Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Cranberries are back! As we head quickly towards Thanksgiving, the cranberries arrive in supermarkets across the US. They pack quite a punch - both flavor and color-wise. I love them in traditional cranberry sauce but I think they really shine in desserts because their tartness punches up sweet desserts. And what a color - cranberries turn everything an electric red, naturally.

Cranberries are cheap and plentiful this time of year so I like to stock up. Stick a bag or two in your freezer because they can be hard to find (and expensive) after the holidays are over. They freeze wonderfully.

Here's a dessert in tune with the fall season: apple-cranberry crisp. It's apple season too (to learn more about apples check out this post) so this is a perfect intersection of two great fall season fruits.

Unlike most fruits, cranberries are not sweet at all which is why you need to add a lot of sugar to make them palatable. Still, this isn't a very sweet dessert. There's just enough sugar to take the aggressive tart edge off but not so much that it tastes like cranberry candy. Sugar should complement the fruit, not overwhelm it.

This is great for a party or a holiday dinner. It also keeps nicely in the refrigerator. It's best warm - zap it in the microwave for a minute if it's been in the fridge.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp
(serves 8)

non-stick cooking spray

Fruit Filling
1 12 oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
4 large apples, cored and sliced (no need to peel them)
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour

2 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 Tablespoons flour
¾ cup rolled quick or regular oats
½ cup chopped walnuts
3 Tablespoons butter, melted or walnut oil
zest of ½ an orange
1 pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9"x9" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Rinse the cranberries. (Use warm water if they are frozen or they will freeze together.) Mix the cranberries and apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle on the sugar and flour and mix again to combine. Pour into the prepared pan. In the same bowl, combine all the crisp ingredients. Mix enough to distribute the orange zest; it tends to clump together. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake for 40 (45 minutes if you started with frozen berries) until crisp is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Jane Brody's Good Food Book, 1985.

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