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apple of my eye

Recipe: apple cranberry crisp

I’m still mulling over the giveaway, as in, I’m not sure what to give away… so while I’m figuring out What and How, just keep your pants on.

Recently I found myself in a food funk. Not only did I not feel like cooking much of anything, I also didn’t have a moment to sit down and *think* about what I might make. That is the OCD’s nightmare, to drive down the canyon and get to the store only to panic because I don’t have a menu planned out for the week. I don’t allow myself to wander the grocery store without a grocery list because I just know a lot of food is going to be wasted. That or my shopping cart will be full of junk food and nothing for dinner.

granny smiths

frozen cranberries are about as good as fresh

Lacking inspiration for well over a month, I began to wonder if this was the end of URB. How many new meals and baked goods can I make each week and for how long? Has my writing seemed stale or uninspired of late? Because I had been feeling stale and uninspired. Maybe it was NaBloWriMo kicking my ass… Things improved yesterday though. First off, I got a steroid infusion (ion tow) for tendonitis in my left wrist. I also got a brace and realized this morning that the pain in my wrist for the past month (yeah, three weeks was the earliest appointment I could get with PT) made everything from cooking to shooting to travel somewhat less than ideal.

peel, core, and slice the apples

combine fruit with spices and butter

But the other half of what got me out of my rut was the arrival of my new subscription to Art Culinaire. I actually paid for it back in July, but didn’t remember until I was sorting some bills last month. It’s pricey – $60 for a year of this quarterly or close to $100 for international. I emailed the publisher and got a quick apology and promise of the past two issues. Flipping through the pages of each issue (a 90-page hard-cover coffee table book in its own right), I knew I might not ever make the stunning plated masterpieces before me. I wouldn’t know how to procure half of the ingredients anyway. That didn’t matter though.

Every image, every recipe ignited ideas in my head – got me excited about cooking again, got me thinking about shooting food again. If you are looking for a magazine packed with practical recipes and how-tos, this is not it. If you want a subscription to pure artistry and are willing to shell out the bucks, Art Culinaire might be up your alley.

layer the fruit into the baking dish

mix oatmeal into the topping

Right, so today I made apple cranberry crisp because it is fall and this is what I do in the fall. I shoot the fall colors, I start my lunge exercises to prep for tele season, I watch the weather forecast like a hawk, and I make apple cranberry crisp. While I was at the store buying apples, I frowned at the Granny Smiths. I only ever buy them to bake with – never to eat raw. Growing up, it seemed the Red (and Golden) Delicious and Granny Smiths were all the apples that were to be had. I was not an apple fan. Thankfully, more varieties are reaching the markets (and if you ever live near an actual apple orchard, be sure to sample the apples that will NEVER get to market). I love munching raw apples, as long as they are Good apples. I like my Fujis, Pink Ladies, Honeycrisps, Cortlands, Empires (yeah, Cornell had awesome apples)… I don’t allow Red Delicious in my house, but I do bake with Granny Smiths because they hold up nicely when cooked. Oh, and I forgot to mention my FAVORITE apple of all time: Macs.

sprinkle the topping over the fruit

This recipe is really bloody simple. A nice homey dessert to serve warm with a creamy accompaniment. If I could steal borrow some of Peabody’s cute little pie plates, I’d make these in individual servings for guests. I’ve replaced the cranberries with blueberries and other berries before – it’s all fantastic.

it is perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream

Apple Cranberry Crisp
[print recipe]

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsps unsalted butter, melted

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup rolled instant oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Peel and core the apples, then cut them into 1/4 inch slices. Wash cranberries and pick out any stems and twigs or past due berries. Place apples and cranberries in a large bowl. Add the sugars, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and toss the ingredients until the fruit is evenly coated. Pour the fruit mixture into the baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine the sugars with softened butter and mix until well blended. Stir in the flour. Add the oats and mix until the crust resembles coarse crumbs. Crumble the topping evenly over the fruit. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot with ice cream.

