Me: “There’s a lot of bad crust out there.”
Ash: “Uh, yes. Yes there is.”
This sums up a recent phone conversation between my sister and I, and the tenor of most of our conversations really. I called her to boast about this delicious pie and while she was happy for me, she also reminded me once again that she doesn’t like pie. Yes, you heard that blasphemy right: MY SISTER DOES NOT LIKE PIE.
Cobbler? You bet. Crisp, crumble, slump, or buckle? Sure thing. Pie? Forget it. The crust, “especially the bottom,” she says, is a soggy waste of space.
We often discuss these life-or-death matters with each other. Zach is usually an innocent bystander or fly-on-the-wall, offering an eye roll or a head shake in reply to our mincing of words and textures.
But I say:
- One person in a room ranting over pie crust? A lunatic.
- Two people? Like-minded colleagues engaging in civil debate.
- Writing about it on a blog? Undecided.
My defense of the sanctity of pie is simple. There is a lot of bad crust out there and it’s giving pie a bad name. We’ve all eaten it. Gummy verging on glue. Undercooked verging on raw. Tough verging on shoe leather. It’s out there and innocent people are subjected to it every day.
But it doesn’t have to be, because a good pie crust is so so simple and practically dummy-proof. And thanks to Michael Ruhlman’s 3-2-1 dough, it’s also easy to remember and execute no matter what your skill level. A version of this recipe appears in my aforementioned CIA baking notebook, but Ruhlman downsized it for the home cook to make it even more accessible.
So get over your crust phobias and make this pie for Thanksgiving. Because this simple, flaky crust paired with tart apples and a healthy kick of boozy cranberries just might convert those pie-haters in your life.
Maybe even my sister.
Apple Cranboozy Pie
Summary: This adult apple pie, with its hint of sin, is delicious paired with a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream and a cup of coffee. And if you were to add a little Grand Marnier to said coffee, who’s to judge?
- 1 double pie crust
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3-4 Tbs Grand Marnier
- 2 1/4 lbs tart apples, peeled, cored, & sliced
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 egg yolk
- Splash of heavy cream
- Turbinado/raw sugar
- Place the cranberries in a small bowl. Gently warm the Grand Marnier, either on the stovetop or in 10 second intervals in the microwave, but don’t let it boil.
- Pour the warm Grand Marnier over the cranberries and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let steep for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out crusts and arrange the first in a pie plate.
- In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, flour and lemon juice. Toss to combine. Add the cranberries and any remaining liquid and mix well. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and pile it high.
- Top with second crust. Trim edges of any excess crust and crimp to seal.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and splash of cream. Brush mixture on the pie followed by a heavy sprinkling of raw sugar. Cut 3 slits in the top to vent and bake for 1 hour, until crust is golden and filling bubbly. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes or so, but it’s best served warm.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8