High Country Baking: A sweet and spicy apple pie recipe that is sure to please
I’ve never met an apple pie I didn’t like and this one is a standout … worthy of a place at your holiday table. Instead of the typical combination of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, this recipe mixes apples with gingersnaps and orange marmalade and adds dried cranberries or raisins. The result is sweet and spicy — more like commercial mincemeat. Its success depends on selecting flavorful gingersnaps, good marmalade and tasty baking apples.
The pie comes together quickly. If you have pie dough in the freezer or use a commercial one, you’ll have this in the oven in about 30 minutes. If you don’t want a lattice top, use a full-top crust instead, it’ll just be harder to determine when the apples are fully baked because you won’t be able to access them.
Sweet and spicy apple pie
Make in a 9-inch standard glass pie pan (not deep dish)
Works at any elevation
- Your favorite pie dough for a two-crust pie
- 1 ½ pounds baking apples
- 1/3 cup sweet orange marmalade
- 9 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- ½ cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
- tablespoon heavy whipping cream or half and half
Get ready: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease the bottom of the pie pan.
Prepare the crust: Divide your pie dough into two equally sized discs. Roll one out and use it to line the glass pie pan. Crimp the edges decoratively and put the pan in the refrigerator. Roll the second disc of dough into a 9-½-inch circle. Cut it into six 3/4-inch strips, slide the dough onto a baking sheet and stick it in the freezer.
Prepare the filling: Peel and core the apples, then cut them into cubes one-third of an inch in size. Don’t make them any bigger or they won’t be fully baked when the rest of the pie is done. Put the sweet orange marmalade and eight tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a mixing bowl and stir briefly to combine. Add the apple cubes and stir/toss them to coat them with marmalade/sugar combination. Sprinkle the gingersnap crumbs over top and stir or toss to distribute them evenly in the mixture. Add the cranberries and do the same.
Add filling to crust: Spoon the filling into the dough-lined pie pan until it is ¼ inch from the top of the crimped edge of the dough. The filling should be level in the pan and should fill it completely (check for holes or spaces around the crimped edge). You may have some of the filling left over, depending on the size of your pie pan. Remove the dough circle from the freezer. If it is stiff, let it warm a little, so the dough strips bend slightly without breaking but are still easy to pick up. Place three of the strips across the pie, spacing them an equal distance apart. Cut the ends so they just meet the crimped edge of the bottom crust and press them into it. Place the remaining three strips of dough across the first three at a 45-degree angle to one another and do the same. If any dough is left, cut it into small shapes and place them decoratively on the lattice top. In a small bowl, mix the cream or half and half with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and brush it over the dough strips and the crimped edge of the pie dough.
Bake: Place the pie on a baking sheet and place both in the oven. Bake until the crust is golden, and the filling is thick and bubbly, 40-47 minutes. If the crust browns before the filling is completely baked, tent a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top and continue baking until the filling is done. Check by carefully removing a chunk of apple and taking a bite; it should be soft.
Cool, serve, and store: Remove the pie to a cooling rack and cool completely. The pie cuts most easily when it is entirely cool. It is good served at room temperature or warmed (place slices in a 325-degree oven or a microwave until warm to the touch.) Ice cream is a delightful accompaniment to the warmed pie. Store the first day at cool room temperature and keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Editor’s note: This recipe is inspired by one published in Bon Appetit.
Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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