This recipe comes from my stepmother and was a Thanksgiving staple throughout my childhood. For most of our adolescence, Ashley and I spent our Thanksgivings in North Carolina with that side of the family. Always a little offbeat or kooky, I loved spending time with this completely different brand of family. A vast network of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters, it was the kind of chaotic Thanksgiving that required unearthing the card tables from the garage, marathon games of cards and eventually hysterical pants-wetting laughter.
The now infamous Cranberry Apple Crisp often appeared in 2 Acts during the meal. First as a cranberry sauce-style substitute cozied up next to the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. And later, as dessert with a scoop of ice cream for the pumpkin pie skeptics. We ate it hot, warm, and cold for breakfast the next morning. But no matter how differently we all enjoyed it, one thing always remained in common – our multiple servings left us all supine, moaning and giggling in our own gluttonous embarrassment.
To be certain, my Thanksgiving table of present looks little like the one of my youth. Unfortunate circumstances and complicated choices have left that table without its chairs. But we built a new table, with a new cast of wonderful and loved characters. And though the landscape, food and faces may change Ash and I always find room in the oven for the Cranberry Apple Crisp. Because sometimes looking back is all you need to push forward.
Cranberry Apple Crisp
Disclaimer, this crisp has enough butter to make Paula Deen blush. But if you can’t indulge once a year on Thanksgiving, when can you? So take a chill pill and bring on the butter. The simplicity of this recipe is what makes it – pure, fresh, fall ingredients with so little decoration that they really shine. This is perfect for a potluck Thanksgiving or other event as it comes together quickly and holds well at room temperature.
4 cups Granny Smith apples, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 stick (4 Tbs) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups regular oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease or butter a 9×13 glass baking dish. In a large bowl, toss together the chopped apples, cranberries and sugar. Let stand for a few minutes then pour into the baking dish. Dot the mixture with the 1/2 stick of cubed butter.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar and flour. Sprinkle evenly over the cranberries and apples in the baking dish. Gently pour the melted butter over the top.
3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the oat topping is nicely browned. Serve warm as a side or for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.