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Apple-Cranberry Single-Crust Pie
It's the season for apples and cranberries, so why not put them together?  Surfing around in Cook's Illustrated, which I subscribe to online for its archive, I came upon a pie recipe with apples and cranberries.  It prepped the cranberries and apples separately and then layered one under the other to make the pie.  It also called for microwaving the sliced apples.  Weird, but  . . . 

We've made lots of pies without ever zapping the filling.  But we tried it.  When microwaved, the apples gained a soft and translucent texture that survived the baking process without getting mushy, which I feared would be the result.  So, try it!  Anyhow, here's the recipe with quite a few changes and with the microwave feature retained.

Apple-Cranberry Single Crust Pie
Yield:  One 9" pie for eight 
See Abbreviations, if needed
For the cranberries:
2C         fresh cranberries
1/4C      orange juice
1/2C      sugar
For the apples:
1T          fresh lemon juice
TT         several grinds of cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2t        salt
1T          cornstarch
1/2C       sugar
5-6         large, crisp and firm apples (we used Honeycrisps from Washington State)
1            pie dough (pre-made OK), ambient 
1            egg white, beaten
10-12     Red Hots (optional) (lends taste and color)

1.  Place cranberries, OJ and sugar in a heavy pot and BTB over medium heat. Stir, as berries pop
     and break down into a sauce. Continue to cook and reduce the juices until jam like. Set aside to cool
2.  Whisk together the lemon juice, spices, salt, cornstarch and sugar in a large microwave-safe bowl
3.  Core, peel and slice the apples about 3/8" thick (use your mandoline if you have one)
4.  Toss the apple slices to coat each thoroughly  (do Steps 3 & 4 one-apple-at-a-time to prevent 
     apple slices from discoloring)
5.  Microwave the apples for about 9 minutes until they soften and look translucent and the 
     sauce thickens, stirring every 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool
6.  Lightly grease pie pan, roll out the dough to make a round that will hang over the pie plate by an inch or more
7.  Place dough into pie plate, smooth out the overhang and place in fridge to firm up, about 5 minutes
8.  When fillings have cooled (100F more or less), remove pie pan from fridge then transfer and 
     spread cranberries to layer them across the bottom of the pie (there should be little if any cranberry juice)
9.  With a slotted spoon or spatula, place apples atop of the cranberry layer and spread out 
     evenly by hand (add the residual juice in the microwave bowl only if the apples look dry)
10  Carefully fold up the pie dough flap over the apples and paint the flap with beaten egg white
11.  (Optional)  strategically sprinkle the Red Hots (cinnamon candies) in the center of the pie 
       where there is no pie dough
12.  Bake in a pre-heated 425F oven for about 25 minutes, reduce heat to 375F until crust is
       evenly golden brown and the filling is bubbling joyously, about 25 minutes more
13.  Remove pie from oven, rack and cool 
14.  Slice and serve with a scant scoop of vanilla ice cream


 

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