Apple Cranberry 3D Pies

 There’s many things I love about baking… too many to list, but to name a few… I love that it’s a creative outlet and a creative process. From the conception of a recipe, to the execution, to the presentation, to the styling, to the editing, and if you happen to have a food blog, to the ways in which you share your craft. It’s so inspiring to see other bloggers create gifs or videos.
You have control and there’s so many opportunities to make it outstanding in one way or another. For a semi-perfectionist like myself, I believe in the possibility of reaching perfection when you bake. I love its memory-evoking powers, as all food has. The first thing I ever baked… if you stuff Anna Olson’s Very Berry Cupcakes into my mouth, I’ll be transported back in time when I was eight. If you stuff a St. Martin’s Croissant into my mouth (and please do)… well, I’ll be transported back to Poznan, at least in my mind. I love that you can use food to show your appreciation, because there’s time and effort inherent in whatever you make. In this case, you can make a bad joke with baking as well.

I don’t usually bake things for my professors, and it would probably be weird for us both if I just jumped into their office holding chocolate cake (but then again a small part of me asks what’s wrong with that?!)… but my friends thought it’d be nice to do something for our stats prof, since it was his first year teaching and we wanted to show our appreciation.
I remember he made it clear in the beginning of the semester how 3D pies are evil and how he would never mention it again, or something along those lines………. so, I wanted to change his mind with these 3D pies.

I underestimated the time and it actually took longer than expected– 2 hours– because of the peeling, dicing,  rolling, cutting and lattice-weaving that’s required in this recipe. So it’s a bit more labor intensive than my usual loaf recipes, or bread recipes where you just let time do its magic.

The pie crust is vegan and made with coconut oil– only because I had no butter. I’m quite a novice at pastry, actually, so I prefer to use butter and those standby recipes. Puff pastry, laminated doughs, flaky pie crusts, they all intimidate me. I’ve never made a pie crust I’ve been truly happy with. They’re always missing that flaky, melt in your mouth aspect.

This coconut oil crust turned out to be flakier than expected, and more on the sturdy side than the tender side. It makes for an ideal capsule to hold the soft, fragrant apple pie filling.

Apple Cranberry 3D Pies

  • Servings: at least 8 mini pies
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print
Source: crust from Food 52, pies adapted from seriouseats 
For the crust
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (more as necessary) coconut oil, cool enough to be solid
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cane or demerara sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon, mixed
For the filling
  • 5-6 large apples (I used Fuji, you can use a combination of your favourite apples); washed, peeled,cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
For the filling
  1. Over medium heat in a large saucepan, cook your apples and add brown sugar, water, and spices.
  2. When the apples have softened, stir in your dried cranberries. Dissolve the cornstarch using a small portion of hot water and add to the mixture.
  3. Let the mixture bubble away until cornstarch has all dissolved and the apples are fork-tender.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature.
For the crust 
  1.  Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine. Add your solid coconut oil and pulse until mixture is crumbly and will stick together when you squeeze it. Pulse in 1/3 cup water, or until the dough holds together well when you make a handful of it and is visibly starting to come together in the food processor. It’s fine to have a lot of crumbs still–that’ll make a good, flaky crust–but it should be easy to shape into a large ball, too. If necessary, add a little more water until the texture is right. Alternately, you can cut the oil into very small pieces and work them into the flour with bare, dry hands. Add the water and knead the whole mixture together until it has the texture described a moment ago.
  2. Turn dough onto a clean, dry surface that has been dusted with flour. If you’re not ready to use the crust, shape it into a flat ball, wrap with saran, place in a freezer bag, and freeze. If you are ready to use it but not this very second, you can store it in the fridge till it’s time to bake.

When you’re ready to bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Take the dough out for 10 minutes, or until it’s soft enough to roll with a rolling pin. An easy way is to place the crust between two layers of wax/parchment paper. Roll until the dough is 1/16 inch thick. Use a 3 inch cutter to cut out rounds of the dough. You can either re-roll your scraps (which I tend to avoid), or cut straight from the scraps. Use your knife to cut out 1/4 inch wide strips.
  3. Depending on how many pie crust rounds you have, use half of it to line a well-greased muffin tin, pressing the dough firmly.
  4. Cut vertical strips of 1/4 inch width out of the remaining rounds.
  5. Fill the cups to the top with filling. For the top of the crust, form a lattice by placing 5 strips vertically, and 5 strips horizontally. Weave the strips together, trim off any excess, and seal the edges to the crust.
  6.  Brush the top with the egg wash, and sprinkle generously with demerara sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  7. Bake pies for 20 minutes, then rotate and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Remove when the top is golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then gently remove pies from tins using an offset spatula. Enjoy!


    1. thank you 🙂 ! and no no, it’s a great question– it’s because these were for my stats professor, and he hated 3D pie graphs because of the way information gets distorted, so I called them 3D pies to be somewhat cheeky : )

      Liked by 1 person


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