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Sour Cranberry Pie

yield: 2 small rectangular pies, or a 9-inch double crust pie


For the Lard and Butter Crust

    (makes 2 small rectangular pies, or a 9-inch double crust pie)

    • 1 cup (8 ounces) ice
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) cold water
    • 1/4 cup (2 fl. ounces) apple cider vinegar
    • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon granulated granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick // 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold lard, cut into ½-inch pieces

    For the Sour Cranberry Filling

      (enough for 2 small rectangular pies, or a 9-inch 1 double crust pie)

      • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
      • fresh zest from 1 medium orange
      • 3 1/2 cups (4 pounds) fresh or frozen cranberries
      • 1/4 cup (1.5 ounces) dark brown sugar, tightly packed
      • 1 vanilla bean pod
      • 1/4 cup (4 ounces) cornstarch

      For the Pie

        (enough for 2 small rectangular pies, or a 9-inch 1 double crust pie)

        • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
        • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
        • 1 large egg yolk, gently whisked
        • demerara (or other coarse) sugar, for sprinkling


        For the Lard and Butter Crust

        • Combine 1 cup ice, 1 cup cold water, and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and whisk. Transfer to the refrigerator to keep chilled as you prepare the dry ingredients.
        • In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon. Add 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 cup lard pieces, and toss to over with the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter and lard pieces into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-sized pieces of the fat remain.
        • Remove the ice water mixture (from the 1st step) from the refrigerator and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water over the flour mixture, and use the pastry cutter to cut the water into the flour until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice mixture a couple tablespoons at a time, and continue mixing until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide the ball into two even halves; shape each half into a flat disc. Wrap each disc in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour, preferably overnight.

        For the Sour Cranberry Orange Filling

        • In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and fresh orange zest from 1 medium orange. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until the zest is fully coated in sugar and the sugar becomes fragrant. Set aside.
        • In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine 3 1/2 cups cranberries and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the vanilla beans from the pod and into the pot containing the fruit and sugar. Add the vanilla bean pod, and cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until the cranberries have released their juices, thickening and darkening in color, around 15 minutes.
        • Fish out the vanilla bean pod and transfer the cranberries to a large bowl and immediately whisk in the granulated sugar and orange zest mixture (from the 1st step), followed by 1/4 cup cornstarch. Continue whisking until both are full incorporated into the mixture. Set aside on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

        To Bake the Pie

        • Whisk together 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Before transferring the filling into the pie dough, sprinkle the base of the pie with the flour and sugar mixture. Scoop the cranberry filling over the mixture, and then proceed to cover the filling with the pie’s top crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
        • After the pie has been chilled, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F).
        • Once the oven is preheated and you’re ready to bake the pie, use a pastry brush to brush the egg yolk over the sides and top of the pie crust, before sprinkling with a generous amount of demerara sugar.
        • Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the fruit filling starts to bubble and the crust has browned. If the edges of the pie start to brown faster than the center, cover the edges with aluminum foil.
        • When the pie is finished baking, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 1 hour to let the filling set before serving. Serve warm, with a scoop of ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream to offset the tartness.


        Crust from Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, filling by yours truly
        Makes 2 small rectangular pies, or a 9-inch double crust pie