My mom has been making apple crisp for as long as I can remember. We didn’t have it very often, but enough for it to make an impression on my brother and me as small kids. Once when my mom was baking an apple crisp, my brother (probably no more than four or five) declared, “I love Uncle Chris!” My mom was touched to hear him express his affection for her brother but a little confused about what had prompted his statement, until she realized that he actually meant “I love apple crisp!”
While this version has a holiday feel to it, thanks to the addition of cranberries, apple crisp is a dessert for all seasons. In fact, I requested it in lieu of cake on my birthday (which falls in August) several times when I was growing up. A warning about the cranberries, though: be sure to cut them in half! Without the exposed surfaces, the cranberries won’t cook as much, and you’ll end up with an apple crisp studded with little bombs of grimace-inducing tartness.
You’ll notice that the cranberries in the photos are still whole, and that’s because I took these pictures before I realized the importance of halving the cranberries! I’ve had plenty of opportunity to perfect the recipe this fall—I’ve made four apple crisps in about three weeks—thanks to the glut of apples that has been taking up nearly a quarter of the fridge since October.
One of the things I love most about this apple cranberry crisp is that it satisfies that craving for something sweet at the end of a meal without leaving you feeling overfull or weighed down. Most of the volume of this dessert is fruit – it’s basically apple pie filling topped with a delicious granola-like crumble! And hey, if you’re trying to eat super healthy, you can always scrape off the crumble…I guarantee there will be plenty of eager volunteers who will gladly take it off your hands/plate!
- 2 1/2 pounds apples (about 8 small/medium apples)
- 1 cup cranberries, washed and cut in half
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup oats
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine (vegan butter is fine), melted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into slices no thicker than 1/2 inch on the wider side. For small/medium apples, I recommend cutting into 16 slices.
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining filling ingredients with the apples and toss to combine. Transfer to a 2.5-quart casserole dish (you can also use a 9×13 pan).
- In a separate bowl, mix together all of the topping ingredients, except the melted butter. Pour the melted butter on top and mix until all the dry ingredients are coated and clusters begin to form. Spread the topping evenly over the apples and cranberries.
- Bake (uncovered) for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the apples are easily pierced with a toothpick or cake tester. Serve warm. Note: depending on the depth of the baking dish you use, you may need to bake it up to 15 minutes longer.
- I use Granny Smith apples, but feel free to use whatever variety you prefer for baking.