If someone held me at gunpoint and forced me to pick a favorite season, it would have to be autumn. And they could probably just use a squirt gun and I would cave in. I just absolutely adore autumn. Now spring, with its thousands of shades of green – that’s pretty impressive. Summer with its vibrant light and the general lazy feel of the days (even though they seldom are!) – that’s a good time of year, too. And winter with the absolute quiet that happens sometimes during snowy winter nights – ya gotta love winter. But autumn has my heart with it’s soft, incredible light. And the smell of leaves as they’re burning. And the colors – the colors are just so unbelievable you can hardly believe you were lucky enough to be born into such a world. So here we are on the autumnal equinox (autumn “equal night” for those of you who aren’t familiar with Latin – I personally had Latin drummed into my fourteen year old little pea brain. One of two days in the year where the day and the night are equal lengths, the other being, of course, the vernal (or spring) equinox.) So I’m happily thinking autumny thoughts and dreaming about favorite autumny edibles like apples and pumpkins. Todays’ recipe is a favorite amongst favorites here at the Walker household. I believe it originally came from Fine Food magazine.
Apple Cranberry Crisp
(recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 pan)
3 lbs apples (about 4 to 5 medium large – I like to mix varieties such as Braeburn, Gala, Golden Delicious and that apple to end all apples, the supernal Honeycrisp)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp freshly squozen orange juice
pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the sides only of a 9 inch square baking pan.
Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut into 3/4 inch thick slices. Put them in a large bowl and sprinkle on the cinnamon and toss until the spice is evenly distributed. Combine the cranberries and orange zest and chop them together – just until the cranberries are a little smaller pieces (you don’t have to go all crazy here.) Add to the apple mixture and toss welll. Put the butter, orange juice and salt into a small microwavable dish and heat until the butter melts – about 45 seconds. Watch it. Butter and microwaves are unpredictable in my experience. Swirl to blend and pour over the apples – toss to coat. Add the sugar and toss again. Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pan and make into an even layer.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (gluten free flour works great in this recipe)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter – cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until it is well blended and the mixture in clumpy but still a bit crumbly (it should hold together if you pinch it.) Mix in the pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use if you’re doing this step first.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apple mixture. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until the top is golden brown and crisp and the apples are tender. Let set for 30 minutes. Serve warm with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. If you don’t have Blue Bell in your area then you have my deepest sympathies.