Apple and cranberry crisp is a warm, comforting, and cozy autumn dessert. Perfect for dinner guests and leftovers make a terrific breakfast the next morning.
These two cool-weather fruits top the nutritional charts, and the oat-and-nut topping delivers even more antioxidant power. But even better than that, it’s a comforting and seriously tasty dessert when temperatures start to fall.–Karen Ansel and Charity Ferreira
CAN I FREEZE A FRUIT CRISP?
Your best course of action with saving some fruit crisp for later is freezing–but only parts of it. A fully-baked fruit crisp can be frozen and kept for up to 3 months, but we have a better idea for you. Make an extra batch of this easy crisp topping and freeze it for up to several months–the frozen crumble topping alone will reheat a little better than the entire crumble. Use it whenever you have a surplus of lush fruits that you want to turn into a quick dessert. That way, you’re ready at a moment’s notice to bake up a great fruit dessert. In the summertime, swap in plums and blueberries or peaches and blackberries for the apples and cranberries.
Apple and Cranberry Crisp
For the topping
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter cold, cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup walnuts chopped
For the filling
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 pounds apples such as Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Harcourt, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
Make the topping
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and mix well. Scatter in the butter and, using your fingertips, a pastry blender, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed, incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until uniformly coarse crumbs form and the mixture begins to come together in a somewhat cohesive wad of dough. Stir in the walnuts. (You can stash the crumb topping in a resealable plastic bag and freeze it for up to several months, a course of action we highly, highly recommend in case of impromptu crisp cravings.)
Make the filling
- In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and cornstarch. Add the apples and cranberries and toss to coat. Dump the fruit into a 9-inch square or round baking dish. Sprinkle the oat mixture evenly over the fruit.
- Bake the crisp until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender when pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crisp cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Scoop it out while it's warm or spoon it up at room temperature.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
It’s not often that I make a recipe and don’t feel the need to make any changes. This apple and cranberry crisp is perfection. The topping tastes like the perfect oatmeal cookie and the cranberries temper the sweetness of the apples. Speaking of apples, I thickly sliced a few Granny Smiths because they keep their shape so nicely. When they’re around, I’ll throw in a few Honeycrisp apples, but that’s the only thing I’d change.
I’m not a big fan of crisps but I loved this one. Maybe it’s just the right combination of sweet and tart. I used Braeburn apples and frozen cranberries and weighed out all my ingredients. The topping was easy to mix with my hands and everything came together in very little time. After 50 minutes of baking, my knife slid into the apples with no resistance.
As I scooped up the crisp to serve, you saw a very pretty red swirl from the cranberries mixed in with the clear juice from the apple. This would be even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I can’t wait to try this with other fruit combinations.
This recipe is really easy—the hardest part is preparing the apples. I’ve an abundance of apples from my trees this year and used the Harcourts (very firm and bake up well). To be honest, I didn’t bother peeling the apples; I just cored them and cut them in eighths. The topping is very easy to mix up; I used my hands.
The finished crisp isn’t too sweet and has just the right amount of cinnamon for my taste. I really liked the addition of the cranberries—adds a touch of tartness that is really good. This was fantastic for a warm dessert topped with frozen yogurt, and was equally good the next morning for breakfast topped with plain Greek yogurt. There was enough to serve about 8 people. You could serve more but the serving size would be skimpy. I’ll definitely try this again with a different fruit, maybe plums next time.
Serves 10? Sure, it could! Ours served just 5, but there’s no reason to believe everyone would need the scale of serving and seconds we ate, though it’s a testament to the results of this recipe. I pondered whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and went with whipped cream, though one of my tasters, without knowing this, wished aloud for the ice cream. Because it’s overall not too sweet and the cranberries add an ongoing pop of tartness, the rich dairy is a lovely addition, though the crisp can stand well on its own.
My crisp used Granny Smiths and frozen cranberries. We discussed peaches and plums as other tantalizing possibilities. A few details: I selected the fingertip method for mixing the crisp topping, and went with the option to freeze it, which I’d absolutely NOT do again. It takes less time to mix it together than it did to take it out of the freezer and give it a chance to thaw a bit, plus the texture wasn’t nearly as lovely coming out of its frozen state as it had been freshly made. This idea neither saved time nor enhanced the end product: you’d be just as ready at a moment’s notice making the crisp completely from scratch!
We went with a deep-dish 9-inch round pie pan. It looked way too full from the start so we set it atop a rimmed baking sheet to avoid a big oven cleaning after baking. At that point, I was thinking a dish with more surface area might be better, but it baked up just right in a full 60 minutes. We gave it the 15-minute rest as directed (and not a second longer!), then dug in. Five tasters later, it was pretty much gone. And, by the way, this crisp never fully made it to room temperature, so all of these comments relate to the serve-warm option.
This recipe is delicious and easy to make. I love the combination of apples and cranberries together. I don’t have a 9-inch square baking dish so I used an 11-by-7-inch baking dish, which worked great. I chose Gala apples and frozen cranberries. Next time I’d add more cranberries to the dish. It’s especially delicious warm. Next time, I may serve it with vanilla ice cream.
I make a crisp or crumble at home with apples on almost a weekly basis. It’s sort of a “go-to” dessert. This version makes a nice variation with the addition of walnuts to the “crumb” mixture and the spark of tart cranberries in the filling. I used a variety of apples that I had on hand, mostly Gala along with a couple of Granny Smiths. That gave the filling a varied texture between the soft and the still semi-crisp apples. For our taste, there are way too many apples for the crumb quantity. I’d use maybe 2 pounds when I make this again. The dessert can feed 8 comfortably and 10 if needed. Simple and delicious served with homemade rum ice cream.
An easy peasy, basic crisp recipe that’s so easy to make. You could put it together in no time, stuff it in the oven whole having dinner, and sipping Prosecco, and voila! You have a dessert to die for. I used 3 Granny Smith and 3 royal gala apples and frozen cranberries. The tartness of the cranberries and apples are perfectly offset by the delicious and sweet topping, made especially crunchy with the addition of walnuts.
Originally published November 2, 2012