I am here to suggest you make someone you love a pie. Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a member of your family, maybe it’s Jamie Dornan —I don’t really care who it is (unless you actually know Jamie Dornan, in which case please send my regards along with the pie). It’s February. Love is in the air and what better way to show it than with a homemade pie?
I made the bold decision (according to Bryan) this past Thanksgiving not to serve pie. I made a plate of profiteroles  instead. I have no regrets, other than the fact that my traditionalist of a husband was a little disappointed. Not that he didn’t love the profiteroles, he was just worried it wasn’t Thanksgiving without pie (It was.). So, I made him a pie the following week and all was forgiven. Behold: the healing power of pie.
It wasn’t any pie, it was this stupendous recipe from Four & Twenty Blackbirds. I like to think of this pie as the winter equivalent of sour cherry pie, which we all know is the greatest form of pie. This has a lot of that same red fruit tart/sweetness, which contrasts so beautifully with the buttery crust. Don’t worry about the sage being too weird, it is subtle and nicely complicates things. Bryan and I both agreed that this is one of our favorite pies ever. Ever. It would be a good choice for you to make for someone you love, or someone you want to love. Or for yourself, because really who is more deserving of your love?
Cranberry and Sage Pie (from Four & Twenty Blackbirds )
- pie crust for double crust pie (use your favorite, though theirs is quite nice and available here )
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons ground arrowroot
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 small baking apple, such as Northern Spy or Golden Delicious
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
- Demerara sugar, for finishing
Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan and pastry round or lattice to top.
In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over the dried cranberries to cover by about an inch. Allow them to soak while making the rest of the filling.
In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the chopped sage, granulated and brown sugars, salt, arrowroot, cinnamon, and allspice. Process until the sage is fully blended. Pour the sugar mixture into a large bowl. Use the same food processor bowl to briefly process 2 cups of the whole cranberries to a rough chop; add them, along with the remaining 2 cups whole cranberries, to the sugar mixture. Peel the apple and shred on the large holes of a box grater. In a colander, drain the plumped dried cranberries of excess water, but do not press or squeeze them out. Add the shredded apple and the drained dried cranberries to the bowl with the rest of the filling and mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract and egg, and mix well.
Pour the filling into the refrigerated pie shell, arrange the lattice or pastry round on top, and crimp as desired. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425° F.
Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat; if your pie has a lattice top, be careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry (it will burn). Sprinkle with some demerara sugar. Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375° F, move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 35 to 45 minutes longer. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep for 3 days refrigerated or for up to 2 days at room temperature.