I like to hide an extra bag or two of whole cranberries in the freezer, so when it’s time to make this family favorite, I’m prepared. I’ve been to the local Farmers’ Market and purchased locally grown “Gala” apples. Gala apples are a bit sweeter than some varieties, so I use a little less sugar than I might if I were using a more tart apple.
First I mix sugar, cornstarch, apple juice and cranberries in a saucepan. Fresh or frozen cranberries work equally well. This mixture is cooked and stirred over medium heat until it thickens and most of the liquid is absorbed. This can take up to 20 minutes, and then I set it aside to cool while I make the pie crusts.
When the mixture resembles small crumbs,
I drape the first crust over the bottom of my pie pan, preheat the oven to 425, and roll out the top crust.
This whole beautiful combination is poured into the prepared pan, covered with the waiting top crust and sealed. I like to “flute” the edges. I make some slits in the top for the steam to escape, brush milk all over the top crust, sprinkle some sugar on it and bake it for 10 minutes.
It’s hard to wait until this pie cools to slice into it, but if you can wait a couple of hours, it cuts nicely. It’s supposed to keep on the kitchen counter—no need to refrigerate—but I’ve never been able to test this, somehow it disappears within a few hours!
The combination of sweet and tart is just right in this pie – if you must, add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top—but I like it right from the pan to my plate!
APPLE CRANBERRY PIE
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup apple juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon lemon juice
4 cups peeled apples, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon white sugar
pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
Preheat oven to 425. Mix white sugar, cornstarch and apple juice and cranberries in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and most of liquid is absorbed and it begins to thicken, stirring often. Cool.
Toss apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice in large bowl to blend.
Gently combine cranberry mixture with apple mixture.
Pour into prepared pastry lined pan. Cover with top crust which has vents cut in it. Seal and flute edges. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake 50 minutes longer or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool.
MY FAVORITE PIE CRUST
For 9 inch two-crust pie:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup shortening
½ teaspoon salt
ICE water –2 or 3 tablespoons
Measure flour and salt into large bowl. Add shortening and cut into flour mixture with pastry blender (or fork) until mixture resembles small crumbs. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time just until dough can be handled. Too much water and the dough will be sticky, too little and it will break into pieces when you try to roll it out. Form into 2 balls, place on lightly floured waxed paper, flatten and roll into circle that will fit in pie pan. Drape pie crust over bottom of pie pan, add filling, cover with top crust. Flute and seal.