Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple Cranberry Crumble: The Beginning

Autumn is my favorite season, trust me, you'll hear that a lot. The changing of the leaves, the cooling from summer, the savory meals that follow.

This fall we traveled to northern Wisconsin and witnessed some of the most beautiful landscapes that I can remember. Growing up in the north woods gave me an appreciation for nature that has always stayed with me. Since we lived in a refurbished cabin on a lake supermarket shopping was a luxury we did not enjoy. Instead we made our breads from scratch, canned our own sauces, and on occasion stopped at local farm stands for produce.

This is where I found myself 17 years later. At a small wayside cart filled with fall squash and newly picked apples. Produce like this would be an arm and a leg in the cities, so we bought all our house would handle. A whopping 5 dollars worth!

The gourds now peek from every corner, while the apples have turned over 3 deserts and counting. Luckily Wisconsin also boasts a large cranberry source, so what better to go with the small green apples.

Note: When making apple deserts that call for cinnamon, I substitute cinnamon decoration beads (about 4 or 5 for this recipe) They give the same flavor and also add a festive red color to the mixture.

Apple Cranberry Crumble

4 small Apples, Golden Delicious recommended
2 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 1/2 cup cranberries
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp corn starch

Cream Cheese Crust

8 oz, half package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


2 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix the crust together and chill. Peel apples, remove core, and slice into thick pieces. In a sauce pan heat the apples together with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Once the apples are slightly soft add corn starch mixed with 1/2 cup of water. Remove from heat and let cool. The corn starch mixture will thicken, add more water if too think or clumpy.
Cook cranberries by direction. If fresh cranberries are used, boil with 1/2 cup of water and sugar till skins pop. Remove from heat and cool.
In a shallow baking pan spread crust out on the bottom. Cut the apples up into small chunks. Layer cranberries and then apples over the crust. Mix crumble together and sprinkle on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees covered for 20 minutes, remove cover and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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