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Apple-Cranberry Crumb Pie

Yum yum! This pie is definitely a home run for Thanksgiving dinner.

(American) Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple weeks. Are any of you in a frenzy of recipe testing and stocking up on…stock, and other goodies? I’m not. Perhaps I should be, as we’re having Chris’ family over for Thanksgiving this year, which will be our first Thanksgiving with them as well as our first Thanksgiving together in the great US of A. But I figure, after cooking Thanksgiving dinner in China with nary a cooking appliance except a couple of toaster ovens and a hot plate, cooking for this year’s meal, with a full kitchen, ought to be a cinch. (Right? Right?)

That being said, I am starting to get a bit excited. The piles of squashes at the supermarket, the sweet smell of apples, fresh cranberries at the grocery store (a product of Canada, my homeland, no less), and the scent of spices in the air have kind of got me looking forward to the holiday season.

The only thing missing is the briskness in the air. Yes, the sun is shining on this November day on the Central Coast of California, the trees are still freshly green (with just a hint of tawny colors), and I plan to ride my bicycle to the farmer’s market this afternoon. It feels a bit strange that it’s still so nice out. I mean, there should be frost in the air. Dried piles of leaves. Maybe a hint of snow. It’s November, for goodness sake!

Of course, I’ll be eating my words when I go back to Toronto to visit in February and I’m snowed under 20 feet of snow. Maybe not. The climate’s been so temperamental lately.

Anyway, I’d rather eat this pie. It is definitely a keeper. The best of a pie and a crumble combined, with the tartness of cranberries perfectly complementing the juicy apples. It’s got the perfect combo of crunch and sloppy jamminess.

You can use a pre-made pie shell, which does make it faster and easier to pull together, but I don’t keep pre-frozen piecrust around the house, so I made my own. I also made my own super easy cranberry sauce, but canned is fine too. You can really cut down on the steps by using a few premade ingredients, if you’re pressed for time (and who isn’t at Thanksgiving dinner). However, I really, really, really, liked how it turned out with all homemade ingredients.

I like using Fuji apples – they keep their shape but still have good flavor, but you can use your favorite baking apple.

Apple-Cranberry Crumb Pie
Adapted from Epicurious

Crumb Topping
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup oatmeal
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Apple-Cranberry Filling
5 cups Fuji apples, cut into chunks (about 4 large or 6 small)
2 cups whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch

1 9-inch deep-dish frozen pie shell, unthawed, or your own pie shell recipe

1. If you made your own pie crust, put it in the freezer while you assemble the other ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat – it will catch any leaking juices from the pie.

2. Mix together the dry ingredients for the crumb topping. Rub the chilled butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips, until it resembles coarse meal with some larger bits about the size of peas.

3. Mix together the ingredients for the filling, and pour into the chilled pie shell, mounding in the center. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the pie. Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes, until topping is browned and filling is bubbling. Cool and serve.

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