The Best.Pie.Ever.

This is a holiday household favorite. (WARNING: It is NOT paleo/primal by any means. 🙂 )

Cranberry-Apple Pie.

I tried to come up with a more catchy name but plain and simple, it’s the best pie we’ve ever stinkin’ had and I dare you to try it. This pie is so damn good that I think it could win awards. I’m not kidding you. We made two pies last weekend for an early turkey dinner with the neighbors. There were five adults and three kids, and we demolished an entire pie – none of the other pies (pecan and pumpkin) got any attention. And when we were leaving they asked if we would split the second pie with them. Of course! That’s why we made two. 🙂 Our pie is so amazing that I even felt like I had to ask Don if he was ok with me putting our recipe out there to the masses since he jokes all the time that we could sell it. Surprisingly, Don was all for sharing the recipe. He said it would be no good to anyone if something happened to us and no one knew how to make it. He’s got a point.

Our recipe has evolved over the years. I think we reached pie nirvana last year. It all started…maybe five years ago. Don wanted to make a pie for the holidays. We looked up cranberry recipes and off we went. Our recipe started here, with a Wisconsin Cranberry Pie from DianasKitchen.com. Thank you Diana! 🙂

THE GOODS

  • double pastry crust – we usually buy the Pillsbury stuff at the local grocery (I know, strike 1 against paleo – stop counting already!)
  • 2 cups cranberries (about a bag and 1/2, it’s not an exact science, we often go a little over 2 cups)
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced to small bits
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar (eek! I haven’t used this much sugar in months! we do plan to try to replace sugar with honey next go-round but since we were baking for others we wanted to be sure these recent pies delivered on taste.)
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract – this is the secret ingredient! Thank you Diana! 🙂
  • 1 tbsp butter; and butter for the pie pan and a little to top the pie
  • gingersnap cookies – a small handful, ground in the blender
  • handful of pecans

Before I go any further, let me say now that I’m not thrilled with the quality or assortment of the photos that I’m about to share, but I really wanted to post this while it was relevant. I hope to get a few more pictures before the holiday season is over and maybe I’ll post again, or just update this post.

THE METHOD

So, first you want to make your filling. We often do this the day before and refrigerate overnight although that’s not critical. The filling is meant to be completely cool before adding to the pan and baking so this just makes that part easy. BTW, I did not get any pictures of this part. Sorry. Use your imagination.

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, apple, 1 tbsp butter, and water, and heat to boiling. Combine your sugar, flour, and salt – quickly. When the water begins to boil, reduce the heat and add your dry ingredients. Simmer on low until your cranberries have burst and basically the whole thing has reduced down to a gooey, sweet, delectable mixture that is the thickness you want. Go ahead…taste it while it simmers. (Make sure not to burn yourself!) Bask in the deliciousness you have created. Once properly thickened, add the almond extract, mix well, and refrigerate to cool completely.

Preheat your oven to 425 when you’re getting close to baking time.

Grind up your gingersnap cookies in a blender and set them aside.

Roll out your bottom crust, sprinkle the cookie crumbs over it, and use a rolling-pin to combine the two. Then lay your bottom crust in your buttered pie dish.

To make a lattice crust, roll out the dough so that it’s a bit longer and wider than the size of your pie dish. Then cut your dough into strips. A ruler and plastic pizza cutter come in handy here.


Next, lay your strips one by one and create your lattice. A flexible cutting board is a must have for this process. You’ll see why in a moment.


Once you’ve got all your strips laid out, sprinkle them with cookie crumbs and press the crumbs with the rolling-pin.


When you are ready to build your pie, add your filling and sprinkle it with chopped pecans.


Then use your handy-dandy flexible cutting board to slide the top crust over the top of your pie. It’s a bit of an art. Be sure to flour your board well and it should slide off pretty easy.


Now it’s time to trim the excess and crimp the edges. We leave a little excess that can be rolled down and massaged in with the excess from the bottom crust. The more you can merge the two, the less likely that your top will break away from the bottom.


Just a few finishing touches before you bake…sprinkle a little sugar across the top. We like to use sugar in the raw as it’s got a more granular texture to add to the top of the pie. Also dot little bits of butter over the top, 10-12 dots of butter, maybe 1-2 tbsp of butter total.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Try not to eat the whole pie in one sitting. Tastes great with a little french vanilla ice cream too.


OMG, I’m so sad I don’t have any to eat right now.

When someone asks if you’d like cake or pie, why not say you want cake and pie?
~ Lisa Loeb

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