Cranberry Apple Holiday Pie

4 Dec

The calendar need only read December 1st and visions of orange zest, nutmeg, clove and spice start swirling in my head.  How quickly I break up with pumpkin pie and move on to the warm, intoxicating smells of the winter holidays.

December is a month that I spend in my kitchen trying to recreate the traditions that made my childhood holidays so special.  My Hungarian Grandma Foris would arrive at our house for Christmas with tins of Kiflis (Kee-Flees), nut roll and poppy seed roll. My Grandpa Brandeberry would spend weeks making candy to give as gifts. I can still see the white boxes with red bows piled high on top of his washer and dryer in the back room.  If I came to his house on the right day, he would let me sit at his kitchen table and squish mounds of caramel between pecans while he dipped them in chocolate.

I like to think that my love of baking comes from a long line of proud cooks.  I usually wear my Grandma’s apron and think about what life in the kitchen was like for her and her mother when they were in Hungary.

My Grandma Foris (R) with her younger sister Marika

Me (L) and my younger sister, Elizabeth channeling our inner Hungarian and attmpeting some of our first Kiflis

I think about my Grandfather and how, like me, he loved to give away what he made and how happy people were to receive the special candy crafted by hand just for them.  But my Grandfather had more baking experience then I realized.  My Dad came across this picture taken when my Grandfather was in the Army during World War II.  He was a Master Sargent with the Artillery in the Philippines, but apparently he had some kitchen duty too!

This picture hangs in my kitchen with the ones above.  Now I have some company watching over me when I make my pies. I also have some inspiration to find whatever genetic link I have to baking so I can make the best pie ever!

My Grandpa Brandeberry baking in the Army

Holiday Cranberry Apple Pie


1 recipe pie dough of choice for a 9 inch DOUBLE crust (I use Best of Both Worlds)

4 Apples (I used 2 Granny Smith and 2 Fuji)

2 cups cranberries (if frozen, partially thaw)

1/2 cup sugar plus 1 Tablespoon

zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

2T cornstarch


Ahead of time:  make dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to two days

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Roll one disc of dough into a 13 inch circle and place into a 91/2 inch deep dish pie plate.  You will want to leave a one-inch over hang by cutting the dough to even it out.  Tuck edges under and sculpt an upstanding ridge. Visit this pie post to see what that looks like. Roll the other disc of dough into a 12 inch circle and place on a baking sheet.  Refrigerate both for about 15 minutes.

Peel and slice apples about 1/4 inch thick.  To help the apples lay more compactly, I cube some and leave others sliced.  Toss with cranberries,  1/2 cup sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, orange juice and lemon juice.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Mix cornstarch and 1T of sugar in a small bowl.  Toss apple/cranberry mixture with the cornstarch and sugar.

Place contents into chilled pie shell.

Now the fun part – the top crust.  You have a lot of options for what you want to do here.  You can leave it in-tact and vent it with decorative slits.  Or you can do a lattice crust which I highly recommend.  This pie is so pretty and should not be hidden by a full top crust!  For this pie, I played around with a peek-a-boo crust, cutting holes in the top crust with a small round cutter.  I think I’ll do a lattice crust next time, but it was fun to experiment.  I won’t go into a lattice tutorial on this post, but there are plenty on the internet.

Once your have secured your top crust and formed your edges, brush lightly with milk and sprinkle turbinado sugar over the crust.

Bake for 25 minutes at 425, then lower the heat to 375 and bake for another 30.  I usually place the pie in the lower third of the oven to encourage a fully baked bottom crust.  When the juices bubble, your pie is ready!


10 Responses to “Cranberry Apple Holiday Pie”

  1. Marg December 4, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Another delectable recipe from the Peerless Piemaker Emily. I loved the family connections that make food more than just a nourishing or tasty nosh.

    Say, have you thought about savory pies?

    • JL goes Vegan December 5, 2011 at 6:06 am #

      Emily, this is such a beautiful post! Both the story and the pie! I shared it with 1,000+ on my FB page and 3,000+ on Twitter!

      • emilythome December 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

        JL – that is so nice of you… thank you! I can’t believe what a following you have! Well, yes I can. I’m not even vegan and I love your posts.

    • emilythome December 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

      You have read my mind! With the seasonal sweet pie filling being limited in the winter, I was just turning my attention to savory pies to get me through until the spring. If you have any suggestions, send them my way! Otherwise, stay tuned! 🙂

      • Margaret December 7, 2011 at 11:10 am #

        I just read Bloodroot by Susan Wittig Albert. The series is themed around herbs, and a character concocts a tomato pie. And what about pasties? We had yummy cheese and potato pasties while strolling the bulwarks of Chester, England. Maybe add ham or sausage?

  2. Kelly Faciana December 5, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Another great post!! The family pictures are amazing!!!

  3. Cathy December 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    I like the pie crust top with the holes! Never would have thought of holes!

  4. Jana Champ December 6, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Suggested reading by your sister, Liz. What a wonderful treat to read your blog page and learn a little about your heritage. Your family pictures and pie recipe are yummy! I’m your newest fan!!

    • emilythome December 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      Hi, Jana! Thank you so much – that’s so nice of you to read my blog. Now if only I could make cakes like you!

  5. Cathy December 8, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Had book club dinner with Mrs. Marratta and Margaret. They love your blog! So nice to hear. Mrs. Marratta wants you to work on a gluten free pie! She read your blog via Ashley via Elizabeth. It seems more and more people have gluten free diets. a gluten free pie crust would be wonderful!

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