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Cranberry-Orange and Apple-Cranberry Crisps

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Sometimes making too much pie can make a girl wistful; wistful for the days of chocolate chip cookies, sour cream chocolate Bundt cakes, plum crisps and blueberry cobblers. In these very quiet, relatively pie-free January weeks, I’ve been listening to that voice from the past and making more homey treats.

In the last couple of days I needed to answer the siren call of cranberries. Bags and bags of them have been singing to me from my photo(1)freezer, and I couldn’t stand it anymore. They’ve been stacked there patiently since mid December, awaiting their annual star turn in my holiday orange-cranberry breads. But I never got around to making them this year, and so the cranberries began to sing. Turns out, to my surprise, that cranberries have rather alluring voices that rise in the night and float in twirly patterns into my bedroom as I’m sleeping. 

There’s only so much of that that a girl can take. So I made two crisps: one all-cranberry and another apple-cranberry.

I took the all-cranberry crisp to a party, where some friends mistook it for cherry [ahem], but still raved about its tart flavor and cheerful midwinter color. I am a big fan of tart-sweet, so I loved the puckery intensity of the all-cranberry crisp. For another gathering tomorrow night, though, I thought I’d tone it down with apples and oats for a change of pace. Both recipes are below.

Crisps are such a breeze that even those of you who still suffer from Crust-O-Phobia can whip them up in no time. No rolling dough; nothing like that. You can use the basic outlines of the recipes below and vary your fruit fillings, too.

It’s easy: You combine your fruit with sugar, a few spices, and a little thickener (here I use tapioca flour).

You make a streusel topping, with or without oats:

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Spoon the fruit into a baking dish, and top with the streusel.

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Bake, and you get this gorgeous and easy fruit dessert.

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Have fun with a winter crisp!

CurvyMama's Cranberry-Orange Crisp
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Fruit filling
  1. 4 12-ounce packages fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
  2. 2 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 c. tapioca starch
  4. 1 tsp. orange zest
  5. 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  6. A couple of generous dashes of salt
Streusel topping
  1. 1 c. all-purpose flour
  2. 1 c. dark brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
  4. A few dashes of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the fruit topping ingredients and stir to distribute the dry ingredients and zest evenly through the fruit.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and spoon the fruit filling into it. Distribute the streusel topping evenly over the top of the fruit.
  5. Put the crisp in the oven and bake it for about 1 hour, checking it halfway through baking. You'll probably see yummy bubbling fruit juices around the edges long before it's done, but keep on baking the crisp. At the halfway point, you'll see that the streusel topping will look pretty pale. That's a sign it's not done yet.
  6. By the end of the baking time, you'll want to check and make sure that the fruit juices are bubbling not just around the edges, but in the center, too. Make a small cut with a knife in the center to check for this. By this time, the streusel topping will have taken on a nice golden color, too.
  7. Take the crisp out of the oven and cool on a rack until it's room temperature. Don't serve it when it's hot, or it will be too runny. Allow enough time for the crisp to cool fully. Serve it at room temperature, or slightly warmed-back-up in a low oven.
CurvyMama Pies http://curvymamapies.com/
CurvyMama's Cran-Apple Crisp
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Fruit filling
  1. 6 medium apples (about 3 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced
  2. 1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
  3. 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  4. 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
  5. 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  6. 2 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp. cloves
  8. 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  9. A few pinches of salt
Streusel topping
  1. 1 c. all purpose flour
  2. 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  3. 1/2 c. oats (not quick-cooking)
  4. 3/4 c. unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
  5. A few dashes of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a big bowl, combine all the fruit topping ingredients. Stir until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats and brown sugar, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Spoon the fruit filling into it. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the fruit.
  5. Put the crisp in the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, checking it halfway through baking. You'll probably see yummy bubbling fruit juices around the edges long before it's done, but keep on baking the crisp. You'll see that at the halfway point, the streusel topping will look pretty pale. That's a sign it's not done yet.
  6. By the end of the baking time, you'll want to check and make sure that the fruit juices are bubbling not just around the edges, but in the center, too. Make a small cut with a knife in the center to check for this. By this time, the streusel topping will have taken on a nice golden color, too.
  7. Take the crisp out of the oven and cool on a rack until it's room temperature. Don't serve it when it's hot, or it will be too runny. Allow enough time for the crisp to cool fully. Serve it at room temperature, or slightly warmed-back-up in a low oven.
Notes
  1. I like to use a combination of several kinds of tart and sweet apples. Favorites are Stayman, Winesap, Cortlands, Gold Rush and Cameo. But any combo of firm, juicy tart and sweet apples will do.
CurvyMama Pies http://curvymamapies.com/