Cranberry Sage Pie

I'm going to tell you right now that I haven't worked with fresh cranberries until now. Only frozen or dried. Crazy, right? I can't really remember seeing fresh cranberries in store when I was younger but I think that's because cranberries were not on my radar. Around Christmas time here in Canada (and around Thanksgiving in the States), bags of fresh cranberries are everywhere. I must not have been very attentive as a kid.

I've already used cranberries in a couple posts this Christmas season (these macarons and this tart) but those both used frozen, although you could totally use fresh. But this recipe is aaaalll about the fresh cranberries.

You might think, "Woah, hey now, cranberry and sage sound pretty...savoury. What's goin' on here?". But let me assure you, this is a sweet pie. The sage just adds a little herby note at the end while the cranberries take center stage in all their tart glory. A little hint of warm spices in there, a bit of apple to cut the tartness of the berries, and a good amount of white and brown sugar to make sure you're not making that sour face. You know, the "eyebrows raised, squinty eyes, and puckered lips" face. 

I just made that face right now while trying to describe it.

I really do love pies. They're simple and rustic, but just so darn delicious that they need no fancy-ing up. I like making refined and fancy desserts, I really do. But sometimes I love making a good ol' pie that embodies warm fires and blankets and Christmas music. And that's what this is. 

It's also a lovely coincidence that cranberries and sage are wonderfully natural Christmas colours. That's enough reason to make this pie. 

So make this pie, get the kettle on, and get cozy. It's going to be a good time.

Cranberry Sage Pie

Pie Crust

350 g pastry flour
100 g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
226 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
60 g vegetable shortening, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
114 g water, ice cold
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Recipe adapted from Food52

1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
115 g granulated sugar
100 g light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
700 g fresh or frozen cranberries
1 small apple 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Eggwash and coarse sugar for finishing

For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find bigger chunks, smear them between your fingers.

Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar  to the flour-fat mixture on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.

Turn off the mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time. 

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into two flat circles, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang. 

If you wish to make a lattice top, take out the second disk of dough from the fridge. Roll the disk out in a roughly rectangular shape to a thickness of 1/8th inch. Using a ruler, cut 8 strips of dough, each about 1 inch wide. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the fridge.

Chill the dough-lined pie tin while you make the filling.

For the filling, combine the sage, both sugars, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

Use a food processor to roughly chop 350 g of the cranberries. Add them to a large bowl along with the whole cranberries. Using a box grater, shred the apple and add to the cranberries. 

Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the fruit and toss to coat the berries and apple evenly. 

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with the vanilla extract. Add to the berry mixture and stir to combine. Transfer the filling to the pie crust and create the lattice or your desired crust top. Chill for 15 minutes.

Carefully brush the pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.

Position a rack in the lower third of your oven. Place it on a baking sheet on the rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack in the center of your oven and bake for a further 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until cooled completely, about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 350 F oven for a few minutes.