If I could choose any pie to bring to Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Pi Night or whenever I see cranberries in season at my local grocery store, this is it! Fresh cranberry apple pie with an amazing flaky sourdough pie crust is delicious. The cranberries add a little tartness to the sweet apples, and that hint of almond extract keeps me coming back for more. It is truly a slice of heaven and will be a standout pie at your next gathering. I hope you enjoy this fresh cranberry apple pie as much as we do!
Sourdough Discard in Pie Crust
This pie could be made with a store-bought or homemade pie crust but I love this sourdough version that gives just a little bit more flavor. Chilled sourdough discard gives this pie crust more flavor, which pairs so well with this cranberry apple pie. If you prefer a stronger sourdough flavor, use sourdough discard that has been sitting longer in the refrigerator. For a more mild crust, use bubbly sourdough starter (chilled) or discard that is only a day or two old. It is also important for the sourdough discard to be 100% hydration with equal parts flour and water. If you use sourdough discard that is not 100% hydration, you’ll want to add ice water or more flour depending on how thick your sourdough starter is. I’ve written up an entire recipe post devoted to sourdough pie crust. Find all the details here.
Mixing the Pie Dough
My sourdough pie crust has a unique way of being mixed. Mix together half of the flour (including sugar/salt) and butter together, coating the butter in the flour, effectively locking the fats and discouraging gluten development when the water from the sourdough discard is mixed with the pastry. Add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough resembles crumbs. Then mix in the sourdough discard and any extra ice water that may be needed until the dough forms large clumps and can stick together. Separate into two balls of dough and flatten into discs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until rolling out for the pie.
Cranberry Apple Pie Filling
Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples make this pie truly delicious, though you can use any of your favorite baking apples. Peel and core the apples using an apple peeler or a hand peeler. Using an apple peeler to make an apple pie is a game changer! Slice apples into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the fresh cranberries, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, almond extract and lemon juice. The almond extract is one of my favorite additions to this pie. I will sometimes increase the almond extract to 2 teaspoons just because I love the flavor so much. It adds a uniqueness that really makes this pie standout. Mix together the filling and set it aside while you roll out the pie dough.
Chilling and Rolling the Sourdough Pie Dough
Once the pie dough has been mixed and separated into two discs, it’s important to chill the dough before rolling it out. This chilling process helps relax the gluten in the dough (remember, less gluten development means tender, flaky pie dough) and solidifies the butter. Once the dough has been chilled for about 20 minutes, very lightly flour a pastry mat and roll the dough out, turning it about 30-45 degrees at a time until you have a nice round circle of pie dough. Fold the dough into quarters and then place the dough into the pie dish. Repeat the process for rolling out the top crust, making the pie dough just a little bit bigger to fit over the mounded filling. Place some pats of butter on top of the pie filling and then spread the top crust over the pie filling.
A Whole Lot of Pie Filling
Don’t skimp on the amount of filling to put in this fresh cranberry apple pie. Mound the filling up high in the middle fo the pie plate. The apples and cranberries will all cook down as the pie bakes. When the pie cools, the real magic happens when the cooked apples, cranberries and sugar gel together to make a delicious pie filling.
Crimping the Edges
Decorate the pie however you would like to. I like to crimp the edges of the pie, sealing in all the juices as they bubble in the oven. To do this, I use kitchen scissors to cut the pie dough around the edges and then take the top layer of pie crust and fold it under the bottom edge of crust. This seals the pie shut. At that point I crimp the edges using my knuckles and one finger to decorate around the pie. I like to egg wash the pastry before baking. Whisk together an egg with a splash of water and use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash on top of the pie. Sprinkle about a Tablespoon of sugar over the pie for a beautiful finish.
Baking the Pie
Cranberry apple pie bakes for a long time. It is necessary for the apples and cranberries to bake down and gel with the sugar in the pie to form the pie filling. Place a rack in the middle of the oven, closer to the bottom than the top. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven to catch any of the juices that will bubble over. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the pie for 90 minutes. After about 45 minutes, check on your pie and see how the pastry is browning. If it is browning too quickly, place a few pieces of aluminum foil over the edges of the pie crust. You could also use a pie shield.
The Most Difficult Part: Letting the Pie Cool
Once the pie is bubbling, you are ready for the most difficult part: letting the pie cool! If you plan to bake this pie for Thanksgiving, make it the night before or the morning of so it has time to properly cool. All of the fruit and sugar needs to gel together to make a perfectly delicious pie filling. Allowing the pie proper time to cool is a big part of the process. Once the pie has cooled you can slice it and heat individual slices, if desired, or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I hope you enjoy my very favorite Thanksgiving pie of all time. Let me know how you liked it in the comments below!
