This recipe is a riff on a classic apple crisp. If you've been reading my posts lately, you'll know that I've been on a bit of a quest to find creative ways to utilize our Thanksgiving leftovers. A cranberry apple crisp seemed like the perfect destiny for the leftover cranberries the fridge.
It's an incredibly easy recipe to make. If you have cranberry sauce, then all you really need to do is to add a sweetener, prepare the topping and bake the individual servings in the oven. They are great for intimate holiday parties.
Servings: 14 mini-ramekins
2 red delicious apples, (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
3/4 cup fresh cranberries, (3 ounces)
1/3 cup guava nectar, as needed
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons frozen guava pulp (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipped cream (optional)
For the compote de pomme à la vanille (vanilla-flavored apple sauce):
Using a paring knife, scrape and gather all the grains of the vanilla bean.
Peel, core and dice the apple. Coat the diced apples in lemon juice to prevent oxidation (turning brown) of the fruit. Place the apples, honey, grains of vanilla bean and 2 tablespoons of guava nectar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 6-7 minutes until the apples are tender. Stir frequently. Allow to cool, then blend the mixture in a mini-blender (or a regular blender if you don't have a mini).
For the cranberry filling:
Wash the cranberries. Pick out and discard any bad ones (discolored, shriveled or bruised). Place the cranberries in a saucepan; add 1/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon stick, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Add the remaining guava nectar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Skim off any foam that develops on the top. Cover and cook for about 25 minutes, until the cranberries have burst. Using a wooden spoon, stir frequently to prevent the cranberries from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the guava pulp (if used). Stirring constantly, bring back to a boil over medium-high heat and let it boil for about 20 seconds. Turn off the heat. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Mix in the apple sauce.
For the crisp topping:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease 14 2.75-ounce mini-ramekins with a thin layer of butter. Melt the remaining butter in the microwave (or over the stove) for 20 seconds.
In a bowl, combine the flours, ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Sift the dry ingredients. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, the brown sugar and the rolled oats. Add the melted butter and mix using a pastry blender or the back of fork until it forms sandy crumbs of butter, oats and flour. Do NOT over-mix. Set aside.
Place about 2 tablespoons of the cranberry filling into each ramekin. Evenly spoon the crumbly topping over the cranberry filling.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, then broil (if necessary) for 2 minutes until the top is crisp and golden.
Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you host a buffet-style dinner, this is the ideal way to run a stress free party as this dish can be prepared in advance. Just bake the cranberry crisps when the guests start the meal.
After scraping the grains of vanilla, do NOT discard the remaining vanilla bean. Just place the vanilla bean in a jar and cover it with regular granulated sugar. Let it sit for a few weeks and you'll get a nice, fragrant vanilla sugar.
When washing and soaking the cranberries, also discard the ones that sink.
I used Kern's guava juice but you can use any other juices you prefer.
Remember, the cranberry filling should be slightly sweeter to your taste before placing in the ramekins. When the cranberry filling cooks down in the oven, the flavor will get a little more intense; you want to make sure the result won't be too tart because of the cranberries. I think the amount of honey, the guava pulp and the addition of apple sauce balance out the tartness of the cranberries. But again, you can make an unlimited number of variations of this cranberry crisp.
I usually get a bag of cinnamon sticks at a more reasonable price at the Indian market, compared to the regular local chain stores and grated it using a microplane. You can use ready-made ground cinnamon but I think the flavors are more intense when freshly grated.
Don't have cranberries? No worries. Fruit crisp is a very versatile dessert. The base is just your average crisp topping, but you can add your own twist to it by using different fruit flavor combination. I used cranberry, apple and guava but rhubarb, pear, apricot or other berries sound as delicious. It is a true culinary chameleon.
I get all sorts of frozen pure pulp of fruit at Crossroads World Market -720 San Antonio Rd -Palo Alto, CA 94303. I love this place. It's a sweet little store. Crossroads market carries a wide range of European products. I use the fruit pulp (lemon, passion fruit, guava and different other flavors) to make ganaches, verrines, parfaits and very soon... macarons.
If you want a crispier topping, you can add a paper-thin slice of butter to each ramekin prior to baking in the oven.