Cranberry Apple Crisp (and a sappy story)

>> Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When I was a kid growing up on Caledonia Circle, I was lucky enough to have some excellent cooks in my midst. Sadly, being the picky little bugger that I was, I didn't appreciate most of the culinary talents of the grown-ups in my life until I moved to LA and started work on becoming one myself (a culinary talent, not a grown-up.) My block was home to Italian grandmas that treated me like one of the family and showered me with food and love, a Jewish family next door whose vegetarian feasts tended to clash with my uber-picky tendencies, another Italian family across the street whose patriarch kept me filled with homeade sweet bread, bean soup and PIES, PIES, PIES. Topping of the list of neighborhood folks who attempted to feed me were my long suffering parents.

My mom and dad figured out early on that there was no way I was eating that, thus they taught me how to make iceburg lettuce salads with ranch and buttered noodles with parmesan cheese and we all went on our merry ways; me avoiding most meats, greens, nuts and above all , the dreaded ONION and them enjoying the gastronomic delights of our culturally diverse neighborhood. There was one aquired taste that I enjoyed, even as a kid. I shared this prediliction mostly with my pet rabbits and my habit was fed by my neighbor, the Pie King (side note, he is now the organizer of our small town's annual pie contest!) I loved (and still love) apple peels. The Pie King would stop by our house when he was making a batch of pies and bring with him a big plastic bag full of curly tendrils made from granny smith apple peels that were ostensibly for our rabbits. I was always amazed at how long they were; he usually managed to get the entire apple disrobed in one piece. I would accept the bag of peels on the bunnies behalf and then eat the entire bag, sucking up each peel like a giant spaghetti noodle until my stomach hurt. Only then would any scraps be delivered to the hutches of Razz or Pepper or Honey (getting a theme here? We're food people.)

Last week I decided to use my leftover bag of Thanksgiving cranberries to make a gluten-free (of course!) cranberry apple crisp. This is the first time I have ever peeled an apple like the Pie King used to. I didn't manage to get an entire apple peeled without any breaks in the spiral but I the corckscrews I made and munched brought back a lot of warm memories.

This will be my first Christmas away from this family and I wish I could be there with them to show them that I've overcome my pickiness (mostly) and also to eat and cook with them and learn from their infinite culinary wisdom. This recipe is for them, especially my fellow gluten-free warrior!

Gluten Free CranApple Crisp:

- 5 crisp, tart apples (I used a combo of 1 honeycrisp,  2 arkansas black and 2 granny smith) cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 bag fresh cranberries (take out two cups to cook, leave the rest whole and uncooked)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp sugar

- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit and Baking Mix
- 1 cup gluten free oats
- 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- pinch of sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Cook 2 cups of fresh cranberries in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar over medium heat until the berries have all popped and the mixture has slightly thickened. Set aside to cool.

Mix cooked cranberries with whole cranberries, vanilla, lemon juice and zest and sea salt.

Add apples and sugar and allow mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes so the juices and sugar mix.
Mix dry topping ingredients with a fork. Melt butter and add to maple syrup then add the liquid mixture to dry ingredients, still mixing with a fork.

Place fruit in baking dish and top with the topping ingredients, spreading the crisp mixture evenly across the top so that no large holes remain.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the juice begins to bubble up through the crust and the crust is browning at the edges.

Serve warm with ice cream. This is a tart treat that is perfect for chilly weather!


NJenn August 7, 2010 at 9:56:00 PM PDT  

Hi! I just found this recipe through a Google search, and the smell of apple crisp is wafting over to me as we speak. Can't wait to taste it, and to see what other goodies you have posted!
Thank you!

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