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Apple-Cranberry Crisp With Polenta Streusel Topping

Apple-Cranberry Crisp With Polenta Streusel Topping

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  • 3/4 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend


  • 2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Vanilla gelato or ice cream

Recipe Preparation

For topping

  • Toast aniseed in small skillet over medium heat until slightly darker in color, about 3 minutes. Place seeds in processor. Add next 5 ingredients; blend 5 seconds. Add butter; blend, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Drizzle egg over and stir until ingredients are evenly moistened.

For filling

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; stir to blend. Add apples and lemon juice; toss to blend. Transfer filling to 11x7x2- inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 2-quart baking dish).

  • Crumble topping finely over filling. Bake dessert until apples are tender, juices bubble thickly, and topping is crisp and golden, about 1 hour. Cool 15 minutes. Serve crisp warm with gelato.

  • *Sold at some supermarkets and at natural foods stores and Italian markets.

Recipe by Michael Chiarello,Reviews Section

A Taste of Healthy Living

Do you love dessert, but are afraid to make them or are stuck in a rut with the same recipes over and over again? This Wednesday, Nina Lesser-Goldsmith will lead a demonstration on gourmet desserts! Using Vermont flavors such as apple, pumpkins and maple, she’ll show participants how to put new twists on old favorites and maybe even add a couple new recipes to the family cookbook. She’ll also share tips for making a melt-in-your-mouth streusel topping. And – if you fear making piecrust from scratch, she has you covered as well.

Here’s what Nina has on the menu:

  • Apple-Cranberry Crisp with Polenta Streusel Topping
  • Velvety Smooth Spiced Pumpkin Pie with Hazelnuts
  • Deep-Dark Gingerbread Cake with Caramelized Pears and Vanilla Whipped Cream
  • Maple-Pecan Sticky Buns

This demonstration class is from 5:30-8:00 and costs $20. To register, click here or call Customer Service at (802) 863-2569 ext 1.


Welcome to the home of BIZZY people where cooking is fun, quick, easy and delicious. Over the years, my taste in food has changed, as have my recipes. This blog will chronicle the changes I continue to make, as I face challenges in healthier eating and in new methods of cooking.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

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For the Filling:
5 apples, peeled,
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apple
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown rice gluten-free flour mixture
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Topping:
1-1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 cup gluten-free brown rice flour mixture
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the filling ingredients. Pour into the baking dish.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the apples are tender.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp With Polenta Streusel Topping - Recipes

This week's TWD pick, Apple Cranberry Crisp, was just about perfect. Juicy chunks of Honeycrisp apples (my fave!), tart fresh cranberries, and a streusel topping packed with coconut and ginger. It practically screamed EAT ME. Yes, it was aaaalmost perfect.

But it was missing something:

That's better! What's a warm fruit crisp without a big heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? The ice cream, originally meant to be an afterthought, ended up being my husband's favorite part of the dish. (But then, vanilla ice cream is his kryptonite.) I forgot to buy some at the store, and I was tragically low on cream, but I was able to make some using my ice cream maker, a large stash of evaporated milk, and this handy recipe. Super fast, and just as good as custard-based ice creams. I knew my leaning tower of pantry cans would come in useful someday.

Even after adding the ice cream, there was still something not quite right about this crisp.
There you go. Now it's perfect. What did everyone else think?


Yum, that looks fabulous! I'm making this next week, can't wait! I did the cookies this week and they were a huge success in this house.

Love the kryptonite comment, that's my husband too! LOL

I think I'd like some please. With ice-cream too. Looks stickily scrumptious.

Beautiful - the rosy fruit, the creamy ice cream, a little crisp topping! Well done.

Baking Obsession

Don’t be surprised it wasn’t served with ice cream. See, I need to shed a couple of pounds here – I am trying to squeeze into this party dress by the end of the month. So, the dish is basically my diet food – less fat, more vitamins. If you are favoring traditional views you can top the crumble with a scoop of vanilla or orange ice cream. But the yogurt actually turned out pretty tasty, and it was good with the crumble, as well as on its own.

Does anybody else think that food blogging has an inevitable weight-gaining side-effect?

Serves 4 with some yogurt leftovers (yogurt recipe makes about 1 qt)

For the yogurt:

  • 3 cups unsweetened whole-fat thick (preferably organic) yogurt
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup fresh carrot juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • ¼ cup extra-fine granulated sugar (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the crumble:

For the crumb topping:

  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup light brown (or granulated) sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp (pinch) salt
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed

For the apple filling:

  • ½ cup dry cranberries
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 4 large firm apples, peeled, cored, sliced into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp (pinch) kosher salt

Make the yogurt:

A night before, line a sieve with a double layer of cheese cloth. Drain the yogurt in the sieve in the refrigerator overnight, covered with plastic wrap. Make sure there’s enough space between the sieve and the bottom of the bowl. When the yogurt is drained transfer it into a medium bowl.

In another bowl or a liquid-measuring cup, combine the rest of the ingredients. Whisk well to dissolve the sugar and corn syrup. Then gradually whisk the juice mixture into the yogurt. Taste and add more sugar if you wish. Chill, covered, for a couple of hours. Or, if your orange and carrots were kept in the refrigerator, you can proceed further with the recipe. Process the yogurt mixture in the ice cream maker. Transfer into a freezer-safe container and place into the freezer to firm up, for 1 to 2 hours.

If you made the yogurt a day before transfer it into the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to soften it slightly.

