Using two fruits in your pie filling can boost the flavor, and if you cook them separately, you can even create decorative effects, like piping this cranberry filling on top of the apple to create a swirl. For a more rustic look, just dollop the fillings into the pie crust with a spoon, alternating flavors as you work, then swirl them together with the tip of a paring knife or a wooden skewer. Just smooth the surface with a spatula before baking.
—Erin Jeanne McDowell
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 38 minutes
- Makes one 9-inch pie
3 1/2 pounds
(1.59 kilograms) apples, such as Pink Lady, Rome, Jonagold, or McIntosh, peeled, cored, and diced
(159 grams) light brown sugar
freshly grated nutmeg
freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups
(150 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw if frozen)
(99 grams) granulated sugar
(28 grams) cornstarch
par-baked pie crust, cooled completely
- In a large pot, toss the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and cider to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the apples release their liquid and become very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender (or transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor) to blend until smooth. Return to the pot. Use a ladle to measure out 1 cup (158 grams) of the apple mixture into a medium pot. Cook the larger quantity of apple butter over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until it reduces slightly, about 15 minutes.
- While the apple butter cooks, stir the cranberries and honey into the pot with the smaller quantity of apple butter and heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the cranberries break down completely, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Use the immersion blender (you can use the same one—no need to rinse first—or transfer the mixture to the same blender or food processor) to blend the cranberry mixture until smooth. Set aside.
- When the apple butter has thickened, whisk the granulated sugar and cornstarch together to combine. Sprinkle this mixture over the surface of the apple butter, then whisk well to incorporate. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture visibly thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the hot apple butter into the par-baked pie crust and spread into an even layer. Use a spoon to drizzle the cranberry filling over the apple filling and use a skewer or the tip of a paring knife to gently swirl the two together to combine.
- Bake in a 375°F oven until the filling appears matte and set on the surface and the crust is deeply golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.