Cranberry Apple Pie
This Cranberry Apple Pie combines all of my favorite fall flavors into one stunning pie. Featuring a flaky pie crust, tart cranberries, seasonal apples, and warm spices, this is an upgrade on classic apple pie!
With this colorful and flavorful addition, Cranberry Apple Pie has quickly become my favorite Thanksgiving pie and overall fall celebration dessert. Tart cranberries kick apple pie up a notch, and, when combined with warming spices and a pop or orange zest, you are on your way to a symphony of holiday flavors!
Why Cranberry Apple Pie Works
- Apple pie feels nostalgic for many people. This variation elevates the classic just enough that it feels special and unique.
- Apple pie can feel a bit one dimensional with its flavor profile. Cranberries add a pop of tartness and a bit of texture that the traditional pie is missing.
- A bright pop of orange zest compliments both the apples and cranberries beautifully.
Cranberry Apple Pie Variations
Cranberry Apple Pie with Streusel Topping: Instead of a lattice top crust, swap it for a streusel topping. Make the streusel topping, pile it high on top of the unbaked filling and bake as directed. If the topping gets too brown in the oven, tent it with aluminum foil until the pie is fully baked.
Cranberry Apple Turnovers: Use this cranberry apple filling in place of raspberry filling in my recipe for raspberry turnovers to make individual turnovers (hand pies).
How to make cranberry apple pie
Cranberry Apple Pie, like other fruit pies, consists of 2 components: the pie crust and the pie filling. For this recipe, we are going to use my perfect all-purpose pie crust for the bottom and top crusts. For the filling, we are going to use my master fruit filling recipe. I use this same recipe for fruit pies, cobblers, and crisps.
MAKE THE PIE DOUGH
Use a premade store-bought pie crust instead of a homemade pie crust to save on time.
Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the cold butter and shortening and toss with your hands so all of the fat is coated with flour. Use the tips of your fingers and thumbs to press down on all of the pieces of butter, creating little sheets of fat throughout the mixture. Instead of your hands, you can also use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour.
Add the ice water, little by little, into the mixture. Fold the mixture gently with a silicone spatula to incorporate. You may not need all of the water. Once large clumps of dough start forming, work and press the dough together. If it crumbles, add a little more water. If it holds together, the dough is ready to chill.
Transfer the dough to the counter and press it into one mass – knead it very gently for one or two turns to bring it into a cohesive dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Press each portion into a flat, round disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Place both pieces of dough into the refrigerator and let them chill for a minimum of 30 minutes to let the gluten relax and the flour fully hydrate.
Roll out the bottom crust
After the dough relaxes, lightly flour a clean work surface and place one piece of the chilled dough on top. Lightly flour the top of the dough and your rolling pin. Roll the dough out to about 1 ½-inches (4 cm) wider than your pie dish all the way around.
Place the rolling pin in the middle of the rolled out pie dough and fold the dough in half over the rolling pin. Gently transfer it into the pie plate, unrolling it off the rolling pin. Lift up on the sides of the crust to allow it to fall naturally into the pie plate without having to stretch it.
Place the pie plate (with the crust rolled into it) in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Make the Filling
Add all of the ingredients for the filling (except the butter) to a large mixing bowl. This includes the sliced apples, tart cranberries, granulated sugar (or brown sugar if you prefer), orange zest, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and orange juice. You can use frozen or fresh cranberries. If using frozen, do not thaw them before making the filling.
Toss until evenly combined. It’s important not to make the filling until it’s ready to go into the pie crust. Once the sugar and fruit are combined, they will start to release liquid. If it’s made too early, it can release too much liquid and become soupy.
Spoon the filling into the prepared bottom crust. Dot the pieces of cold butter on top of the filling. Place in the refrigerator until ready to add the top crust.
Make the lattice top crust
Roll out the second piece of chilled dough on a floured surface. Cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch (2.5 – 4 cm) strips if you would like to make a lattice top, or you can leave it whole. I like to use a bench knife or pizza cutter to slice the strips.
Once the top crust is ready, remove the pie from the refrigerator and arrange the dough on top. Use kitchen scissors to trim the edges about a ½ inch (1.25 cm) larger than the pie plate. Crimp the edges by folding over and use a fork or your fingers to crimp. If you did not make a lattice top, cut 4-5 vents in the top of the crust.
Bake the cranberry apple pie
As an optional step, make an egg wash. This wash will make the top crust golden brown and extra shiny upon baking. Whisk the egg together with the water until very well combined. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar for an added crunch.
Place the pie on a sheet pan lined with foil (to catch any spillage) and place it on the preheated sheet pan or baking stone. Bake at 400°F/205°C for 30 minutes then turn down the heat to 350°F/175°C and bake for an additional 20-35 minutes until the filling is rapidly bubbling in the center, not just on the edges. Watch the crust and lay a piece of foil over the top of the pie once it is finished browning, usually around the 45-minute mark.
Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and let cool for a minimum of 3 hours before slicing to allow the filling to thicken.
How to prevent a soggy bottom pie
One of the most common issues with fruit filled pies is a soggy bottom or a filling that is runny. Fruits release a lot of juice when baked and it is important that it thickens fully before it is removed from the oven. Oftentimes a fruit pie is runny simply because it didn’t bake long enough. Here are a few tips for preventing a soggy bottom with fruit filled pies:
- Bake the pie in the bottom third of the oven on a preheated sheet pan or baking stone. The hot surface will help set the crust quickly.
