I am beyond excited to finally share my favorite classic apple pie with cranberries recipe with you. It’s a little different then my grandma’s apple pie, which my mother also made, but it’s still quite traditional and by all means my favorite. Favorite enough that, even me, as a non-dessert person, loves it. It’s not too sweet, but sweet enough. And I am willing to bet if you are a fan of German Apple Crumble Cake (Omas Apfelkuchen mit Streusel) then you will also enjoy this apple pie recipe. ps) And this recipe is fantastic with or without the cranberries.
There are two essences to a good apple pie — 1) the crust 2) the filling
And there are endless ways to make either of them. I like a classic, flaky crust, which means in this case lots of butter! My family recipe always used pure old-fashioned shortening or lard which of course makes the most flakiest of crusts. At Christmas time I may swap out a tablespoon or so of the butter for lard, only because we do a traditional Canadian-style Christmas dinner with turkey and all the workings, which includes extra crispy potatoes baked with lard. So if it’s on hand, I use it. My crust also uses white spelt flour (and sometimes a mix of whole spelt flour) since I usually bake with spelt or a selection of gluten-free flours. But the most important thing I love about this crust is that there is no blind-baking! I just pop it in the oven – ONCE!
So what’s the secret to a perfect pie filling?
Fresh, tart apples! The perfect apple pie filling is not too sweet. It has just the right amount of tartness to balance the added richness of the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. And adding a few tablespoons of thickener, such as flour or arrowroot powder is absolutely necessary to creating a thick filling from all the juices the apples release. So head to your local farmers market, you will get the BEST apples there. Plus, they are cheaper and fresher! Perfect for any apple cake or pie recipe!
Classic Apple Pie with Cranberries
A simple recipe for delicious, classic American apple pie made with spelt flour and fresh cranberries. Use frozen or omit the cranberries, if not available. One pie amounts to ca. 10 servings.
For the pie crust:
- 2 1/2 cups spelt flour (Type 630) (325 g)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon organic raw cane or beet sugar
- 250 g frozen unsalted butter (see tips below)
- 9-10 tablespoons ice cold water
For the filling:
- 6 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used Elstar; Braeburn or Boskop are also good choices, or a mix of all three)
- 100 g fresh cranberries
- 1 x 8 g package organic vanilla sugar
- 60 g spelt flour
- 100 g organic raw cane or beet sugar
- 60 g soft brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (Ceylon)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and sugar.
Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour. Continue by cutting the butter into the flour with a fork or a pastry cutter until well incorporated and mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Add the water and use your hands to combine until forms a dough. Do not over-knead! If the dough is too wet, then add a sprinkle of flour. Or too dry add a little more water.
Form into a ball, dust with flour, and flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or freeze for 30 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Place the diced apples and cranberries in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla sugar and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the flour mixture over apples and toss until evenly coated.
Take 2/3 of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface in a thin layer large enough to line the bottom and sides of the pie dish.
Butter the pie dish and carefully arrange the thin pie dough in it (this is quite easy with floured fingertips). Trim any excess dough and crimp the edges of the crust with your fingers or use a fork to decorate. Cut large slits in the crust to let the steam escape.
Transfer the apple mixture to the pie dish. Spread out evenly.
Take the other piece of dough (and trimmed dough) out of the fridge and roll into a circle large enough to cover the apples. Place the rolled dough over top. Crimp the edges with a fork or flute with your fingers, sealing the top and bottom crust together.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack before serving (or enjoy slightly warm). This apple pie keeps well at room temperature (covered) for 24 hours, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- I grate frozen butter over the flour, as it speeds up the process and keeps your dough nice and cold which helps make for an amazingly, flaky, beautifully browned pie crust.
- Choose freshly picked firm and slightly tart apples. If the apples are small, then use eight instead of six.
- Fresh cranberries can be found in larger supermarkets like Rewe or Edeka from early October until sometime after the Christmas season.
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