I’ve been so excited to share this Cranberry Maple Apple Crumb Pie recipe I have been working on for Thanksgiving. It has a deep dish whole-grain crust. It is sweetened with maple syrup and has a crunchy nut crumb topping.
I remember the very first time I made a pie by myself. It was for Thanksgiving and I was in my late teens. I followed a recipe for a crumb top apple pie from one of my mom’s old tattered and well loved copy of the Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook. It was one of the few really good cookbooks she left behind when my parents separated, and thank goodness, because you now know Dad and I weren’t exactly killing it in the kitchen yet. I remember following the recipe to a T.
Over the years, my Mom had shown me how to flute the edges, but I was pretty nervous about cutting the fat into the pastry. Looking back, it surely took me all day to do it. But it came out perfectly. Golden brown sweet sugar crumb topping, juicy filling, perfectly browned crust. I was so proud. Then that night at Thanksgiving dinner, I ate way too much. Like exploding pant buttons, and I have to go lie my whale like body down on the couch for a few hours and concentrate on breathing ate too much. I didn’t eat any pie.
Thankfully, there was one piece left and I blissfully had it for breakfast. It was perfection. It was sweet and juicy and crunchy crumbly flaky. All those things that a pie should be.
To this day I actually still prefer my slice of Thanksgiving pie for breakfast. I love the sweetness with my morning coffee. I love actually having an appetite for it too the morning after Thanksgiving. I may even prefer it to all the other left-overs of Thanksgiving. Is that blasphemous to say?
I also think that part of why it was so good to me that year was that I had taken the time to do the whole thing by myself, from scratch. I had that satisfaction of knowing I had the power within me to make something so iconic, and comforting. I also felt so proud that the other folks who’d eaten with us the night before had devoured the rest of the pie. That made me feel kinda awesome. Sharing that with them.
At the risk of getting a little sappy here, I have to say something before I get to the cooks notes. I think the reason so many of us love Thanksgiving so much, and why so many people go beyond the comfort of their tried and true recipes, and easy slow cooker make-it-work-people dinners, and make something a little special is for that feeling, of working really hard on something, sharing it with the people we love, and feeling proud of it.
So this month, in honor of that collective enthusiasm for cooking from scratch and sharing it with our loved ones, you’ll be seeing another pie coming your way. I will also be sharing a killer new Thanksgiving stuffing recipe that is 100% gluten-free. And 100% delicious. I am perfecting it as we speak. I will also be having a guest blogger (or two?) Be sure to check out the Thanksgiving collection of recipes already on the site. And don’t miss this Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free Pie by Fearless Dining for some awesome ideas. Please drop me an email letting me know if you’re looking for something in particular that you can’t find.
Apple Pie Cooks Notes
I had to test this pie a few times to get it just right. Partly, I wanted to balance the sweetness of the maple and the cranberry. And I needed to get just the right amount of juiciness in the filling, while making it easy to serve. I ended up using both flour and cornstarch in the filling for the right amount of thickness. Make sure that you see the filling bubble before pulling it from the oven.
Baking it on the bottom rack ensures a nicely cooked bottom crust that holds up well, with minimal over cooking of the top. I use a higher temp to set the crust so it doesn’t slump, and then reduced it to make sure that it doesn’t over brown before the starches in the filling gelatinize and the apples become tender. If for any reason your crust is becoming too brown around the edges, shield them with a bit of alminum foil or use a pie shield. *
I ended up adding maple sugar to the crumb topping to help bring out the maple flavor. If you can’t find that in your area, you can order some, * or just substitute brown sugar. I also call for Dark Pure maple syrup because it has the most maple flavor. This is what it is called under the new grading system that was just established. It used to be called Grade B. If you can’t find dark in your area you can order some here. *
I really loved the crunch of the almonds, which is surprising since pecans are a favorite around here. Use whatever nut you like though.
This dough is really easy to work with. For more in-depth information about how to make the crust check out this post here about pie crust.
I call for two types of apples. The Macs will break down and become juicy. The firmer apples will hold their texture a bit more. You can read more about my recommendations for which apples to use for what type of cooking in this post from 2011. I think the flavor of two varieties (or more) makes the flavor of the filling more complex.
Do you remember the first time you made a pie?
Do you feel more inspired to cook at Thanksgiving than other times of the year?
Do you love apple pie for breakfast.
Maple-sweetened Apple Crumb Pie with fresh Cranberries. Made with an easy to make whole-grain crust, and simple nut crumb topping for Thanksgiving, apple season and the holidays.
- 1 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon maple sugar or brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or organic canola oil
- 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- 4 large Macintosh apples, 1.75 pounds, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 large firm apples, such as Honey Crisp, Mutsu or Ginger Gold, .75 pounds, peeled cored and sliced
- ¾ cup fresh whole cranberries
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup, dark or amber
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons maple sugar or brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans
- Make crust: Pulse whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, maple sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter, and process until the butter is cut in and the mixture resembles coarse meal. Open lid, drizzle on oil and pulse to combine. Open lid and drizzle on 3 tablespoons ice water. Process until the mixture just comes together. If the mixture seems dry or does not come together as a ball, try squeezing a handful of the crumbs together. If it still won’t come together, add up to 2 more tablespoons water. Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour.
- Arrange oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll dough out to a circle, about 14-inches across. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and crimp edges. Chill crust while you prepare filling.
- Make Filling: Toss Macintosh apples, firm apples, cranberries, maple syrup, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
- Make Topping: Stir whole-wheat flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle butter over the oat mixture, tossing with a fork. Sit until the crumbs are evenly moist. Add almonds and stir to completely combine.
- Fill crust with the apple mixture. Top with the almond crumb mixture and transfer the pie to the bottom rack of the oven. Bake until starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking until the filling bubbles and the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.