42 nibbles at “apple of my eye”

  1. Rosa says:

    A delightful crisp! Really comforting!

    cheers and have a nice weekend,


  2. barbara says:

    I like fujis too but I really like Granny Smiths. Raw,cut into thin slivers or I grate them through my muesli or add them to porridge. Have a great weekend Jen xxx

  3. Manggy says:

    I was excited when I saw the title pop up in my RSS Reader and “baking” next to it! But then I got a little concerned when I saw that you were feeling stale and uninspired. I am not just being nice when I say that your writing is never stale or uninspired to me– oh my God, how about “totally inspiring” to describe your blog and your personal story? I think your future is filled with hundreds of new adventures, culinary or otherwise. I know it. (But I wouldn’t want you to feel exhausted either– do cut yourself some slack!) I am therefore glad that Art Culinaire finally hauled ass and gave you your issues. I saw the index and it looks totally delicious, though well beyond my budget. I can’t wait till you make/interpret one of their recipes.
    SO, I got excited over apples– I love ’em. For a quick last-minute dessert when there are guests I just give them a quick saute and serve with caramel and ice cream. I should also look into creating a crisp instead– much less work involved. And the results look delicious too!

  4. peabody says:

    My parents buy me Art Culinaire every year as my stocking stuffer. I have never made a thing from it but I love it. The photos are so lovely and it really is more of a thin book than a magazine.
    Your crisp looks delightful. No stealing my pie dish though. :P

  5. Grey Street Girl says:

    Mmmm…that looks so good – perfect for fall!

  6. Lezel Safi says:

    Let me tell you how excited that the mag came and you are once again inspired……because you continually inspire me….fyi the hubabub and one of the three crumbsnatchers (pretty good odds in this house) loved the shredded beef tacos…..the hub sees food as “fuel” only most of the time and has some pretty weird food phobias, so for him to comment 3 times on how good dinner was is major! My sincerest thanks friend! I’m going to make the lime cheesecakes this weekend…….after we watch our OSU Cowboys kick ass first!

  7. Margie says:

    If you only knew….really, girl…if you only could look from the outside, in; the world out here is of a fresh spirit, brimming with ideas, willing to take the lead and go with an idea. We get to see someone that refreshes our pathway, even if she herself feels a bit, funkie. But, I’m not about to argue with what is all too obvious seen from your own doorstep. I do not walk in your shoes, and they have been heavy, clod-hoppers this past year. Just keep that bit of spirit flowing and rest assured that we ALWAYS look forward to your snippets, photos, recipes, ass-kickings and all the other bits you throw our way.

    We are the lucky ones. :)

    P.S. I guess this means I’m making this for the teens foray back to the house. ;) If she will let me have the cranberries…she loves to eat them raw, and here, in TX, I happened upon the first ones of the season this past weekend.


  8. Kitty says:

    Nope. Your writing hasn’t seemed stale or uninspired. I still visit every day. I’m glad I found you and URB. :)

  9. Susy says:

    OOOOO, I just bought a few bags of cranberries at the grocery and I have tons of apples from the farmer’s markets. Can’t wait to try this!!! I think I’ll add a bit of almond essense.

  10. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I love munching on raw Granny Smith apples – and I used to do that even as a kid, what made my mom laugh (how can someone so small eat something so sour?)

    Jen, your crisp looks delicious and similar to one I had back in London. Yum!

  11. Wandering Chopsticks says:

    I don’t think your writing is stale and uninspired. I’ve been enjoying the daily non-food posts too. Can’t get enough of the gorgeous Colorado scenery. And the other glimpses into your life are interesting. Just do what keeps you going.

  12. Fiona says:

    I don’t think it’s been stale. It’s been very personal, lately, which is nice. Lots about your family, friends, and Himself. And lots of nature, which is a pretty good inspiration for *me* to cook.

    As for apples, this looks delicious. I love a streusel topping. We’ve had a lot of success using Fujis in place of Granny Smith, esp. in recipes where there is another tart element (like, say, cranberries). They hold their shape well and if there’s extra I’m not irritated because I know we’ll eat them.

    There are several orchards here, and we’re going tomorrow or Sunday to one of them. Jonagolds picked right off the tree – here I come!

  13. Steph says:

    I agree with everyone saying that your writing hasn’t gone stale. I still come to URB for inspiration :)

    Those are the prettiest frozen cranberries I’ve ever seen! Usually they are mashed together or frozen into a solid block. So unattractive.

  14. Cynthia says:

    Good one Jen, I will hold out for the fresh crans and do this one. My husband told me if I bring another cookbook/cooking magazine into the house before the end of the year he’s gonna leave me. (not really) But I might ask for this magazine for Christmas.

  15. Tina says:

    Such amazing photos! Looks delicious!