Looking for Other Delicious Sourdough Discard Recipes?
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this pie without the sourdough crust?
You can use any favorite crust recipe for this pie. I love this sourdough discard pie crust but even a store-bought crust will work.
Could I use dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries in this pie?
I wouldn’t recommend it. I love the freshness of whole cranberries in this pie. They add a tart burst of flavor that works beautifully with the apples.
Why should I let the pie cool completely before eating?
While the pie cools, the cooked apples & cranberries gel with the sugar to form a delicious pie filling. If you cut into the pie before it has cooled, the bottom of the pie will get soggy and the pie filling will not set up correctly. This takes 3-5 hours for the pie to cool completely. Once the pie has cooled, you can warm up a slice if you want to eat it warm.
Can I make this pie ahead of time?
I recommend making this pie a day before or at least the morning before you’d like to serve it. Once the pie has baked and cooled, cover it and let it sit at room temperature before serving the next day or that evening.
How do I store leftover cranberry apple pie?
This pie can be left covered at room temperature for 2 days. After that, place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze the pie for up to 3 months. Individual slices can be thawed and reheated.
Cranberry Apple Pie (with Sourdough Pie Crust)
Sourdough Pie Crust
- 325 grams all purpose flour divided into 150 grams and 175 grams (about 1 cup/1.25 cups total)
- 16 grams sugar 1 Tablespoon
- 6 grams salt 1 teaspoon
- 222 grams unsalted butter 1 cup, cold
- 135 grams sourdough discard 100% hydration, chilled is best, 1/2 cup
- 20-40 grams ice water as needed (about 2-4 Tablespoons)
- 1 medium egg reserved for egg wash
- 16 grams granulated sugar for sprinkling on top of the pie before baking, (1 Tablespoon)
Cranberry Apple Pie Filling
- 1000 grams honeycrisp or granny smith apples sliced, 8 cups or 7-8 apples
- 150 grams fresh cranberries 1 1/2 cups
- 250 grams granulated sugar 1 1/4 cup
- 70 grams all purpose flour 1/2 cup
- 8 grams salt 1 teaspoon
- 6 grams ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
- 4 grams almond extract 1 teaspoon
- 20 grams freshly squeezed lemon juice about 2 Tablespoons/half of a large lemon
- 22 grams unsalted butter cut into small chunks, 1-2 Tablespoons
Cranberry Apple Pie (with Sourdough Pie Crust)
- In a large bowl, mix together 150 grams flour with sugar and salt.
- Add the remaining 175 grams (1 1/4 cup) of flour and use the pastry cutter to distribute the flour until the mixture looks crumbly.
- Pour the chilled sourdough discard on top of the flour/butter mixture and stir to combine. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball. If the dough is too crumbly, add ice cold water a Tablespoon at time until it comes together.
- Cut the ball in half and form two balls of dough. Wrap the balls in plastic wrap, press down on them to form a disc shape and stick in the refrigerator to chill. Chill the dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. The dough can be chilled for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- While the dough is chilling, make the pie filling. Peel and core the apples using an apple peeler or a hand peeler. Slice apples into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the fresh cranberries, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, almond extract and lemon juice.
- Pull the chilled dough out of the refrigerator. Lightly flour a pastry mat (or countertop). Roll out the first disc of dough a little over 10 inches round, turning about 30-45 degrees after every roll so you have an even circle of dough. Fold the dough into quarters and place it inside a pie plate, unfolding it and fitting it to the pie plate. Allow the pie crust to hang over the edges. Roll out the second/top crust to the same size or a little bit larger and set aside.
- Fill the pie with the cranberry apple pie filling, mounding it up in the middle. Dot the pie filling with small chunks of butter (1-2 Tablespoons). Place the second pie crust on top of the pie filling. Use kitchen scissors to cut the overhang of the pie dough. Gather the edges around, folding the top crust edges under the bottom crust to form a seal for the pie and keep the juices from escaping.
- Place the oven rack in the middle to lower half of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Crimp the edges of the pie and decorate the pie crust as desired. Slice two or more slits in the pie crust to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Whisk a medium egg with a splash of water and spread the egg wash on top of the pie. Sprinkle the top of the pie with a Tablespoon of granulated sugar. Place a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven to catch any dripping from the pie as it bakes. Bake the pie for about 90 minutes until bubbly and brown on top. Put a few pieces of aluminum foil or a pie shield over the pie crust about halfway through if the pie crust is browning too quickly.
- Let the pie cool completely before serving. This is important for the juices to gel together and prevents a soggy pie crust. Cool for about 3 hours. Slice and enjoy!