Making great pie crust eluded me for a long time. But finally I mustered up the determination to figure it out and make it work. Since then, I’ve actually come to love making pies, from mixing the wonderfully simple dough to rolling it out to filling it with something delicious.
Once I worked out my pie crust recipe, I stuck with it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it usually precludes me from trying other recipes and techniques. With the new book, Making Dough by Russell van Kraayenburg, I’ve been given a great excuse to explore pie dough all over again!
The book covers all kinds of dough, from pies to biscuits to puff pastry. I started with the pie dough, which differs from my go-to recipe in volume, types of flour, and ingredient ratios. The result was a thick, flaky, buttery pie crust.
To fill this beautiful crust, I went with a favorite flavor combination – apples and cranberries. The apples get cooked with a bit of brown sugar and spices, while the cranberries cook with some sugar and lemon. That creates two thickened fillings that are combined to make an irresistibly sweet and tart pie.
Now, I must warn you that while this isn’t what I’d call a quick recipe, it’s not difficult to make. A little multi-tasking will simplify things a bit. Once you get the apples cooking, start cooking the cranberries. They’ll finish about the same time, and then you can make the crumb topping while the apples and cranberries cool.
The time you invest will be well worth it when you take that first bite of sweet, tart pie. It was love at first bite for both Quinn and me. I often like to top slices of pie with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, but we both preferred this one with nothing extra. It’s so good on its own, that it doesn’t need any help. Just grab a fork and enjoy!
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie’s fruity filling and sweet, buttery crumb topping make it irresistible!
For the pie crust:
- 6 ounces bread flour*
- 2 ounces cake flour*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
- 1/4 cup water
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 medium apples**, sliced or diced
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
For the crumb topping:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
To make the dough:
- Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. Chop the butter into 1/2-inch chunks and add to the flour mixture. Pinch or cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter, breaking it into pieces about the size of large peas. If using your hands, work quickly to keep the butter from melting.
- Pour the water into the flour mixture. Mix dough with your hands or about 10 to 15 turns of a wooden spoon, until it just starts to come together. The dough will be very tough and should remain in a few large chunks.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and push the chunks together. Knead 4 to 5 times, just until it holds together. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1 inch think. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Continue as described in steps 3 & 4 of the Food Processor Method below.
Food Processor Method
- Pulse the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor 2 or 3 times to combine. Chop the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the flour mixture. Pulse for 1 second about 8 times, until the butter is in pieces about the size of large peas. Add the water and pulse 3 to 4 times, until the dough begins to come together. It may remain in a few large chunks.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and push the chunks together. Knead 4 to 5 times, until it holds its shape. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Transfer the dough from the refrigerator to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a circle about 14 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish and press into the bottom of the dish, taking care not to let it stretch. Lightly press the dough down around the edges and cut off any excess.
- Set the pie dish in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
To make the filling:
- Place the butter in a medium skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened and the mixture is bubbly (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Place the cranberries, sugar, water, lemon juice, and zest in a medium saucepan, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is bubbly and has thickened (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To make the crumb topping:
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
- Add the butter, and mix with a fork or your fingers until the mixture forms crumbs.
To assemble and bake the pie:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine the cooled apple and cranberry mixtures. Transfer to the pie dish, and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top evenly with the crumb topping.
- Place the filled pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any spills. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust and topping are browned and the filling is bubbly. Cool the pie on a wire rack before serving.
*You can use just bread flour or all-purpose flour if you prefer.
**Remember when you are choosing apples for baking to look for an apple that will stand up well to baking and won’t fall apart or turn to mush. I also prefer a nice sweet/tart flavor in my baking apples. I most commonly bake with Fuji, Pink Lady, Gala, and Jonagold, or a combination of two or three of those.
Pie crust recipe from Making Dough by Russell van Kraayenburg.
I was provided with a copy of Making Dough by Quirk Books. To see what some other bloggers are making with the doughs from the book, be sure to visit Quirk Books. All opinions written are my own. This post contains affiliate links.