  16. Graeme says:

    That’ll do nicely, Jen.

  17. marianne says:

    I’m pathetically whimpering in my office down here. And droooooooling. Someone needs to work on this space and time travel thing so I can invite myself over for desert, or I need to stop reading your blog for the next 4 months while I’m in quarantine. Looks amazingly good, Jen! If that’s what you call being in a rut….

  18. cindy says:

    apple and cranberry desserts have been in my thoughts a lot lately. this looks so yummy.
    and as for your writing, excellent as always.

  19. jenncharina says:

    we’re lucky enough to have all those apples available to us
    i love cortlands and honeycrisps!

  20. Kitt says:

    Your writing is as fresh as a honeycrisp!

    I meant to mention: don’t put the word “giveaway” in your giveaway post title or it may be picked up by an Internet sweepstakes aggregator. I found that out the hard way! A kajillion comments from people who had no interest in anything but winning what I intended as a treat for regular readers.

    Great to meet you finally!

  21. Isa says:

    Yum, yum, yum. Did I mention this looks yum?
    Thanks to all the mighty cooking forces for that issue that gave you inspiration to cook and -I hope- vanished those crazy ideas of closing URB of your head, cause, seriously that would be like the biggest harm to humanity! Hahah

  22. pea and pear says:

    Yum, oh yum. i will eat this now thank you ;)

  23. Sarah says:

    Oh this looks just perfect. A crisp is exactly what I’ve been craving all night (of course, instead I ate ice cream…almost the same). Unfortunately, we went apple picking a few weeks ago, ended up with a giant bag of apples, and managed to eat them all in a week. And I had had so many visions of delicious apple recipes. So we bought more at the farmers’ market…but…they’re gone too. Third time’s the charm?

  24. Holly says:

    This looks absolutely perfect. I’m very excited to be going to a cider mill for the first time tomorrow, but I still haven’t been able to get my hands on any Macs for so long – they just ruined every other apple for me and I can’t wait to find some. Beautiful pictures as always!

  25. Diana Banana says:

    kaweah! kaweah! give away kaweah!! and rig the contest to let me win! :)

    i love your posts and hope you never decide to stop. i think it’s impossible to feel inspired and enthusiastic about something all the freaking time. you deserve a break every now and then, especially with what seems like the very busy social life you have! i’m glad to see that you’re up to posting your goodies again though, despite the fact that your photos make me want to move to colorado right about now…

  26. Susan says:

    You are always SO refreshing, inspiring and motivating – maybe it’s that time of month, figuratively speaking. You have such a way of capturing the season or some fresh find, and working it into many tasty creations. I can’t wait to try a few of your lovely, delicious recipes for the holidays. Many fans love viewing food through your lenses, especially me! Btw, if you ever get a hankering for some curry, I’d love to check out your version of a curry :) Best! Susan

  27. Mrs Ergül says:

    ah ah, i actually know only fuji, granny smiths. how pathetic that is! But you’ve opened up my world of apples!

  28. Kevin says:

    That looks so good! I am going to have to try adding cranberries to apple crisp.

  29. Leonor Sousa Bastos says:

    Your pictures are so beatiful… I’m hypnotized!!

    Your recipes are always so original and brilliant! I love the presentation and I’m sure the taste and texture combination was fantastic!

  30. Nate says:

    How are you able to hold an apple in one hand, peel with the other, and take a picture so perfectly?

  31. jenyu says:

    Rosa – thanks, hon!

    Barbara – I think GS apples are fine, but my preference is for something sweeter, more floral in flavor. I was spoiled when living near the university orchard – they had WONDERFUL varieties that I won’t ever see in stores. Hope yours was a good weekend too, dear.

    Mark – Once you get to the states, perhaps I’ll send you AC for your bday :) Wow, you are quite the dessert whiz, aren’t you? My last minute dessert involves fresh fruit and whipped cream – no cooking! hee hee.

    Peabody – Dang, your folks are SWEET! That is one heck of a stocking stuffer. I promise I won’t steal your pie dishes ;)

    GSG – it’ll get your autumn on in no time flat :)

    Lezel – So happy he liked the dinner. I can’t take the credit though, b/c YOU made it for him so it must have been your magic touch. Awesome.

    Margie – I can’t imagine eating cranberries raw. That’s just a tad too sour for me! Hope you get to try the crisp soon.

