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.
February 5th, 2015 at 4:03 pm
This looks incredible! Lucky Bryan. :)
February 5th, 2015 at 8:44 pm
“sour cherry pie, which we all know is the greatest form of pie.”
lol, I love the strict right/wrong attitude of the situation. and I agree
February 6th, 2015 at 6:26 am
I totally agree and support your opinion regarding sour cherry pie. I’m happy to see this cranberry pie recipe as there is a huge bag of cranberries in my refrigerator and a lousy weather prediction for the weekend. This pie will be well received.
February 6th, 2015 at 8:39 am
“Behold the healing power of pie” indeed. And I have to agree with your feelings in regards to sour cherry pie… although this one looks incredible! If only I didn’t have such a love hate relationship with making pie crust. :)
February 6th, 2015 at 9:06 am
Erika! Tell me more, I want to hear more about what you don’t like about making a pie crust. I hear it a lot and am curious….
February 6th, 2015 at 11:55 am
My sister says she can’t make a crust either; I think it’s a mental block or something. So easy. I like the spices w/these cranberries…great idea.
February 6th, 2015 at 12:22 pm
This combination sounds amazing…I can’t wait to try this in our nest. I froze some cranberries some time ago and happy to come across this post to try this…viva la pie!
February 6th, 2015 at 3:55 pm
I’m with Erika on the pie crust! It’s a slightly terrifying situation….too much blending=too much gluten; not enough blending=crumbly mess. I think it stems from the pie crust media! THEY have instilled us with fear. I approach pie crust with trepidation every time because of this and, as such, I haven’t made one I’ve been thrilled about yet!
Nora @ Savory Nothings says:
February 7th, 2015 at 2:52 am
Tsk, tsk, cranberry pie belongs on the Thanksgiving table. Joking, I’m Swiss and have no clue about Thanksgiving.
But now seriosuly: If you want people to focus on your delicious winter pie don’t link to videos with sexy Irish accents. At least Ant and Dec were there to save some of my sanity.
February 7th, 2015 at 6:30 pm
I want some!
February 7th, 2015 at 8:24 pm
My trouble when I make pie crust is it not being a soggy or undercooked mess under the pie even though it is flakily and lovely on top
February 8th, 2015 at 11:28 am
Eureka! A good use for dried cranberries besides adding them to oatmeal-y things … Thank you for the terrific idea, and I’m intrigued by the sage. Making this soon.
February 8th, 2015 at 4:29 pm
I made this today and it was insanely good. and crazy beautiful with star cut-outs all over. great recipe!
February 9th, 2015 at 9:49 am
Well I never! (would put sage in a pie) but I trust you so I’m going to give it a try. Here’s to love!
February 9th, 2015 at 9:56 pm
I made this over the weekend, and we loved it! My husband is a big fan of pie, but really only ‘plain pie’. Rhubarb, no strawberries. Apple. Pumpkin. But he likes this one, and I find it much more interesting than ‘plain pie’. Very tempted to buy the cookbook, thanks for sharing this recipe!
J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats says:
February 10th, 2015 at 8:25 am
Herbs in pies are awesome. Strawberry + thyme is a favorite of mine.
February 10th, 2015 at 3:15 pm
Wow, what a great idea to add fresh sage to this pie recipe. I’m always intrigued by such unusual ingredients. Thanks for the recipe.
Lisa McNamara says:
March 9th, 2015 at 10:45 pm
The thing about making your own pie crust is that you kind of have to feel the dough when it’s perfect–and once you do, you’ll always know how to replicate it. Nonetheless, nowadays you can watch instructional videos or cooking shows and they’ll get you close enough so that you can almost feel it. I think using the food processor to cut in the butter (or lard) is a great way to make sure your butter stays nice and cold, but i don’t recommend adding the liquid in the processor–it can get overworked too easily. I like the way Alton Brown does his pie dough–he actually blends in a little of the butter quite fully first, THEN goes on to cut in the remainder of the butter. It yields dough that is both flaky and tender. Cooks Illustrated has the vodka pie crust recipe which i’ve never tried, but have heard that it works really well. And Kenji (over at Serious Eats) also does a terrific job of demystifying dough.
Also, if you want your dough to get nice and brown on the bottom, you have to place it on the lowest oven rack nearest the heating element (if you’re doing a long-cooking fruit pie, that is). If you’re doing custard, or something that doesn’t allow you to keep the pie in the oven long enough for the bottom to brown, i think blind baking is the way to go.
I promise that it is not THAT hard to make good pie crust, and you will feel great when you can bake a pie for someone who loves it.
I have a T-shirt from Moody’s Diner in Maine that proclaims “Pie Fixes Everything!” Yes, indeed it does!