Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grammy's Cran-Apple Pie

I post lots of decorated cakes but this time I am posting a Cran-Apple Pie.  I don't usually make pies because I didn't have a great crust recipe.  Then I found, and watched, Alton Brown's pie recipe.  You can go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pie-crust-recipe/index.html to view the demo.  I do have to tell you that I don't use his exact recipe because I don't use lard in my baking.  I will put mine below.  The key is to use very cold butter and liquid.  Alton does have tricks to rolling out the dough too.  I found his suggestions very helpful to get me started.

Dough Recipe
(Make two recipes, one for top (lattice work) and one for bottom)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter unsalted cubed (should be very cold!)
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 Tablespoons milk or half and half
1 Egg beaten (for brushing the top to help brown nicely)


Place flour and salt in food processor. Pulse to distribute salt evenly.
Next add very cold cubed butter.  May be placed in freezer for 15 minutes prior to using.
Pulse until blended enough to look like small pellets in dough.  Don't over blend.  You want tiny balls of butter in dough and not have it blended so much it starts to glutonize or become sticky. Then you 
have tough dough.....yuck!
Next add vinegar and pulse two or three times quickly.
Next add very cold milk or half n half a small amount at a time until the dough forms pellets that when pressed together will hold its shape. Depending on where you live you may need less liquid or more. (See video for visual)
Place dough in plastic bag and form into disc and place in fridge while preparing the filling, about 30 minutes.
Thinly sliced apples cook better.
Cran-Apple Pie Filling
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup apple juice
6 Granny Smith Apples peeled and cored and sliced into thin slices
1 to 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
 (If you have ice-cream with this and you like less sweet just use one cup other wise add another 1/2 c sugar for more sweet.)
2 Teaspoons cinnamon (My hubby loves extra so I put in a little more)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small lemon juiced
1/2 cup flour
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1/2 stick butter cubed into small cubes

Instructions for Filling
Rinse cranberries and place them in a sauce pan with apple juice.  Cook until softened. Set aside.
Place prepared apples in a large bowl and cover with lemon juice. Stir well to cover the apples so they don't turn brown. Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour, and corn starch.  Stir well and pour over apples. Stir until apples are covered with flour mixture. Add cranberries and juice and stir till well blended. Set aside.
On a well floured surface (I use a pastry cloth and sock for my roller well covered with flour) place the chilled dough for the bottom and roll out to about 1/8 " or so.  Place in bottom of pie pan and leave some over hang of crust. If you have some good size trim scraps save them. I will explain later.  (Don't re roll them. Just lay them flat off to the side.)
 Fill the shell with apple mixture. Place the small cubed butter all over the top of the apple filling evenly. Set aside.

Take the second batch of chilled dough for the top and roll out the same as you did for the bottom.  Do your lattice top (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv4809RKhzg on how to do it) or just lay the dough over the top, trim, crimp, (the above video shows how to tuck and crimp edges) and poke some vent holes in the top.  Brush the top with the beaten egg.  This helps it brown beautifully.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Then cover the top with foil and bake another 40 minutes.
With the extra dough I used a leaf cutter and made some leaves to put on the top for an extra touch.

I always like to have pie warm and I think this is definitely better warm with vanilla ice cream melting on top. I have updated this recipe a couple of times already. Let me know if you try it and what you think by leaving a comment.  Always looking for good critics! Enjoy!