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Apple-Cranberry Crisp with Oatmeal Topping

Serves: Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • Topping:
  • ½ cup (2½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1½ ounces) old-fashioned oats (do not use instant)
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup (2 oz) pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)

  • Filling:
  • 1½ pounds firm, tart baking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries, picked through, rinsed, and patted dry
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca flour, or 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


The ultimate comfort food on a cold fall or winter night, this dessert fills the house with the aroma of warm apples, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. If this crisp were a person, it would be your best friend. Granny Smith is a reliably tart and firm baking apple available in all supermarkets—but don’t hesitate to use local varieties found in your area. Always taste the fruit; if it is quite sweet, you might want to reduce the sugar slightly. You can substitute quick oats for the old-fashioned, but don’t use instant or yo’ll end up with soggy mush.

Topping: Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed until blended evenly, about 10 seconds. Add the cold butter pieces and mix on low for 3 to 4 minutes. At first the mixture will look dry, but eventually it will begin to look like wet sand, and finally it will form small clumps about the size of peas. Add the nuts, if using, and mix for a few more seconds to evenly disperse them.

Filling: Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center.

In the large bowl, use the spatula to toss together the apple slices, cranberries, brown sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon until all the fruit is coated evenly. Scrape into a baking dish and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the topping in an even layer over the fruit (do not press down).

Bake and serve the crisp: You may want to place a baking sheet or a piece of foil under the crisp to catch any juices that may bubble over. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the topping is nicely browned and the fruit is bubbling and soft (the tip of a paring knife should easily slide in and out of the apple slices). Spoon the warm crisp into bowls and place a scoop of ice cream next to each serving.

The Art & Soul of Baking: Reprinted with permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing, recipes by Cindy Mushet, photography by Maren Caruso

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