An apple pie is a balance between sweet and tart, crisp and tender. Adding cranberries upsets that balance- the tart berries overwhelm the sweet apples plus release juices that can make the bottom crust soggy. Arranging the fruits in two distinct layers allows the flavor of both to come through clearly. Use sweet crisp apples such as Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Fuji or Braeburn. The fillings may be made ahead, cooled and stored separately in the fridge for up to 2 days. The directions are very detailed as are all the recipes from Cook's Illustrated, my favorite magazine.
- 2 pie crusts, your favorite recipe
- 2 cups fresh cranberries or 2 cups frozen cranberries
- 1⁄4 cup orange juice
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt, divided
- 1⁄4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 1⁄2 lbs sweet apples, peeled cored and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 6-7 medium apples)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Bring cranberries, juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp salt to boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Cook, stirring occasionally and pressing berries to the side of the pan with a spoon, until berries have completely broken down and juices have thickened to jam-like consistency, 10-12 minutes (a spoon scraped across bottom leaves a clear trail that does not fill in).
- Remove from heat, stir in water and cool to room temp, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large microwave safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt and the cornstarch; add apples and toss to combine.
- Microwave apples on high power, stirring every 3 minutes, until apples are just beginning to turn translucent at the edges and liquid is thick and glossy, 10-14 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- While fillings cool, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line a 9-inch pie plate with one of your piecrusts. Transfer cranberry filling to crust lined pie plate and spread in an even layer. Place apple mixture on top of cranberry layer, mounding slightly in the center. Press down any sharp apple edges.
- Position second piecrust over apples, trim the overhang and flute the edges to seal. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with 1 TBSP sugar. With a sharp kife, cut (4) 1-inch slits in top of dough, forming a cross.
- Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake until top is light golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
- Reduce oven temp to 375F, rotate baking sheet and continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes longer.