Nothing says fall like a fresh apple crisp made from apples you picked yourself, so last weekend we drove to Tarara Winery and hit the orchards. Fujis and Staybrites were ripe for picking, but the Granny Smiths were all gone, as were the Honey Crisps and Empires (my personal favorite). The boys had a great time and kept trying to eat all the apples they found on the ground, even though we encouraged them to save the ground apples for the birds. Later my three-year-old wanted to help make this cranberry apple raisin crisp, so he played my assistant and measured and poured ingredients as well as helped mix up the crumb topping.
We didn't find any Golden Delicious, so I used some of the Fujis in this dessert. The primary flavors are cranberry, orange, and cloves, with the apples being a sweet foil for the tartness of the cranberries and oranges. The cloves provide a warm depth of flavor, and the crisp pairs perfectly with vanilla bean ice cream. In fact, the ice cream is almost a necessity to balance the tartness of the cranberries and orange.
This is one of those homey deserts that you can make for family or serve in elegant bowls for guests.
[Updated January 30, 2010.]
Cranberry Apple Raisin Crisp
- 2 quart baking dish or 8-inch baking pan
- medium bowl
- large bowl
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup whole wheat flour (plus 2 tablespoons, divided)
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 5½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries (rinsed)
- 2 Golden Delicious apples (peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.
- In the medium bowl, combine the oats, ½ cup of the flour, and the dark brown sugar. Add the small pieces of butter and rub the mixture with your fingers until you get small crumbs. (Optional: Put it all into the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times, until the mixture forms small crumbs.)
- In the large bowl, toss together the cranberries, apples, raisins, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, orange zest and juice, and the cloves. Pour the fruit mixture into the baking dish.
- Top the fruit with the crumb mixture and bake in the preheated oven about 45 minutes, until the crumb topping is browned. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- If you want a boozy dessert, substitute some Grand Marnier for half of the orange juice.