Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cranberry-Apple Crisp with a Semolina Topping

I'm very much a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving desserts.  All other times of the year, I love creative desserts, but at Thanksgiving, all I want is pie, preferably of the pumpkin or pecan variety.  After tasting this cranberry-apple crisp I was surprised to find myself thinking that it would be a perfect way to end a Turkey Day feast.  This crisp has all of the familiar Thanksgiving flavors, but it goes the extra mile with plenty of orange and lemon zest and a hint of anise in the topping.  It is sure to please both the traditionalists and those who want a bit more creativity in their desserts.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. As suggested, I cut out all of the white sugar in the filling, and I substituted Jonagold apples for the more tart Granny Smiths.  I also used semolina flour in lieu of the polenta that Smitten Kitchen calls for.  The crisp turned out perfectly, if I do say so myself. 

Cranberry-Apple Crisp with a Semolina Topping
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the topping:
  • 1 tsp anise seed, toasted in a skillet
  • 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup semolina flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp cubes
  • 1 egg, beaten
For the filling:
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds Jonagold apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Make the topping by combining the first six ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture forms into coarse crumbs. Remove the topping to a bowl and drizzle the egg over the topping.  Stir well to combine the egg with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl.  Stir well so that the apples are coated with all of the spices and lemon juice.  
  4. Pour the filling into a 11 by 7 1/2 inch baking dish.  Crumble the topping over the filling. 
  5. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling, about an hour.  Let the crisp cool for 15 minutes before serving, the serve in bowls, topped with the vanilla ice cream.

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