Rustic Apple-Cranberry Pie Recipe

This rustic pie—also known as a galette—requires no pie plate or shaping skills.

Overhead shot of a galette filled with apple and cranberry.

Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

Why It Works

  • Pie dough is folded up and over the fruit and baked on a baking sheet, avoiding the hassle of shaping the dough in a pie plate.
  • The open center of the pie allows the extra moisture to escape, concentrating the flavor of the fruit filling and keeping the crust from getting soggy.
  • This type of pie creates lots of crispy crust edges.
  • The style of this dessert is rustic, so perfection in appearance is not needed.

Not much can trump a freshly made fruit pie with a homemade crust. But, let's be honest: few of us ever feel like making one. Even for an experienced baker like myself, I still get nervous and occasionally frustrated. Lining the pie plate (or the dreaded deep dish) is a hassle, pretty crimped edges are elusive (I always use too much dough), and then there's the disappointment of cracking into that perfectly shaped top crust only to find a cavernous space over sunken fruit.

Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but I'll never say a double-crusted fruit pie is easy.

For me, a rustic pie—if you want to be fancy you can call it a galette—is a heck of a lot less stressful and no less satisfying. So when I'm not in the mood for an involved baking project, I turn to this version. This type of pie doesn't need a pie plate. All you have to do is roll one sheet of dough, pile the fruit in the center, fold the dough around the fruit, and bake. It's shallower than a regular pie, with a wide open center. This allows for evaporation during baking, so you can have juicy fruit with a crust that stays good and crispy all around. No soggy, under-baked bottom here. And the free-form nature of this pie means it's also very forgiving to shape.

The pie dough itself is also very simple. There's no need to pull out any mixers or food processors here, just a simple basic dough made by cutting butter into flour and adding enough water to bind it. The amount of dough needed for one pie is modest enough to mix by hand, and cutting the bits of cold butter into the flour mix can be easily accomplished with either your fingertips or a pastry cutter. The only key? When adding the water to form the dough, add just barely enough for the dough to become pliable and not dry. The only possible headache with this recipe is if the dough is too dry and crackly when you go to roll it out. If in doubt, simply err on the side of an extra pinch of water.

For the filling, tart baking apples such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or Gala are ideal because they hold their shape when baked, but any good fresh baking apple will do (check out our tests to find the best apples for pies). Fresh cranberries add bite to the sweet-tart filling and before baking, the filling is dotted with butter for rich flavor and texture.

The best part? Because so much liquid evaporates during cooking, this rustic pie has a more concentrated apple flavor and doesn't require the cooling period that big pies often need before slicing. It can go straight from the oven to your mouth. Your dinner guests might not appreciate it, but your belly sure will.

November 2014

Recipe Facts

Active: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 24 ounces (about 4 to 5 medium) baking apples such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or Gala, peeled and cored, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter

Directions

  1. For the Crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into flour using a pastry cutter or by rubbing butter into flour with fingertips (see notes) until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and fold with a rubber spatula until just moistened, pressing dough against itself on the side of the bowl to form a mass of dough. Add up to 1 more tablespoon water if too dry. Do not overmix. Press dough into a 5-inch disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.

  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425°F (220°C). Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Roll dough into a 13- to 14-inch round using a lightly floured rolling pin. As you roll, press outer edges together to prevent the edges from cracking (see notes). Transfer parchment paper and dough to baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.

    Pie dough has been rolled out on a cutting board.

    Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

  3. For the Filling: Combine apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl and toss to combine. Pile fruit filling into center of dough, leaving a perimeter of about 3 inches.

    The apple-cranberry filling has been piled in the center of the rolled out pie dough, leaving a 3-inch margin.

    Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

  4. Fold dough up and around the filling, trying to avoid letting the dough crack (see notes). Dot the fruit with butter. Bake until crust is golden and fruit has softened, 45 to 60 minutes. Let pie cool on pan. Slice and serve. Pie can be stored loosely covered at room temperature overnight.

    The outer margin of dough has been folded and made to overlap so that it partially encases the fruit filling.

    Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

Special Equipment

Rimmed baking sheet, pastry cutter (optional; see notes)

Notes

A pastry cutter is a tool that allows you to cut butter into a flour mixture. If you don't have one, simply rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until all of the flour is slightly moistened and there are no visible pieces of butter remaining. Make sure the flour mixture does not get too warm (refrigerate it periodically as necessary). Alternatively, you can cut the butter into the flour using a mixer. On low speed, mix with a paddle until no visible butter remains.

When rolling out the dough, the edges may have a tendency to crack. Push the cracks together so that you end up with a circular piece of dough with a fairly smooth edge. If the dough begins to crack when folding over the fruit, pinch the cracks together to seal or the fruit juices will seep out when baking.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
276 Calories
13g Fat
37g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 276
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 136mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 125mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)