Apple Cranberry Crisp

Apples are our ingredient of the season. We love to eat them, but we also love to preserve them, drink them, and craft with them!

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It’s about time we shared the staple of all apple desserts ~ a crisp! What’s not to love? They are packed with fruit, covered in a hearty and nutty oat crumb. With the right combination of sugar and salt you can get that irresistible sweet yet salty flavor. Still warm, they make vanilla ice cream melt to produce a delicious sweet cream running through every bite. You can totally eat them for breakfast with plain yogurt and know you’re getting your day off to a great start. Or is that just me?

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I made this crisp yesterday. It was our first unbelievably cold day of the season that also blanketed us with snow. A perfect day for finding any reason to stick close to the stove. So I did a whole bunch of cooking and baking. One of the recipes I cooked earlier in the day resulted in boiled cranberries that were then filtered out of that recipe (that’s vague, but you’ll get the full details next week!). The berries looked so perfect that I thought it wouldn’t hurt to experiment and see if I could re-use them in a crisp. I used my standard crisp recipe, it’s a simplified version of something I found in the King Arthur Baker’s Companion (my go-to for all sorts of standard baked goods).  While I don’t do it every time, I’ll often add fresh cranberries to the crisp, luckily, yesterday’s “used” cranberries still had a lot of flavor and worked just as well as fresh ones. 
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Filling Ingredients

  • 5-6 apples, or enough to fill a pie dish, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (I even leave some whole)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, separated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, separated
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Crumble Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup not packed down)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 8 Tbsp butter

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How-To

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and heavily butter your pie dish (I will use about 2 Tbsp of butter and leave any excess within the pan).
  • Place all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix vigorously then transfer to the buttered pie dish.
  • Place all topping ingredients in a food processor and mix until crumbly. If you don’t have a processor, you can mix everything except the butter and walnuts, then cut in the butter and once crumbly lightly mix in the walnut pieces.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture. Bake for about 1.5 hours, or until it’s bubbly and a nice golden brown color.

As you can see, the juices from this crisp ran over the side of my dish (producing those beautiful yellow and pink streaks on the outside of the dish – isn’t it cool that the apple and cranberry juices didn’t completely blend?). Depending upon how much I’ve over-stuffed my dish, I will often use a cookie sheet to catch the droppings – it’s much better than have the sugary syrup burn on the bottom of your oven!

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This recipe is easily customizable. You can begin by keeping or skipping the cranberries and/or walnuts. You can replace the water in the filling with apple cider or orange juice. You can play with the spice combinations and amounts. But whatever you do, don’t forget the vanilla ice cream (and yogurt for breakfast!).

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