This Apple Cranberry Pie recipe is the perfect holiday dessert. Tart cranberries and sweet juicy apples baked to perfection inside a flaky, buttery pie crust. Plus our no fail tips on how to make the perfect pie, every time!
We don’t know about your family, but in ours pie is a staple at our holiday table. And we are a little embarrassed to say we have been known to scrape the filling out of our piece, leaving behind a pastry skeleton on our dessert plate. Don’t get us wrong, We are a baker at heart and we love to make (and enjoy) sweet treats, but there’s just something about pastry that’s not done quite right when it’s soggy on the bottom, dry on the top, and it leaves that greasy film on the roof of your mouth.
It’s for this reason that the thought of baking a pie from scratch can be downright intimidating, even for experienced bakers, because pastry is pretty easy to get wrong and because commercially made pie crusts are widely available at low prices and they just look so darn professional! You have to try this fantastic recipe with some simple tricks to help you achieve a great homemade pie crust, every single time.
We thought we’d share a nice little twist on the traditional apple pie with this unbelievably delicious Apple Cranberry Pie recipe. You won’t even believe how amazing this tastes!! Feel free to serve this pie with ice cream, but we think it’s great all on its own. Because of the addition of cranberries to this pie along with all the spices, when you take your first bite you will be overwhelmed with the sweetness of the apples and the sharpness of the cranberries. It’s like mulled cranberry apple cider in pie-form. So good!
You will need these items on hand to make the pie crust and filling (affiliate links):
- Pie plate
- rolling pin
- mixing bowls
- pastry brush
- chef knife
- measuring cups and spoons
- whisk or food processor for crust
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You will need these ingredients to make the filling and the crust for the apple cranberry pie recipe.
- white sugar
- brown sugar
- unsalted butter
- egg yolk
- rolled oats
- coarse sugar
- fresh cranberries
- all purpose flour
- canola oil
- cold water
- lemon juice
Time needed: 3 hours and 57 minutes.
Follow these 10 no-fail tips to make the perfect pie, every time!
- A little dab of oil works wonders.
Canola oil (or any vegetable oil) is a great addition to homemade pastry for 2 reasons: it creates a soft and lighter-textured crust and it makes the dough much easier to roll out and less susceptible to breakage or drying out.
- Work quickly and gently.
Work the butter into the flour mixture using quick motions, where you flatten the pieces of butter between your hands as you slide your hands apart (one toward you, one away from you). The goal here is to handle the butter as little as possible because the heat from your hands will cause it to soften and even melt. It’s ideal for the butter to remain cold and hard but be distributed throughout the flour mixture in small pieces. It’s best to use your hands for this because thin sheets of butter cause flaky pastry. Pastry cutter tools don’t create sheets of butter in the same way your hands do.
- Let your hands be your guide.
Continue to use your hands as you add the cold water and lemon juice to the bowl and mix these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using your hands at this stage is the best way to know exactly when the dough begins to form. Remember: use your hands, but handle the dough as little as possible. Over-mixing leads to tough, dry, cake-y pie crust (yuck!).
- Use a thickening agent.
Adding cornstarch and butter chunks to your pie filling will create a deliciously thick and silky sauce around the fruit and it will help the filling stay together a little better when you cut into the pie. You’ll still have that gorgeous juiciness oozing out of each slice, but it won’t look like soup on your dessert plate.
- Use oats to avoid a soggy crust.
Sprinkle the rolled oats onto the bottom of the raw crust. This will prevent the dreaded soggy pie crust as the oats will absorb much of the liquid in the filling and form a barrier that stops the liquid from seeping into the bottom crust. And the best part is, the oats will completely disappear into your filling and no one will be the wiser!
- Carefully crimp the crust.
Once the raw edges are even, fold both the top and bottom piece of dough under just until the new clean edge reaches the edge of the pie dish. Continue folding all the way around the pie until your edge looks clean and even all the way around. This is a great way to take your pies to the next level, aesthetically speaking. And to take it up even further, lightly lift the edge of the dough, pinching the bottom edge between your thumb and index finger while lightly pushing the index finger on your opposite hand toward those fingers. This will give you a slightly fluted edge, even if your pie dish isn’t fluted.
- Allow the pie to vent.
Create a lattice pattern on the top of you pie or, if you prefer a full upper crust, cut a medium-sized hole in the very centre of the upper crust. This is where the filling can vent while it bakes and it will prevent your crust from becoming misshapen as the heat from the oven causes the filling to release juices and steam. It’s a good idea to cut little slits all around the pie as well for the same reasons. And it makes it look pretty, so there’s that!
- Use an egg wash.
Combine an egg yolk and 2 tsp of water in a small dish and whisk them together. Using a pastry brush, brush on a SMALL amount of egg wash onto the top crust of the pie and around the edges. Don’t overdo it! Cooked egg yolk on the top of a pie is never tasty. The idea is to brush a very light coating of the egg wash over every surface of the crust before it bakes. This will create a shiny finish and it will help the upper crust to brown perfectly and evenly in the oven.
