Fennel-Apple-Cranberry Pie

fennel apple cranberry pie

Fennel, apples and cranberries…you think this is an odd combination, but so did I until I tried it.  My inspiration came after competing on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship and being challenged to make a dessert using fennel.  I made fennel rice pudding in a ginger snap tuile, which was well received! Rice pudding in under an hour…they better had received it well! HA!

fennel rice pudding

(isn’t that pretty!)

Flash forward 8 months and here we are…time to watch the show and since I am making all the desserts I made on the show for our watching parties, I had to use fennel! While the pudding was yummy, I wanted to challenge myself to come up with something new. You do that after being on a cooking show….keep going through your head, “what could I have done differently, better, more creative?”  Tada….pie!

Enjoy and let me know what you think? Send me a picture of your pie and it may end up on my blog!

Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. fine salt
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold
  • 12 Tbs. unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 tsp. creme bouquet
  • 1 tsp. Mexican vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water

Sift together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Pour into a food processing bowl and add shortening and butter.  Pulse 8-10 times, until butter and shortening are starting to break into small pieces and coated with flour mixture.  Add the vanilla and creme bouquet and pulse to just combine.  Add water, one TBS. at a time and pulse until the mixture comes together forming a dough.  Pour out dough and bring together into a ball (work quickly, so the heat from your hands does not melt the butter).

When it comes together, stop working it, otherwise the dough will end up being tough.  You should still be able to see bits of butter in the dough. Divide the dough in half, flatten and form in disk shapes. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.  When ready to use, roll out each disk on a floured surface into a 10-11 inch circle to make a 9 inch pie. I roll mine on a piece of floured plastic wrap, which makes it easy to lift and flip into my pie pan.

Pie ingredients:

  • 3 cups apples (half granny smith and half honey crisp), peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
  • 1 cup fennel, cut into 1X1/8 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. butter, cold and cubed
  • 2 Tbs. Half-n-half
  • 2-3 Tbs. raw sugar

Combine all the ingredients, but the butter, in a large mixing bowl.  Pour all the ingredients into a prepared pie pan and top with cubed butter.  Place top crust over mixture or cut into strips and create a woven pattern.  Crimp edges and brush crust with half-n-half and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. If doing a complete top crust, vent top before baking.

Cover edges of crust with a crust shield or foil and bake at 450* for 15 minutes.  Lower oven to 350* and continue cooking for 30-35 minutes.  I also bake my pies on a baking sheet so if any juices overflow they will not get my oven messy!