November 15, 2011

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Are you as shocked as I am that Thanksgiving is right around the corner?  Usually I attribute this shocking feeling to the fact that stores get their shelves and displays ready for the big holidays a couple months in advance.  But this time it's different.  Seriously.  Thanksgiving.  Next week.  Yikes!

We usually have Thanksgiving with either my husband's family locally or mine in Southern California.  I love to experiment with new recipes before the big feast so that I can make sure that (1) what our big family eats is delicious and (2) I do not have any one dish that will take up all of my time and energy.  There's nothing worse than a bottleneck at the oven or kitchen sink when you're trying to have 8 dishes ready, all at the same time!

Here is the first of several recipes to consider for your Thanksgiving feast.  Apple cranberry crisp is tart, sweet, and beautiful.  It's a perfect choice for dessert or even an autumn brunch treat.  And you could even make it a day in advance and reheat it although I'm not sure if you will want to do this since you might have a 20-pound turkey that demands a lot of fridge space.  Keep this recipe in your back pocket for the day after Thanksgiving if you have a lot of cranberry sauce left over.
Trader Joe's cranberries are $2 for 12 ounces.
The flavor and texture of Granny Smith apples hold up well in baking.
Trader Joe's certified gluten free rolled oats, 32 oz bag for $4

Apple Cranberry Crisp
Adapted from Diana Rattray's recipe which appears at

Cranberry sauce
12 oz. bag of cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 cup granulated sugar

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-thick pieces

3/4 cup rolled oats (buy certified gluten-free oats if you are allergic to wheat or gluten)
1/2 cup flour or gluten-free flour blend*
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp vegan margarine, softened and cut into small chunks (Earth Balance makes milk-free, soy-free varieties)

It was looking quite lovely before I baked it.
  1. Combine cranberries, orange juice, and granulated sugar in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat partially covered.  Stir occasionally.
  2. Cook until most berries have burst and a thick sauce has developed.
  3. Remove sauce from heat.  Mix in apple slices until they are fully coated with sauce.
  4. Pour apple cranberry mixture into a greased 13"x9" pan or equivalent. (I used a pretty round dish that was less than 2 inches deep and sauce bubbled out onto the oven.  Yikes!
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the dry topping ingredients.
  7. Add chunks of softened vegan margarine into dry mixture until coarse chunks form.
  8. Drizzle topping over fruit mixture completely covering the fruit. 
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes until topping is golden brown.
A delicious but macabre mess from my too shallow dish.

How to make Gluten-free Flour Blend 
3 cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
  1. Thoroughly mix flour and starches together.   Store in an airtight container.
  2. You may want to double the recipe so that you have a good-sized stash of GF flour blend for your future baking needs.
  3. Although I think it's not necessary for the above crisp recipe, usually you need to add xanthan gum or guar gum when you use a gluten-free four blend.  Xanthan gum (which contains corn derivatives) and guar gum work as binders for baked goods.  
  Use the following rule of thumb for adding xanthan gum or guar gum:
  • 1 tsp per cup of flour mix = sandwich bread/pizza crust
  • 1/2 tsp per cup of flour mix = cakes/muffins/quick breads
  • 1/4 tsp per cup of flour mix = cookies


  1. I've prepped the hot part...will finish and pop in the oven after dinner. Wish me luck...

  2. Sarah, how did it turn out? Hope everyone gobbled it up! (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.)

  3. Delicious! Seriously--got a lot of compliments. And really easy. Thanks for the recipe Irene!

  4. How much cranberry sauce does it come to? I have leftovers, but I'm not sure how much to use....

  5. I think it comes to about 2 cups or less. Not that much. It just kind of barely covered the apples that I added. Try it Mich...