- Sugar the crust.
Sprinkle a little bit of turbinado sugar (very coarse sugar) onto the top of the pie after you’ve brushed on the egg wash. This will create a beautiful finish on the upper crust, but it will also add a nice crunch and a beautiful texture to the pastry.
- Heat Things Up.
Bake your pie at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 Fahrenheit and bake for 45-50 minutes longer. Baking at a higher heat at first allows the crust to brown beautifully and baking at a lower heat afterwards allows the filling to cook evenly without the crust over-browning in the process. It’s also a great idea to bake your pie with a baking sheet on the rack below, just to catch any stray drips before they burn onto the bottom of your oven (been there, done that…more times than I’d care to admit!)
Why is my homemade pie runny?
Homemade pie can be runny if it’s underbaked or if there isn’t enough thickener in the filling.
What is the best thickener for fruit pie?
The best thickener for any fruit pie is cornstarch.
What to add to pie filling to make it better?
Adding lemon juice and a pinch of salt to your homemade fruit pie will make the filling more flavourful.
Is flour or cornstarch better for pie filling?
Cornstarch is much better than flour for homemade fruit pie filling. Cornstarch makes a much silkier sauce and flour creates a thicker more dull-looking sauce. Much less cornstarch than flour is required to thicken pie filling, which is another reason cornstarch is a better choice.
What is a trick to making a good pie crust?
The trick to making good pie crust is using cold butter and not over-working the dough. Refrigerating the dough before rolling out is also a critical step for flaky, crispy pie pastry.
Is pie crust better with butter or shortening?
Butter creates a much stronger, flakier and more crispy pie dough than shortening.
What is the secret to flaky pie crust?
The secret to flaky pie crust is using cold butter instead of shortening. It also helps to avoid overworking the dough, and to refrigerate it before rolling out.
Can I freeze the pie dough before baking?
Yes! Simply freeze the raw pie dough in discs (as directed in the recipe below) and remove from the freezer and place in the fridge for 12 hours before rolling out.
Can I use frozen fruit in my homemade pie filling?
Yes. Simply increase the cornstarch in the filling by several tablespoons if using frozen fruit in the filling.
We hope you enjoy this apple cranberry pie recipe as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below, what’s your favourite holiday dessert?
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Watch the video below to see exactly how we make this apple cranberry pie recipe. You can find more delicious recipe videos on our YouTube channel.
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Cranberry Apple Pie
For the pie crust:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 3 tbsp canola oil optional
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold from the fridge and cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup cold water
For the filling:
- 8 apples peeled and sliced
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Flour for dusting and rolling
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp water
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp turbinado sugar (coarse sugar)
- The day before you plan to bake the pie is a great time to make your dough. Pie baking can seem overwhelming at first, but broken down into a 2-day process it becomes pretty simple. The dough needs time to refrigerate before rolling it out so this step is crucial if you’re looking for rich, flaky pastry.
- Cut your fridge-cold butter into cubes and put it back in the fridge as you measure and prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- To make the crust in a food processor, fit your metal blade in and add the flour, salt and sugar. Start mixing them so the salt and sugar are distributed evenly throughout the flour.
- With the food processor running, add in the lemon juice and canola oil (if using). Canola oil gives you a soft and lighter-textured crust and it makes the dough much easier to roll out and less susceptible to breakage or drying out.
- Take the cubes of butter out of the fridge and add them in one by one.
- Add in the cold water, one tablespoon at a time until your mixture starts to come together (but stop before the dough forms a ball). At this point, you should have a crumbly dough that stays together if you form it with your hands.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into two round disks. Wrap each disk of dough in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge to chill overnight.
- To make the pie crust by hand, add the flour, salt and sugar to a large bowl and whisk them together with a wire whisk to make sure the salt and sugar are distributed evenly throughout the flour.
- Add the canola oil (if using) and mix it into the flour mixture with your fingers until it disappears. It will cause the flour mixture to become slightly crumbly.
- Continuing to use your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture using quick motions where you flatten the pieces of butter between your hands as you slide your hands apart (one toward you, one away from you).
- Continue to use your hands as you add the cold water and lemon juice gradually to the bowl and mix these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using your hands at this stage is the best way to know exactly when the dough begins to form as the wet and dry ingredients combine so you can stop mixing. Remember: use your hands, but handle the dough as little as possible. Over-mixing leads to tough, dry, pie crust.
- Just as soon as the dough begins to form and the flour has almost disappeared, dump it onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the dough into two round disks. Wrap each disk of dough in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge to chill overnight.
Make the Filling:
- The next day when you’re ready to begin baking your pie, begin by preparing the filling first. Peel and slice your apples, chop the cranberries and add all the fruit to a large bowl. Add the sugars, the cornstarch, lemon juice and spices to the fruit and toss everything together with a wooden spoon until it’s mixed thoroughly.
