Recipe: Jessica Kubel’s Apple Cranberry Pie

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Jessica’s Apple-Cranberry Pie earned her a third place ribbon in the fruit category at the Third Annual Good Food Pie Contest.  Keep reading for her story and her recipe…

My name is Jessica Kubel and I was thrilled that my Apple-Cranberry pie won 3rd place in the fruit pie category! A friend had told me about the KCRW pie contest, and I entered as soon as I could. I was a little overwhelmed when I saw so many people and competitors that day!  I love to bake, and desserts are my specialty.  My husband finds it very amusing that I am now winning awards, because when we met, I was not the baking type at all – I could burn water back then!  It took working at Williams-Sonoma and having to demonstrate the cookware for me to really learn how to become a good cook.  I must say how truly honored I am that so many people enjoyed my pie, especially the judges who are culinary professionals.  I am now seriously considering starting my own pie business!

I love anything with cranberries, and I started making an apple-cranberry crisp a few years ago.  I decided to try it as a double-crust pie not long ago, and fell in love with it! The key is to balance the apples with the cranberries just right, otherwise, it is way too tart!  The crust is also a work of art. I use a mix of vodka and water, which keeps the dough from forming too much gluten, and creates a delicious, flaky crust.  When the weather becomes cooler, and summer transitions to fall, the aroma of this pie baking is the essence of autumn. I can’t wait to bake it again!

Keep reading for the recipe…

Apple-Cranberry Pie

Pie Crust

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ sticks cold butter, cubed

½ cup vegetable shortening

¼ cup cold vodka

¼ cup cold water


1 12 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries

1 ¼ cups sugar, divided

¼ cup water

¼ cup apple juice

2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 red gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

2 – 3 tablespoons cornstarch

To prepare dough: Using a food processor, mix 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar until combined.  Add cold butter and shortening, and process until dough starts to form small clumps (about 20 seconds). Make sure dough is evenly distributed around the mixing bowl, and carefully scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the remaining cup of flour and pulse until the mixture is well combined and the mass of dough has been broken up.  Empty the dough into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over the dough.  With a rubber spatula, slowly fold the vodka and water into the dough, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together.  Divide the dough into two balls, and flatten each into a small disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Once the dough is chilled enough, roll out one disk on a lightly floured surface, until dough is slightly larger than the pie dish itself.  Carefully drape the pie dough over the dish, and softly press the dough into the dish.  Allow to par-bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare filling: In a large saucepan, combine cranberries with ¾ cup sugar and water.  Cook over medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until cranberries break down and the sauce becomes jam-like.  Put cranberries in a separate bowl and set aside.  Add the sliced apples to the same hot saucepan.  Add remaining ½ cup of sugar, ¼ cup apple juice, and dried cranberries.  Stir over medium heat for five minutes, or until apples release their juices.  Add the cooked cranberries to saucepan, sprinkle mixture with cornstarch, and stir well until combined.

Pour filling into par-baked pie dough, set aside.  Take out the other disk of dough, and following the same directions as earlier, roll out until slightly larger than the pie dish.  Pinch the dough overhanging the dish along the edge until pie is sealed.  Bake in oven for 30 – 35 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Let pie cool completely before slicing.  Enjoy!