In the wintertime, colorful fruits, aside from citrus, are few and far between.
Cranberries appear in early fall and are the perfect berry to pair with apples and
pears, but we wanted to feature them in their own right. Sage often appears on a
holiday table in roasted stuffing, but why not give it some attention in the dessert
8 to 10 people
coarsely chopped fresh sage
packed light brown sugar
teaspoon kosher salt
whole cranberries, fresh or frozen (two 10-ounce bags)
small baking apple, such as Northern Spy or Golden Delicious
large egg, lightly beaten
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
This pie uses our All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch double-crust pie: http://food52.com/recipes/24906-all-butter-crust-recipe
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 plump while making the remaining 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 the desired amount of 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.
Sisters Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen were born and raised in the rural farm town of Hecla, South Dakota. Their mother and her sisters owned and operated the popular local restaurant, the Calico Kitchen, for which their grandmother Liz made all the pies. After pursuing different careers—Melissa in finance and Emily in sculpture and photography—they established their business in Brooklyn. They originally custom-baked pies in their apartment before opening Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie and coffee shop in 2010. Named “Artisan of the Year” by Time Out New York in 2011, they have received critical praise for their pies and have been featured in a variety of food media including the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and New York magazine.