Apple Cranberry Crisp

Recipe and photo contributed by Johnisha Levi Yield:  6 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes Cook Time:  40 minutes

Apple Cranberry Crisp

A twist on an autumnal treat of tender apples and crisp oat topping. Trying to stay gluten free? See below for a link to the gluten-free version of this recipe.


For the Topping:

2 cups (160 grams) rolled or old-fashioned oats

1 cup (130 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour

½ cup 62 grams) chopped pecans

1 cup (204 grams) granulated sugar

½ teaspoon (3 grams) salt

2 sticks (1 cup/227 grams) unsalted butter,  or more as needed to thoroughly moisten

For the Cranberry Apple Filling:

¾ cup dried (90 grams) cranberries

½ cup brandy

3 pounds assorted apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice (see Kitchen Tip)

⅓ cup (70 grams) brown sugar

½ teaspoon (3.5 grams) cinnamon

¼ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt

1 tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch

1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract


Make the topping:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oats, flour, pecans, sugar, and salt.
  2. Melt and brown the butter: melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat until it crackles, foams and begins to brown. As soon as the butter becomes amber brown, immediately remove pan from the heat and pour the butter into a small heatproof bowl. Cool for 20 minutes (see Kitchen Tip).
  3. Pour the brown butter into the oat mixture and stir to thoroughly moisten the dry ingredients. Fluff with your fingers to break up any large clumps.

Make the crisp:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pour the brandy into a small bowl, add the cranberries, and soak for 20 minutes, until plump. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the apples with the brown sugar mixture, tossing to coat  thoroughly. Drain the cranberries and add to the apples, along with the vanilla. Toss gently to incorporate.
  3. Divide the apples evenly between 6 (10-ounce) ramekins and cover generously with crumble (see Kitchen Tip).
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes for tender, juicy apples. If the crumble topping remains pale, bake for an additional 5 minutes at 400ºF.

Kitchen Tips

  1. I follow the advice of Amy Traverso’s Apple Lover’s Cookbook. A combination of firm-sweet apples (e.g., golden delicious) and tender-tart (e.g., Macoun) make the best crumbles.
  2. You can use regular melted butter for the crumble topping but I like the caramelized flavor the brown butter gives the dessert.
  3. The apples will shrink quite a bit, so for a full crisp, fill ramekins up to the very top of the rim (unless you want to leave some room for a dollop of ice cream).
  4. If you wish, swap out the dried cranberries in the filling for golden raisins or the pecans in the topping with slivered almonds.
  5. You can store extra crumble in the freezer, baked or unbaked. For an ice cream or yogurt topping, spread the crumble on a sheet pan and bake at 300°F for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

For a gluten-free version of Johnisha Levi’s Apple Cranberry Crisp, click here.

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