- Mix the filling right before adding it to the crust. Mixing it too early will draw out too many juices which will make the crust soggy before it sets.
- Make sure that the filling is rapidly bubbling in the center of the pie before removing it from the oven, not just on the edges.
- Allow the pie to cool completely before slicing it. This will allow the filling to fully thicken.
Can I use Frozen Cranberries? What about Dried Cranberries?
Frozen cranberries work beautifully in this pie! Just keep them frozen until right before you add them to the filling so they don’t release too much liquid before baking.
Dried cranberries could also be used, though I think fresh or frozen add the best pop of tart flavor and add the best texture. If you do want to use dried cranberries, I recommend soaking them in orange juice for a few hours before adding them to the filling to help plump them up.
Make-Ahead Cranberry Apple Pie
Make the pie crusts and store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer up to 3 months. Do not make the filling in advance.
In the refrigerator: The fully baked and cooled pie can be stored in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap for up to 3 days.
In the freezer: After the pie has been fully baked and cooled, place it uncovered in the freezer. When frozen solid (at least 8 hours), wrap the pie tightly in plastic wrap or place in a freezer bag (if it fits) and place back in the freezer for up to 4 months.
For the Crust
- 360 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 170 grams (12 tablespoons, 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold
- 60 grams (6 tablespoons) shortening
- 115-168 grams (8-12 tablespoons, 120-180 milliliters) ice water
For the Filling
- 700 grams (1 ½ pounds) sliced apples (peeled or unpeeled, this is the amount going into the pie so account for more weight when purchasing, I like to use granny smith, honeycrisp, or golden delicious)
- 200 grams (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 30 grams (¼ cup) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) orange juice
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
To Top the Pie
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons granulated or turbinado sugar
For the Crust
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour (360 grams/ 3 cups) and salt (1 teaspoon).
- Add the cold butter (170 grams/ 12 tablespoons) and shortening (60 grams/ 6 tablespoons) to the bowl and toss with your hands so all of the fat is coated with flour. Use the tips of your fingers and thumbs to press down on all of the pieces of fat, creating little sheets of fat throughout your mixture. Continue working the fat through the flour until all of the fat has been worked through and ranges in size from peas to walnuts throughout.
- Add the ice water (starting with 115 grams/ 8 tablespoons) little by little into the mixture. Fold the mixture gently with a silicone spatula to incorporate. You may not need all of the water. Once large clumps of dough start forming, gather the dough up and press it together. If it crumbles then you need to add a little more water. If it holds together then you are ready to chill the dough.
- Bring the dough together on your counter and press into one mass. Divide the dough in half.
- Press each piece of dough flat into a round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, but preferably an hour, to allow the gluten to relax and the flour to fully hydrate.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and place your chilled dough on top. Lightly flour the top of the dough and your rolling pin. Roll the dough out to about 1 ½-inches (4 cm) wider than your pie dish all the way around.
- Set the rolling pin in the middle and fold the dough in half over the rolling pin. Gently transfer it into the pie plate, unrolling it off the rolling pin.
- Lift up on the sides of the crust to allow it to fall naturally into the pie plate without having to stretch it.
- Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
To Assemble & Bake
- Position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and place a sheet pan or baking stone inside to preheat. The pie will bake on the preheated surface which will prevent a soggy crust.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C.
- You can either leave the peel on the apples or peel them before slicing. I personally like the texture of leaving them on.
- Add the granulated sugar (200 grams/ 1 cup) into a large mixing bowl and rub the orange zest (1 tablespoon) into it. Next add the cornstarch (30 grams/ ¼ cup), cinnamon (1 teaspoon), ginger (½ teaspoon), nutmeg (¼ teaspoon), and salt (¼ teaspoon) and stir to combine. Add the sliced apples (700 grams/ ½ pounds), cranberries (200 grams/ 2 cups), and orange juice (20 grams/ 2 tablespoons) to the bowl and toss to combine.
- Spoon the filling into the prepared crust. Dot the pieces of cold butter (30 grams/ 2 tablespoons) on top of the filling. Place in the refrigerator until ready to add the top crust.
- Roll out the second piece of dough on a floured surface. Cut into 1 - 1 ½ inch strips if you would like to make a lattice top, or you can leave it whole. Once the top crust is ready, remove the pie from the refrigerator and arrange the dough on top. Use kitchen scissors to trim the edges about a ½ inch larger than the pie plate. Crimp the edges by folding over and use a fork or your fingers to crimp. If you did not make a lattice top, cut 4-5 vents in the top of the crust.
- For the Egg wash: Whisk the egg (1) together with the water (1 tablespoon) until very well combined.
- Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated or turbinado sugar (2 tablespoons).
- Place the pie on a sheet pan lined with foil (to catch any spillage) and place it on the preheated surface. Bake at 400°F/205°C for 30 minutes then turn down the heat to 350°F/175°C and bake for an additional 20-35 minutes until the filling is rapidly bubbling in the center, not just on the edges. Watch the crust and lay a piece of foil over the top of the pie once it is finished browning, usually around the 45-minute mark.
- Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and let cool for a minimum of 3 hours before slicing to allow the filling to thicken.
- The pie can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.