Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apple-Almond-Cranberry Crisp

I never know what to call this dessert...is it a crisp, a crumble or a cobbler?  Whatever you want to call it...it's really good.  I named mine a crisp because apples are crisp and so is autumn, but it could easily be called a crumble because of the crumbly topping.  Anyway, nothing could be easier to serve for dessert for Thanksgiving.  The topping can be prepped the day before and stored in a container and so all you need to do the morning of is slice your apples and assemble.  Later on while everyone is feasting on the main course, pop it in the oven and bake until bubbly and golden brown.  For a more elegant presentation you can portion out the recipe into individual ramekins.  You'll just need to adjust the cooking time though since the ramekins will cook much quicker.

I tried making this with agave and maple syrup to make it healthier, but it just doesn't have the same flavor as using sugar and brown sugar.  I also used whole wheat pastry crust for the topping, but I still prefer using unbleached white flour.  It's a good thing that Thanksgiving is celebrated only once a year--so enjoy it--just don't go back for seconds!

(Serves 8-10)

6 large organic Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup unfiltered sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple cider or sparkling apple cider

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Peel, core and slice apples about 1/4" thick (about 12 slices per apple).
  • Place in a small bowl and toss with sugar, brown sugar and spices.
  • Let sit for 30 minutes to macerate and then add dried cranberries.
  • Place in a large casserole dish and set aside.

Crisp Topping

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour or whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup raw almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unfiltered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted and slightly cooled

  • Toast almonds in the oven for about 5 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.  Let cool and coarsely chop.
  • Melt butter in the microwave or on the stove over low heat until just melted and set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, add all ingredients (except for butter) and toss well to combine.
  • Using a fork, gradually stir in butter until crumbly, breaking up large pieces.  You may or may not use all of the butter.  You want the flour to be well-coated.
  • Add topping evenly over apples and bake in the oven until bubbly and golden brown.  Depending on your oven, bake 50-70 minutes, turning every 20 minutes.  You may need to cover the casserole dish with foil to prevent the top from browning too much.  If using small ramekins, fill them 3/4 full (about 1 cup), add 1 tbsp apple cider and top with 1/3 cup of topping and bake for about 30 minutes until bubbly.
  • Serve with your favorite non-dairy ice cream and a dusting of powdered sugar.



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