A cranberry apple crisp has all the hallmarks of an extra special fall dessert with juicy apples, tart cranberries, and a cinnamon-y oatmeal pecan crisp topping. This bright combination upstages a plain old apple crisp every time.
cranberry apple crisp is a feast for all the senses
Let’s break it down: first you get the aroma, fresh out of the oven, which is full-on fall/holiday and triggers all sorts of good feels. Then there’s the winning flavor combination of tart cranberries paired with sweet apples, which keeps your tastebuds on their toes (do tastebuds have toes?) And let’s not forget texture, which plays such a delicious role in a crisp ~ the cranberries pop open in the oven and become soft and luscious while the apples keep their shape and even retain a hint of crunch. Speaking of crunch, that topping…
Just look at it, those are the same brilliant colors of the fall leaves outside our window. How can you not love this dessert?
highlighting seasonal ingredients in the filling and the topping
- cranberries ~ use fresh or frozen, but not dried.
- apples ~ any variety, but if you love a little crunch in your crisp, go with Honeycrisp. I like a sweet apple to balance out the tart cranberries, so avoid Granny Smith.
- pecans ~ they’ll get crisp and toasty in the oven. You could use walnuts if you like, or leave them out.
- sugar, both granulated and brown
- oats ~ just a few in the topping
- cinnamon and cloves
a crisp should be juicy, but not too juicy!
The natural pectin that’s in both apples and cranberries means that the juices from the fruit thicken on their own to a nice consistency without the need to add any extra thickeners. Sometimes adding flour or cornstarch to a crumble or crisp can make it too thick and stodgy, so this recipe works beautifully. Just make sure to bake the crisp fully, so all the juices are bubbling, and let it cool for a few minutes to allow those juices to set up slightly before digging in.
a cranberry apple crisp is a holiday worthy dessert
Served with a little fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, a good fruit crisp rivals the fanciest dessert (read: definitely Thanksgiving worthy.) The little acidic punch from the cranberries make this one perfect after a heavy meal. And you can forget about runny pies and soggy crusts…a fruit crisp is just about foolproof.
a cranberry apple crisp is make-ahead friendly
I love this dessert for entertaining because I can assemble it in the morning and refrigerate until I need it. I leave it out for about an hour before baking, and then it can bake while we have dinner. Nobody can resist a bubbling crisp hot out of the oven.
Tip: You can make a crisp or crumble topping in bulk and stash it in the freezer. When you want to make a quick dessert, just shake out the amount needed over your fruit filling. No need to defrost it, just bake from frozen.
more crisps and crumbles
Cranberry Apple Crisp
- 2 quart baking dish
- 20 ounces peeled and chopped apples, this was about 4 medium-large apples for me. Chop them into approximately 1/2 inch pieces.
- 12 ounces whole fresh cranberries (you can use frozen if you like)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, or sugar substitute of your choice.
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup all purpose flour For a gluten free option try oat flour, almond flour, or your favorite gf baking mix.
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- To make the crisp topping, combine all of the topping ingredients in a bowl and combine them together with your fingers until crumbly and all the dry flour has been worked in. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the chopped apples, cranberries, sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Transfer the fruit to a 2 quart baking dish, making sure to spread out your fruit evenly to the corners of your dish.
- Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, and bake for about 55 minutes. I tented mine with a sheet of aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent the top from getting too browned. The topping should be golden brown, and the fruit juices should be bubbling throughout.
- Let your crisp rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.