Our tale begins one fateful day at Wal-mart. Our hero was shopping, consulting her scribbled list of recipe ideas while wheeling around one of those gi-normous metal carts through the produce isles. She was on a quest for brussel sprouts. You see, dear reader, our hero had it in her mind that she was going to make two dishes using brussel sprouts.
But as fate would have it, there were no brussels sprouts to be found that day.
“Curses!” Cried our hero, as she threw down her notebook onto the linoleumed floor. (Note: this story may be dramatized for entertainment purposes.) “My brussel sprouts dreams have been foiled. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”
She then noticed an end cap full of bright red berries in not-too-small plastic bags.
Hmm, cranberries? She wondered to herself…. I’ve had cranberry juice and craisins. What could I do with cranberries? And, like, do these things have pits like cherries or what’s going on with these exactly?
She bravely bought a bag of beautiful berries and set out to try something (gasp) unplanned. She made cookies, and scones, and pie. And they were all wonderful, and perfectly tart, pit-less, and most importantly: delicious.
For the crust: 2 1/2 cup flour, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup shortening and 1/4 cup cold water.
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the shortening and use your (clean) hands to mix together until course and crumbly. Add the water and mix into a dough ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
For the filling: 3 granny smith apples, 3 ounces cranberries, 2 ounces chopped pecans, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
In a bowl combine the sugar, flour, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Peel, core and finely slice up your apples, stir them in with the milk-sugar batter. Chop up some of the cranberries and leave some whole (if you’re totally into the rustic look, like me. ha!) add them to the milk-sugar batter too. Now mix in the nuts.
Divide your chilled dough into one dough ball that is 2/3 of the whole and one that is 1/3 of the whole. The small dough ball is for our top-of-the-pie decor, so hang on to that. The larger ball roll out it out into your pie pan size. Place it into the greased pie pan. Fill with apple mixture. Top with remaining dough, you could do cut-out hearts (like mine) or you could do lattice or whatever your heart desires.
Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes. Serve warm with a big scoop of (butter pecan) ice cream.