Brown Sugar Apple-Cranberry Crisp

For Brown Sugar Crumble:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1 cup oats (rolled or quick cooking; not instant)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
 
For Apples:
8 medium baking apples
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries or 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
  1. For Crumble: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until the mixture forms pea-sized clumps with no visible butter showing through. Add walnuts and stir. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Slice or coarsely dice apples and add to baking dish. Scatter cranberries over apples, sprinkle with brown sugar, and toss to mix.
  3. Using the back of a spoon, level the surface of the apples in the casserole dish and drop the crumb topping over the tables in heaping spoonfuls. Cover the whole surface of the apples, but you don't need to level the crumble.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center of the crisp passes easily through the apples. If the topping is browning too quickly, just cover the dish loosely with a sheet of foil.
  5. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy plain or with whipped cream or ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat in the microwave or standard oven before serving.
Makes 8 servings.
 
Recipe Notes:
  • The crumble can be made a couple of days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and toss with a fork before using.
  • I've made this with rolled oats and with quick-cooking oats. The former can be pretty chewy; the latter can be a little pasty on the second day. My suggestion? Half and half. But if I had to make a choice, I'd say go for the quick-cooking oats, especially if you're serving young children.
  • You can use either fresh or sweetened dried cranberries. If you are using fresh, you can increase your sugar by a tablespoon, if desired.
  • The amount of sugar added to the apples is flexible. Taste your apples ~ really tart varieties will take a bit more sugar than sweeter baking varieties will. Keep in mind, though, that the crumb topping does provide significant sweetness.
  • You can use your favorite baking apples for this dessert. I like to use a combination of apples, in fact. Some apples keep their shape very well upon baking, others break down into applesauce. Using a combination provides for an interesting texture that is a combination of the two qualities. For the dish pictured here, I used Golden Delicious and Stayman-Winesap ~ two varieties that we picked locally.
  • Cutting your apples into slices of dice is a matter of personal preference. I sometimes do both in one dish. My preference, though, is slices for pie and dice for crisps.
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