Thanksgiving is nearly here and I haven’t even begun to plan. Luckily, we’ll be feasting at my sister-in-law’s house–my contribution is just a small part of the whole shebang–but I still feel like such a slug for not at least having an idea of what I’ll be presenting on Thanksgiving day. I really should be better at this by now. I’m 36, after all!
The problem is that I have always been a mood eater. As such, I have also always been a mood baker. I can schedule anything I want but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, if I don’t feel like it, it won’t happen. And I can have quite the rebellious spirit. I’m such a brat.
This year, I’ve had cranberries on my mind a lot. A key harvest fruit here in New England, cranberries usually get their moment in the limelight as that gelatinous goo that slides out of a can moments before being ferried to the table for the big meal. Not my idea of featuring them at their best.
I almost always volunteer to bring dessert to family gatherings and I’m quite impressed with what I’ve conceived today. Apple Crisp is one of my most favorite ways to eat apples–simple, modest, with the intoxicating aroma of pie without all the fuss. Apple Crisp is about as close as you can get in the baking world to relying upon intuition to guide you, as you would while cooking. No leavening, no eggs, and few ingredients. Fruit’s a little tart? Add more sugar. You prefer Gala apples? You should probably use less sugar. Don’t want to use sugar? You could try maple syrup. So many options! It seemed ripe for the addition of tangy cranberries.
The combination is harmonious. Different layers playing together, working off each other to create a whole far exceeding the sum of its parts. A little buttery goodness in the crunchy topping, apples that are perfectly sweetened and have great texture, and then the cranberries come in, tart and tangy, slapping your taste buds and calling them to attention. Wow! I am loving this! Add a little bit of sweetened whipped cream and you have the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.
Will I bring this to our Thanksgiving repast? That remains to be seen. But I highly recommend it for yours! Or for any time you want a little something fruity that’s not too sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!
Cranberry Apple Crisp
- 2 pounds granny smith apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries washed and picked over
- 1/2 cup demerara sugar
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a deep dish pie plate with butter or coconut oil and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the apple slices and cranberries with the 1/2 cup demerara sugar. Spread into the prepared dish.
- In another large mixing bowl, stir the flour, oats, remaining sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Cut the butter up into chunks and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives, working the butter in until you have small chunks of it throughout.
- Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, or until fruit is tender and the topping is crisp and lightly browned.
- Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.