Thanksgiving is almost here and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve got cranberry sauce, cornbread, and a pie to make today. Then tomorrow, the real cooking marathon begins. Luckily, my parents are getting into town early tomorrow morning, so I’ll have my mom here to lend a helping hand.
Thanksgiving for me growing up was always a large potluck affair with lots of people and lots of dishes. I miss those days, but I have to say that I have really enjoyed the smaller Thanksgivings of my adult life. Having the opportunity to cook Thanksgiving over the last 5 years or so has definitely made me a better and more experienced cook.
I think the hardest part about cooking Thanksgiving now is just figuring out what to make. There are too many options and too many good recipes. I had originally planned to make this Apple Cranberry Crisp as part of our Thanksgiving feast, but decided not to after all. So I made the crisp yesterday instead as a pre-Thanksgiving treat.
The crisp topping is made with a combination of flour, pecans, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter. And the fruit is sweetened with sugar and flavored with lemon and orange zests.
When the crisp is done, the fruit will be soft and bubbling and the topping will be crunchy and golden brown. A little vanilla ice cream seals the deal and you have the perfect dessert. The balance of hot and cold, soft and crunchy, and sweet and tart makes this dish for me. It’s definitely Thanksgiving worthy and I’m happy to start the indulging a little early. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Apple Cranberry Crisp
For the filling, I used Granny Smith apples and a 1/2 cup of sugar. My crisp was on the tart side since I used tart apples and tart cranberries. To get a sweeter crisp, add more sugar or use sweeter apples to begin with. Also, I normally peel apples before adding them to a crisp, but I was feeling lazy and didn’t this time around. I still recommend peeling them though as you’ll get a better texture if you do.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into roughly 1-inch chunks
2 cups fresh cranberries
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (add more or less depending on how tart your apples are)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the cold, cubed butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal with some larger pieces of butter throughout. Add the finely chopped pecans and continue cutting the mixture with the pastry cutter until the mixture resembles damp, crumbly sand. Set the topping mixture in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, mix together the apples, cranberries, lemon zest, orange zest, lemon juice, sugar, and flour. Transfer the filling to an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Then sprinkle the topping mixture over the filling.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the fruit is cooked through and bubbling, and the topping is golden grown. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Makes one 8-inch square crisp (about 6 servings).