Helloooo winter CRISP!
Growing up, pie was a staple dessert in my home. Specifically blueberry and apple. Blueberry when they were in season and just perfect raw. (One for pie, one for me, one for pie, one for me.) And apple in the fall and winter. Keep in mind, I grew up in NY where fall and winter were long and chilly seasons - as opposed to "fall" and "winter" here in Los Angeles (no, I'm not salty) - and we were in dire need of a house smelling of sweet, warm spices and ovens on all day to keep us (and our eternally cold hands) toasty.
This recipe is adapted from my mom's apple pie filling recipe (which I can't even find written down - it's just ingrained in my brain). It's also inspired by bits and pieces of recipes that she clipped from the New York Times (actual newspaper) recipes and taped into pages of her recipe book. I eliminated her crust and added a crumble. Because I've never perfected crust. And because crumble is arguably one of the best parts of home baking.
I've made this with a couple different combos of fresh and dried winter fruit - pears and cranberries, apples and tart cherries, dried figs, clementines <-- that one was weird. It's flexible. My favorite, at the moment, is apple and cranberry. When I use all Granny Smith apples, I like dried cranberries so that the tartness of the apples balances their sweetness. Alternatively, pair a sweeter apple (like Gala or Fuji) with fresh cranberries or tart cherries. (If you aren't a fan of cranberries, this recipe holds beautifully as solely apple, but if you eliminate the dried fruit, or replace it with fresh, please note the brown sugar and orange juice adjustments in the filling!) I soak my crans in orange juice to plump them, and the ILA ceylon cinnamon's floral and orange essence complements this perfectly.
Cast iron provides completely even baking and caramelized fruit bits against every edge (drool), however a regular glass baking dish will work fine. After you pull the finished crisp from the oven, let it rest briefly to allow the juices to set, then serve warm - optional (but not really optional) with vanilla Haagen-Dazs.
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
7 Granny Smith apples
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice *(if you are not using dried cranberries or replacing with fresh cranberries, decrease orange juice to 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar *(if you are not using the dried cranberries or replacing with fresh cranberries, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Make the filling:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter a 10" cast iron skillet.
2. Bring the orange juice to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the cranberries. Let the cranberries plump for 10-20 minutes. Drain and reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid. (If you are not using dried cranberries or replacing with fresh cranberries, do not boil the 2 tablespoons of juice - just use cold.)
3. Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/2 inch cubes.
4. In a large bowl, toss the apples and cranberries evenly with the vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, lemon juice, zest and the 2 reserved tablespoons of cranberry-orange soaking liquid.
5. Once combined, pour apple and cranberry mixture into the prepared skillet. Juices will release and thicken a bit, so you want all of this magic to happen in the baking pan.
Make the crumble:
6. Bring the butter to room temperature and dice it.
7. In a bowl, whisk together all of the crumble ingredients, except for the butter.
8. Using your fingertips, mix the butter into the oat mixture until it comes together in *moist* clumps with the consistency of grainy sand.
9. Sprinkle it over the apples and cranberries.
10. Bake for 1 hour until golden and bubbly.
If there are any leftovers (leftovers? what are leftovers?), cover with foil and store in the fridge. Bring to room temp and reheat at 300° F. Honestly, this thing is pretty freakin' delicious the next day cold, as well. Please email with questions!