I will never turn down the comfort of a classic apple crisp (there should be an experiment done to see if more homes are sold with the aroma of chocolate chip cookies or apple crisp wafting from the kitchen). But sometimes you want a little something “more.” And the ability to feature even more fall flavors (I’m looking at you dried cherries, apricots, cranberries and pears) satisfies just that. But let’s be honest, you know it’s for the hard cider that we’re really all here.Print
Fall flavors abound in this autumnal fruit crisp with dried cherries, apricots, cranberries, apples and pears.
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup dried apricots cut into slivers (from about 5 whole)
- ½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (110 g)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (67 g)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg, preferably fresh ground
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ¾ cup + 3 TB apple or pear hard cider, divided
- 3 TB cornstarch (24 g)
- 1 lb apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 3 medium)
- 1 lb firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 3 medium)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (100 g)
- zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
- 1 TB fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp fine-grain salt, like table or sea salt
For the Crisp Topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (120 g)
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (110 g)
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats (80 g)
- ½ tsp fine-grain salt, like table or sea salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (½ cup, 4 oz)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 11x7 or 9x9 glass baking dish; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the dried cherries, dried apricots, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in the ¾ cup hard cider and cook over medium heat until the sugars are dissolved.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 TB hard cider with the cornstarch. Increase the heat to medium high and stir in the slurry. Bring to a boil and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 full minute - the mixture will thicken, turning clear and satiny. Remove from heat to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the apples, pears, cranberries, zest, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Stir in the reserved hard cider mixture. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading evenly, and top with the crisp topping.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden and bubbling along the edges. Let cool on a wire rack for about an hour, to let the juices settle and no longer scald your mouth.
To make the Crisp Topping:
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats and salt. Stir in the melted butter until well combined.
Hard cider is available at most grocery stores. Common brands are Woodchuck and Angry Orchard. Dry hard cider also works well in this recipe (just note that, as the name implies, it is less sweet.) As this recipe originated in Door County, a deserved shout-out to Island Orchard Cider.
I start peeling, coring and slicing the apples and pears while the hard cider mixture is cooling. That way, it’s still warm, but no longer boiling-hot, when the two are combined.
It's not absolutely necessary to peel the apples and pears, just know that they won't break down as much while baking, retaining more of their original shape.
To make the flavor even more interesting, I like to use different varieties of apples (i.e. McIntosh, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith) and pears (i.e. Bartlett, Bosc, and Anjou), if available.
If I’m feeling extra particular (and I have both types on hand), I’ll use dark brown sugar in the filling and light brown sugar in the topping.
I’m used to rubbing cold butter into a topping, but I read online that melting the butter helps hydrate the flour, resulting in a clumpier, crispier topping. I think you’ll agree it’s a good (and easier!) technique.
The topping can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until needed.
This recipe was inspired by chef Terri Milligan’s recipe for Autumn Fruit Pie from Edible Door magazine.
Keywords: apple crisp, fall recipes, autumn recipes, apple recipes, hard cider, pear recipes