Around Thanksgiving, I start to incorporate a lot of cranberries into my baking. While they’re available frozen all year long, they can be found fresh this time of year – and relatively inexpensively, as well. The sweet-tart berries have a flavor that tastes great in everything from homemade cranberry sauce to cranberry muffins, and a bright red color that makes baked goods look unusually festive. You’ve probably baked a few cranberry breads in the course of your holiday baking, but this year you should consider adding Cherry Cranberry Pie to your dessert line up instead.
The pie has a filling that features both cranberries and cherries, for a delicious sweet-tart flavor that really embodies the flavors of the holiday season. I used a mix of cranberries and cherries because cranberries are so tart on their own that I would have needed to add a lot of sugar to the pie filling. By adding in cherries, I introduced a sweeter element that let me keep the added sugar in the pie filling to a minimum. I also included vanilla extract and ground allspice in my filling, both flavors that go exceptionally well with both cherries and cranberries. The filling is bright red and packed with berries, with just enough liquid to make the filling juicy without making it soggy. When paired with a buttery, flaky pie crust, this fruit combination is truly mouthwatering.
Cherries and cranberries aren’t really in season at the same time, so it is unlikely that you’ll find both fresh to use in this pie filling. I used fresh cranberries and jarred sweet cherries in my pie. Sweet cherries, as their name implies, are sweeter than the “tart cherries” that are often used in pie fillings. Sweet cherries, or black cherries, are easy to find jarred and frozen year-round and both will work perfectly here. Jarred cherries should be drained before using them, while frozen cherries can be used frozen. If you don’t have fresh cranberries, you can also use frozen cranberries, which should be used frozen, not defrosted, as well.
The pie needs to cool before you slice it to allow the juices in the filling to thicken up, even though it will smell amazing when it emerges from the oven and you’ll want to dig into it right away. I like it as-is, but it also pairs extremely well with vanilla ice cream, if you have some in your freezer.
Cherry Cranberry Pie
2 1/2 cups pitted cherries (pref. sweet cherries)
2 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 recipe for double crust pie, below
1 egg + 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine cherries, cranberries, cornstarch, allspice, salt, sugar and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined. Set aside.
Roll out one half of the pie dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle just larger than your pie plate. Transfer to pie plate and gently press into place. Pour cherry mixture into pie plate.
Repeat with remaining pie dough and lay sheet on top of the pie filling. Pinch the edges of the crusts together to seal the pie, then crimp the edges with your fingertip. Cut for or five 1-inch long vents in the top of the crust.
In a small bowl, beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush onto the top of the crust.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, until filling is thick and bubbly and crust is a dark golden brown. Wrap a little aluminum foil around the edges of the crust if it gets too dark.
Cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing.
Double Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup butter, cut into 1 inch cubes and chilled
6-8 tbsp ice water
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Toss butter in the flour mixture, then rub in with your finger tips until mixture is coarse and no chunks larger than a small almond remain. Add water and press dough into a ball with the palms of your hands. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if necessary to pull the dough together.
Divide dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to two days.