Cranberry Ribbon Apple Pie

There was a curve ball this Thanksgiving: apples. Lots and lots of apples. About 4 pounds worth. I wasn't expecting apples. I was expecting the usual cry for pumpkin pie. As turns out, so does everybody else at a massive dinner party! The boy's family had a large, heartfelt gathering for dinner and everyone was gunning for the pumpkin. I was requested to bring another dish and went with the apple pie option.

There was a little pressure. For starters, we never made pie growing up! We were raised on pudding (better known as flan) and pastel de nata. I made a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie once but that was a semi-success. Secondly, but this was for the boyfriend's family and friends... you know... those people WANT to make good impression. Oh, and it's a holiday. No biggie.

After some careful research, I went with this recipe from Bon Apetit. It's your traditional apple pie with a touch of cranberry. It's super tasty because the tartness of the cranberry is a welcome contrast to the cinnamony-sweetness of the apples. The filling is fantastic because it's not over sweet and goes amazingly well with vanilla ice cream.

The crust was from Smitten's site. She has a fantastic breakdown about making crust and the importance of preserving those buttery bits. I've used it once before for a Peach and Creme Fraiche and it went over very well. You don't have to do the the hearts! I just thought they would be cute. 

All you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter. That's it!

It's not hard to make and the ingredients are grocery-store friendly. Do yourself a favor though and make the crust and cranberry's ahead of time. This way, all you have to do is put it all together the day of. And for the love of God... don't do what I did:

DO NOT forget to thaw the pie crusts the day you plan on making the pie. It's like wrestling cement.
DO NOT place all bets on finding the right pie pan size the night before at Giant.
DO NOT roll out the dough on the counter above the dish washer while it's on.

I tell you these things because I care. This pie is awesome. Make it with love. For people you love.

And for that last slice of pie... put it in the blender with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream, a splash of maple syrup, and a some milk. Blend till only a few clumps remain. Cranberry Apple Smoothie delight! We ate it too fast for the camera!!! But here's the boy's interpretation of it's yumminess.

Cranberry Ribbon Apple Pie
from Bon App├ętit

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup 100% cranberry juice
2 cups cranberries (about 8 ounces)

2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 3/4 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Butter Pie Crust Dough disks (I used this recipe from Smitten)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon milk
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)-optional
Vanilla ice cream

Stir 3/4 cup sugar and juice in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries; bring to simmer. Reduce heat; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Toss all apples, flour, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl to blend.  Toss in a few cranberries if you want! Oh, and optional.. pre-bake the apples for about 15 minutes if you're worried about them cooking through.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch deep-dish glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Spread cranberry mixture over crust bottom. Top with apple mixture; dot with butter. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round; drape over apples. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Press crust edges together to seal; crimp. Cut 1-inch hole in center. Brush crust with milk. Mix remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and pinch of cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over crust along with optional turbinado.

Bake pie 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake until crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool at least 2 hours. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.