- Set the filling aside and turn on your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grab the two disks of chilled pie dough. Flour your work surface lightly and unwrap the disks of dough, setting one of them aside for now. Holding your rolling pin in one hand, bang the disk of dough a few times, just until it appears to soften slightly. Add a touch more flour if you need to, and flour your rolling pin as well. Roll out the dough until it forms a circle that’s about 13-inches in diameter. The key here is to roll a few times and then turn the dough a quarter turn, roll a little more and then turn it another quarter turn in the same direction. Continue this motion until the dough rolls out to the desired size.
- Gently fold the dough in half and unfold it over the pie dish you’ll be using. My dish is about 11.5 inches in diameter from edge to edge. Lightly press the dough into the bottom of the pie dish, helping the dough lay flat against the bottom and sides of the dish. Pierce the crust with a fork all around the bottom of the pie dish. This prevents air pockets forming in your crust as it bakes.
- Sprinkle the rolled oats onto the bottom of the raw crust. This will prevent the dreaded soggy pie crust.
- Pour the apple and cranberry filling mixture into the pie dish, making sure you scrape out the bowl to get all those fruit juices into the pie. Don’t press the filling down into the bottom of the dish – just let it sit gently, but try to make sure the fruit is evenly distributed and there aren’t any giant pieces sticking up that would interfere with the upper crust. Place the remaining butter on top of the fruit, dispersing chunks of it all around the filling.
- Repeat the rolling out process with the second ball of dough, this time slicing it into about 10 long, thin slices using a pizza cutter (or a pastry cutter, if you have one).
- Create a lattice pattern using the strips of dough, overlapping every second vertical strip with every second horizontal strip.
- Trim any dough that hangs over the edge of the pie to 1-2 inches past the edge (try to keep the overhang amount even all the way around). Tuck any overhanging dough under and into the pie plate to create a clean edge
- To flute the pie crust, lightly lift the edge of the dough, pinching the bottom edge between your thumb and index finger while lightly pushing the index finger on your opposite hand toward those fingers. Do this all the way around the edge of the pie to create a fluted pattern.
- Combine an egg yolk and 2 tsp of water in a small dish and whisk them together. Using a pastry brush, brush on a SMALL amount of egg wash onto the top crust of the pie and around the edges.
- Sprinkle a little bit of turbinado sugar (very coarse sugar) onto the top of the pie after you’ve brushed on the egg wash.
- Bake your pie at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 Fahrenheit and bake for 45-50 minutes longer.
- This pie cuts nicely into 12 large pieces, and each piece is only 11 Weight Watchers PointsPlus, making it a safe choice for a holiday treat. And if you divide the pie into 16 slices, each slice is only 8 PointsPlus.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
Yum, this looks perfect for the holidays! I love cranberries, but they can be a little overpowering on their own, so I like recipes where they are paired with another fruit.
Thanks Allison! And you're totally right about cranberries…they're the perfect compliment to sweet apples 🙂
What a beautiful pie! I love how perfect your crust looks. Yum! Pinning and sharing.
-Leia @ Eat It & Say Yum
Thanks Leia!! I appreciate that 🙂
I am hoping you ship pies for the holidays! Love the rolled oats in the bottom crust tip, that is good to know and I can't wait to try it!
I wish I could! And the rolled oats work very well for pies like this, with chunks of fruit. I wouldn't try it with any pie with a smooth filling, though 🙂
This pie looks beautiful!
Thanks so much!
Can't go wrong with apples and cranberries. So yummy. This would be perfect on any holiday table!
Thanks Alison! Apples and cranberries are the perfect combination for the holidays! 🙂
I've been making my ei crust in the food processor. Works great, but I'll have to try it by hand to test out your tips. Thanks for a lovely recipe too.
I've tried the food processor method a few times and I really enjoy making it by hand 🙂 Thanks for your feedback! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Hi,the pie looks really great ,thanks a lot for the tips ,I would like to ask if I can use frozen craimberries?
Hi Chrissie, thank you for the great recipe and the wonderful tips,
I would like to ask if I can use frozen cranberries ?
Thanks so much! And yes, you can absolutely use frozen cranberries for this recipe! I hope you enjoy!
Can the filling be prepared ahead of time and frozen?
Yes it can!
Hey there! I made two batches of this pie crust. It seemed to be beautiful dough when I made it. It consistently fell apart, no matter the temperature of the dough-from coldest, medium cold, to barely cold. I could hardly get it onto my rolling pin to place it in the pie dish. I could not press a decorative border, I feel pretty lucky I got the crust to look like a pie crust, in a pie a plate. 3TBS of oil must’ve been way too much (?) Thank you for your recipe!
If your dough falls apart try adding a couple more tbsp of ice cold water. Hope this helps!