Pies & Tarts

Cranberry Apple Crumble Pie

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As I have mentioned here before, I have always loved Christmas. I really like buying gifts, wrapping them beautifully, decorating the house, and baking and cooking delicious things. It’s never felt like a chore…until now.

I finally understand why my mom was always so stressed this time of year! Having a small child to care for really cuts into your free time. By the time I get through a day with her, I’m not finding I have a lot of holiday spirit left in me. Things that I used to easily and happily find time for are having to be squeezed in at the expense of something else, usually relaxing.

So we’ve made some adjustments this year to our celebration as a result. For example, we put out Christmas lights, but only the bare minimum that we knew how to easily put up and take down. We got a real tree, but I did not insist on trying to lay Christmas lights vertically up the trunk to add “depth” (this trick does look really pretty, but it takes a lot of time to do and undo, and drops a lot of needles). And my holiday baking plans have taken a real hit.

I would normally have baked a few tried and true favorites by now, as well as one or two new things. But this year I’ve made very little, and I’m OK with that. Hopefully in future holiday seasons I’ll have a little elf to help me in the kitchen. But this year, she can’t help and there just isn’t as much time. I don’t want to take something that should be full of joy and make it into a chore.

This is one of the few things I have baked recently, and it’s wonderful. We actually enjoyed it right after Thanksgiving, but it would make a wonderful dessert for any holiday meal you are planning. It has cranberries and apples, which I think is a perfect tart/sweet combo. And it has a crumble topping, which is delicious, and also allows you to blind bake the bottom crust. No soggy bottoms here!

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However you choose to celebrate this holiday season, I wish you and your family lots of joy and happy baking!

Cranberry Apple Crumble Pie
Adapted from Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie
Makes one 9 inch pie, approximately 8-10 servings

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries (picked over for stems)
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Instant ClearJel or corn starch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Start by making this pie dough recipe, or by using a store-bought refrigerated pie dough. Place your rolled pie dough in a 9-inch standard pie pan and trim off excess overhang, if needed. Fold back the edge to form a upright ridge and crimp it between your fingers. Freeze for at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center of the oven.

Place a large piece of aluminum foil over the frozen pie dough and press it gently into your crust so it fits flush. Fill with dried beans or pie weights to reach the top of the pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights. Use a fork to prick the pastry lightly over the bottom and return pie crust to the oven for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until it is just very lightly brown. Check on the pie during this time to make sure the crust isn’t puffing up, if it is, prick that spot with your fork. When done, cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, mix the cranberries and sliced apples. Add the 2/3 cup sugar, Instant ClearJel or corn starch, and lemon juice and stir well. Set aside for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until some juices have formed.

For the crumble topping, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and spices in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until large crumbs form. Set aside.

Pour the fruit mixture into the cooled pie crust and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees. Carefully cover  the pie with the crumble mixture and press gently. Cover the crust edge with a pie shield, if desired, to prevent over browning. Return to the oven and bake until the juices are bubbling thickly and the topping is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Allow pie to cool fully before slicing and serving.

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