I’ve spent most of my life pretty much ignoring cranberries until recently. They’d make their once a year appearance in the form of my Cranberry Orange Sauce at Thanksgiving time, and then that’d be it for another year. But little by little they started making their way into my recipes.
There’s nothing quite like their tart flavor that adds the perfect amount of contrast to so many dishes. I’ve always loved sweets, but I prefer them with an edge or some zippyness if you will, and cranberries provide just the right amount of tang to so many things.
One of our all time favorite ways to use cranberries is in my Vitamin C Booster Cranberry Orange Smoothie, it’s super simple and so good that we both drink it several times a week all winter long without tiring of it! Just last week alone, I bought 6 packages of frozen cranberries, and we’ve already burned through all of them. I made gallons of the aforementioned smoothie, this Cranberry Apple Crisp, and a Honey Mustard Cranberry Roast Pork Loin that’s coming your way soon.
And… it’s not just the flavor of cranberries that I’ve fallen for, I love how they give such a glowing red festive look to any dish you put them in!
I developed this recipe to be on the large side with the holidays in mind. It’s nice to have some bigger desserts that will feed a crowd, but you can easily cut this recipe in half as well.
You start by layering in the apples and scattering the cranberries over the top. You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries for this dessert. An apple/peeler/corer/slicer is really handy to have whenever you’re doing anything with apples. It cuts down the prep time by at least 1/4 compared to peeling and slicing all those apples by hand.
I love the way a little fresh orange juice brightens up an apple crisp, it’s a trick I learned from my Mother-In-Law who makes the best apple crisp I’ve ever had! You just mix a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice and some orange zest into your cornstarch/tapioca mixture and pour it over the cranberries and apples. I creates a wonderful sauce around the fruit that thickens while it bakes.
For the topping, you mix together all the dry ingredients…
… then mix in the wet ingredients
… and then dot the crisp topping evenly over the fruit mixture.
This crisp topping is much wetter than a traditional crisp topping made with flour and oats, but it bakes up into perfect little islands of crispiness.
And… maybe it’s just me, but no fruit crisp is quite complete without a scoop of ice cream! We topped ours with the Vanilla Bean Coconut Bliss from the store, but if you have a bit of extra time you can try it with one of our homemade ice creams!
- 3 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (1/4")
- 1- 10 ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, 2 cups
- 2 Tablespoons organic cornstarch or 1½ Tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1 Teaspoon cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon if you can
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- fresh juice from 1 orange, about ½ cup
- ¼ cup Grade A maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups almond flour
- 1 cup chopped almonds, or ½ cup each chopped cashews and pecans, raw not toasted
- 1 cup big flake coconut
- 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup Grade A maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Place the sliced apples in a 4-quart baking dish and scatter the cranberries over the top.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and cinnamon before adding in the orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix together until thoroughly combined without any lumps, and pour the mixture over the apples and cranberries.
- Make the topping by combining all the topping ingredients together in a bowl. Mix until combined, the topping with be quite wet. Dot the topping evenly over the cranberry/apple mixture in the pan.
- Bake the crisp until the apples are tender and the sauce is bubbling and thick, about 1 hour depending on the depth of your baking dish, (mine was 3" deep). If you halve the recipe the baking time will be less.
- Let the crisp cool slightly before serving.
- You can make this ahead, but the crisp topping will soften overnight. You can reheat it for 15 minutes or so in the oven at 325ºF to re-crisp it.
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