    Kitty – thank you!

    Susy – I hope you like the crisp!

    Patricia – I definitely preferred GS apples to golden delicious. I like apples, but when it comes to certain varieties, I LOVE apples :)

    WC – you’re sweet. Thanks, hon. Glad I’m not boring folks to tears (sometimes I bore myself!)

    Fiona – oooh, I hope you picked a ton of apples. That is so much fun. Almost as fun as berry picking :)

    Steph – these were fresh crans that I bought last year and froze myself. But yeah, sometimes they can defrost into a horrid mess.

    Cynthia – It’s gorgeous to look at, but don’t count on finding too many recipes to make :)

    Tina – thank you.

    Graeme – hello dear! Good to see you. I am overdue for a visit to your site. I’m sorry, it has been insanely busy of late.

    Marianne(!!!!!) – you are probably the most remote commenter :) Jeremy and I are already discussing what meals to invite you over for when you return from Antarctica. I’m counting down the days to March!

    Cindy – that’ very nice of you to say.

    Jenncharina – oooh, I am jealous of the cortlands (and try empires too!)

    Kitt – good point. Thanks! Nice to get together with you and Manisha too :)

    Isa – a ha ha, it just be the daily blogging thing.

    Pea and Pear – :)

    Sarah – yes and for all those apples you are eating, you will be in great health too!

    Holly – have fun at the mill. That sounds so cool.

    Diana – oh, she is one pup I could not part with :) Thanks for the encouragement and yes, it’s true that it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm all the time. hopefully, my rut is done now!

    Susan – Thanks :) I am an idiot when it comes to Indian food. Hopefully I will get some help from Manisha one day. You should check out her blog (Indian Food Rocks). She’s the pro!

    Mrs E – if you ever venture to upstate NY, then you will have to find some apples in the fall there… yummy!!

    Kevin – it’s a nice tangy twist to a great dessert!

    Leonor – thank you :)

    Nate – tripod! hee hee. I love my tripod. You wouldn’t see half the photos of the food prep if it weren’t for my trusty tripod (and timer).

  32. Sarah says:

    I already posted on this one but I just made (& ate!) this and it was delicious! I used frozen black raspberries (that I bought for smoothies but there were WAY too many seeds) and it was so good. I would really like to try with cranberries though…good excuse to make it again. :)

  33. jenyu says:

    Sarah – mmm, sounds great!

  34. Apple Cranberry Crisp « No Slivers Here says:

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    […] not even Tofurkey for fellow vegetarians/vegans) nor was I – surprisingly! – hyped to create an apple cranberry crisp. Maybe it was the possible danger of eating it ALL in a single sitting, at home, by […]

  36. Jennifer says:

    We made the apple cranberry crisp. and it was delicious. The girls have been wanting me to make something wiht the cranberries they picked out at the grocer and it was a really nice dessert.
    Thanks for sharing.

  37. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – thank you for letting me know you liked it!

  38. Crisp or Crumble? Baked Summer Desserts Defined says:

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  39. Richard says:

    Thank you for such and amazing website!!! I recently discovered it, and in the process of cooking some of your recipes. I’ve never really cooked before, but lately have had some time on my hands, and decided to take up cooking as a hobby. Today I made your Apple Cranberry crisp… AWESOME and EASY!!! It calls for 1 cup of oatmeal, but in reality I ended up using almost 2 cups to get it crumbly. Perfect! I’ve told all my friends about your website, and I cant wait to make your dumplings… that’s what’s next on my list. YUM!!! Thanks!

  40. Barb says:

    I made the crisp for a casual gathering of friends this evening. Everyone raved about it – I directed them toward your site. Awesome.

  41. Linkfest: Apples « wonderment says:

    […] Apple Cranberry Crisp – Use Real Butter [no pic]. OK, in all honesty, I probably won’t make this, but I’m sure someone else will be glad I shared the recipe. Cinnamon Overload Apple Crisp – Elle's New England Kitchen. Classic Apple Crisp – King Arthur Flour. Caramel Apple Crisp – Eating Well… Living Thin. Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp – Barefoot Contessa (Foot Network). Perfect Apple Crisp – The Girl Who Ate Everything. […]

  42. JeanC says:

    Nice crisp recipe. I have my apples, so have been looking at recipes lately. My grandmother used to make one with apples and raisens as well. I will have to try this with cranberries.

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