the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl, breaking up any clumps of the brown sugar. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to work the butter in, until there are large clumps. Stir in the pecans and chill the mixture until ready to use. (You could actually make this a day ahead and leave it covered in the fridge if it makes life easier.)
7. Remove the pie dough from the fridge and fill it with the apple-cranberry mixture. Dot with the cubed butter. Cover the pie loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, place it on a tray to catch any drips and bake for 30 minutes until the apples have begun to droop and soften. Lower the oven to 375ºF. Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle with the crumble mixture all over. Return the pie to the oven, uncovered, to bake for another 45 minutes to an hour until the crumble is browned and the filling is bubbly. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve--this is a bit messy but it tastes fantastic!!
Note: Recipe for crust adapted from Carla's Comfort Foods; Recipe for filling and crumble from a 2009 edition of Gourmet Magazine.