Rustic Apple-Cranberry Pie

August 30, 2017

Tart cranberries combine with fresh Granny Smith apples and cinnamon in this homemade pie that is bursting with flavor.  But it is the smooth pastry cream layered between the crust and fruits that makes this pie something special for a year-round dessert.  

COOK + BAKE   |   Published August 30, 2017

Fall Apple Pie with Cranberries

Stop for just a moment and breath in....can you smell that?  That's right......Fall is in the air.  The weather has already started turning cooler here, school is back in session, and with the Labor Day holiday this weekend, we can officially say that the summer is over.  (Insert sad face here!)

Although I'm very much a summer girl loving the hot weather and sunshine, I also readily welcome the start of autumn.  After the rush of a season filled with activities, vacations, and working outdoors, it is nice to slow down and do a little exploring.  I enjoy seeing the vibrant colors and adding layers and texture back into my home and wardrobe.  And there is nothing like the scents and flavors that accompany the season.

Basket of Granny Smith Apples

I don't do much baking during the heat of the summer, but I start to get the urge again as soon as I can sense fall.  And one of the first ingredients I reach for to use in a recipe is apples.  Fresh fruit picked straight from the tree always has the best taste and most apples are at their peak in September.

There are so many ways to use this seasonal fruit and I love finding new and inventive recipes that incorporate their flavor into my baking.  Today I'm excited to be joining in with a very talented group of bloggers to kick off a monthly series featuring recipes for the upcoming holidays.  Kristen from Ella Claire Inspired has organized everything and it is an honor to be included.

For this first post, we are all sharing a fall apple recipe and I'm sure you are going to be rushing to the market to pick up fruit to try some of them.  Links to everyone's recipes appear at the end of this post.

Slice of Apple Cranberry Pie on White plate

There are not many recipes I've made over the years that I return to again and again.  But years ago, I found the recipe for this Apple-Cranberry Pie created by Alan Carter in an issue of Better Homes and Gardens and have never fell more in love with a dessert recipe than I have with this one.  Aside from altering the ratio of fruits from the original recipe, there has been no need to make any other adjustments to his perfect pie.

The pairing of the tart granny smith apples and cranberries with the cinnamon and allspice is delicious.  But what really makes this pie special is a smooth pastry cream filling that is spread across the bottom crust.  It makes this more than just a recipe for a fruit pie and turns it into a special dessert.

Apple Cranberry Pie Ingredients

There are a few extra steps to making this pie, but is it so seriously worth the time that you'll spend putting it together.  Making the pastry cream and pie crust should be done at least the day before you need it because they both have to chill.

To make things a bit simpler, you can use a refrigerated pie crust instead of making your own.  Although, I highly suggest you try the recipe included here for the crust at least the first time you make the pie.  It has a flavor that really compliments the taste of the fruits and browns beautifully.

Homemade Pie Crust

This is a rustic type of pie, so you don't need to have any fancy crust making skills for it to still turn out beautiful.  Honestly, it is hard to control how this pie looks when it comes out of the oven because it is so packed full of fruits that the shape takes on a life of it's own as the ingredients cook down.

Best of all, baking this pie fills your home with the incredible fall scents of apples and spice which I find makes a home seem cozy and comforting.....just what you want for the autumn season.  And because cranberries are a fruit that start to show up fresh a little later in the fall and into the Christmas holiday, this pie actually becomes a perfect dessert for anytime during the rest of the year.  (Feel free to use frozen cranberries while the fresh ones are out of season.)

I am confident that this is a pie that you can feel confident in making and serving to your friends, family, and guests this fall.  Add a scoop of ice cream, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy!

Apple Cranberry Pie on Rack

Slice of apple cranberry pie

So let's get baking, shall we?


Adapted from Alan Carter's recipe in Better Homes & Gardens, November 2010
Makes 10 servings


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup and 3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  • 2 pie crusts (recipe appears below)
  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1  1/2 cups cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1  1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon whipping cream


  1. In a medium mixing bowl beat the egg yolks, 3 Tablespoons of sugar, cornstarch, and salt until combined.  
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Cook over medium heat until bubbles start forming on the edges.  
  3. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup of the hot milk into your egg yolk mixture, then quickly beat in the remaining milk.  
  4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.  Cook and stir continually over medium heat until it thickens to a cream and comes to a boil.  
  5. Remove from the heat; stir in the butter and vanilla until combined.  
  6. Transfer the cream to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap.  Cool it on your counter and then store in the refrigerator for up to three days.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out pastry on a floured work surface to a circle of about 14 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thickness.  Butter a 9-inch deep dish pie tin or plate and then transfer the dough without stretching it.  (The butter acts like glue, bonding the crust to the pan and stopping the fruit juice from sneaking underneath the crust.)  Trim pastry even with the rim of the dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberries, and lemon juice.  In another bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.
  3. Spread the pastry cream over the bottom crust.  Toss the apples and cranberries with the dry ingredients and pile them over the pastry cream.  Roll the top crust portion of dough to a 12 inch circle (again at a 1/4 inch thickness) and place it over the apples.  Trim to 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pie plate.  Fold top pastry under bottom pastry and crimp the edge as desired.  Cut four small slits into the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  4. Combine a beaten egg and whipping cream and brush it over the entire pastry.  Place the pie on a foil lined baking sheet.  Because there is so much fruit in the pie, it is likely that you'll get juices that bubble out.  You'll need the pan to catch the juices and the foil will make clean up easier.
  5. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes.  If necessary, cover the edges of the pie crust with foil to prevent over-browning.  Cool the pie on a wire rack and then store in the refrigerator.  You must allow the pie to completely cool before cutting it so that the juices have a chance to set up.


  • 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups, cold unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup ice-cold water
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar


  1. In a very large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, kosher salt, and baking powder.  
  2. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter leaving chunks the size of peas.  (You could also use a food processor.)  
  3. Combine the ice-cold water, sour cream, and vinegar in a separate bowl and then add it all at once to the flour mixture.  Quickly stir to distribute; do not over-mix.  The dough should be slightly crumbly.  
  4. Divide the dough into three portions which you should shape into a disk.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.  The finished dough should break apart and not stretch.   

The dough can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to one month and thawed overnight in the refrigerator.


Homemade Apple Cranberry pie with golden crust


Which ones do you want to try?

Fall Apple Desserts

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls by Ella Claire   |  Rustic Apple Cranberry Pie by Anderson and Grant   | 

Apple Cranberry Slab Pie by Inspired by Charm |  Apple Donuts by A Burst of Beautiful |
Caramel Apple Tart by Julie Blanner

Fall Apple Desserts

Easy Apple Dumplings by Craftberry Bush   |  Apple Crisp by House 214 Design |
Apple Cider Scones by Everyday Occasions   |   Apple Fritter Skillet Bake by Nest of Posies   |
 Rustic Apple Tarte Tatin by Maison de Pax
Apple Recipes for Autumn

Paleo Apple Crisp by Nesting with Grace   |  Crock Pot Applesauce by My Sweet Savannah   |
Gluten Free Apple Crisp by City Farmhouse |  Baked Breakfast Apples with Oatmeal by French Country Cottage   |  Apple Blossom with Salted Caramel Sauce by Nina Hendrick Design

Fall Apple Recipes

No Churn Apple Pie Ice Cream by Boxwood Avenue   |  Bird's Nest Apple Pie by Zevy Joy  | 

Apple Upside Down Spice Cake by Love Grows Wild

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