Make the crumble:

At least two hours before and up to a day, put the cranberries in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the simmer over med/high heat. Drain, transfer to a small bowl. Add the Grand Marnier, cover, set aside.

Make the crumbs:

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cubes of cold butter and work them into the flour using a pastry blender or your fingers (my preference here) until the mixture is crumbly.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat and sprinkle the crumbs over the sheet. Transfer into the refrigerator while the oven is preheating.

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake the streusel crumbs for about 12 minutes, until they are light golden. Gently stir the crumbs and bake for another 5-6 minutes until nicely browned.

Cool on the baking sheet on a rack. The streusel topping can be made several days in advance. Store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Assemble and bake the crumble:

Maintain the oven temperature 350F. Lightly spray with oil 4 individual baking dishes, ramekins, or one 10-inch round ceramic or glass pie plate. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the cranberries, apples, orange juice, zest, granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, separating the apple slices to coat them evenly. Divide the apples between the baking dishes. Bake the crumble until the apples are tender and the juices bubble, about 30-40 minutes. Stir the fruits once during the process for even baking. When the crumble is almost done, top the apples with previously baked crumbs. Return the dishes/dish into the oven for 3 to 5 minutes more. Serve warm with the frozen orange-carrot yogurt or ice cream.

Mainly Baking

This apple pie is ideal for for picnics or other outdoor feasting, as the apple filling is baked in a sour cream custard which sets solid when cold. This makes it easy to transport, and more importantly, easy to eat, in situations where there might be no cutlery and flimsy disposable plates. There are no dripping juices or sloppy filling to fall out onto your plate, or even worse, your clothes or the floor!.

This makes it an ideal entry to the Tea Time Treats August challenge, which is for Picnic Pies. When I first saw the challenge, I had ambitions to create something savoury, and although I made a very tasty and spicy sweet potato pasty filling, the pastry itself didn't work out too well. So when I was presented with a kilo or so of windfall apples which needed using quickly, I grabbed the opportunity for a second chance at the challenge.

I don't know where this recipe came from, as I've had it written on a card in an index box file for over 30 years. I had no idea, that long ago, that one day it would be important to be able to attribute recipes!

The pastry is a basic shortcrust made with 180g flour, to which I added the zest of half a lemon and one dessertspoon of sour cream from a small carton (150mls?) before using cold water as necessary to make a dough. This is used to line a 9" pie plate, and then chilled - no need to bake blind - while the filling and topping are assembled.

The filling is made by mixing the rest of the sour cream with 1 egg and a tablespoon of lemon juice, then adding sliced apples - the recipe stated 750g of eating apples, weighed before peeling and coring, but because the apples were small, there was a disproportionate amount of peel and core, so I added a couple extra. Once the filling is in the pie case, a streusel topping made from rubbing 60g butter into 60g plain flour, 60g demerara sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon is sprinkled over. The pie is baked at 200C for 20 minutes, then at 170C for roughly another 40 minutes, until the custard seems set. I placed the pie onto a pre-heated baking sheet, which helped the base to stay crisp.

I prefer to eat this pie at room temperature or chilled, so that the filling is set it's delicious with creme fraiche or natural yogurt but is moist enough to be eaten on its own. The pie really needs to be made with eating apples, as there is very little added sugar (only in the stresel topping) and you need to see apple slices set in the custard when you slice the pie. I think cooking apples might make too much juice and spoil the custard.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Roasted Fennel, Asparagus & Apple Salad - Going Green

In the late 90's I became one of the many fortunate people to befriend Marla Bennett. She was an incredible person, with a sparkle in her eye that was mesmerizing. Those eyes turned into pools of warmth and care when she listened and commanded attention and respect when she spoke, they drew you into her laugh when she giggled and got you humming along when she sang. As her emotions shifted so did the sparkle, and yet it was always present.

In July 2002 Marla was victim to a fatal bomb attack in Israel at Hebrew University. Marla's sparkle transformed from a physical sign in real time, to a spark that would ignite a wave of good work grounded in her passions for Jewish living and Israel. These passions became her legacy. To say that Marla was adored and respected by many is to greatly understate. In just 24 years she had created a network of friends who were deeply impacted by her incredible personality, and she had made many contributions to Jewish education through her leadership with Hillel and Jewish camping, and her study of Jewish text and Middle Eastern political science.

Marla loved the story of Noah, and it stood out as a favorite amongst the portions of Torah we read throughout the year. Each year, to honor her memory, some close friends and I celebrate Shabbat together when Parshat Noach is read. We mark the occasion as "Rainbow Shabbat," and prepare a meal reflecting the full spectrum of colors in a rainbow. While there are many great reasons to fall in love with the story of Noah, and the symbol of the rainbow, I must say that I never explicitly knew Marla's reason. So, in her memory I've done some learning to link Marla to the rainbow.


Iguazu Falls, Argentina
The story of Noah and the flood serves as an important marker in time. Not long after creating the world, God destroys it by flood out of grave discontent for the lack of humanity amongst the men and women who inhabit it. Noah is singled out as a man of honor, and is called on to save himself and God's animal creatures. When the flood is over, a rainbow appears as a sign that God will not again destroy the world. Rabbinic wisdom distinguishes between two worlds based on this story. Each world reflects a different mix of opportunity and limits. In the Pre-Flood world the human lifespan stretched as long as the 900-year mark, giving people ample opportunity to experience life and make their mark. Yet, ultimately this world depended on a certain level of morality to carry on. When God becomes dissatisfied with human behavior he wipes it out. In the Post-Flood world the human lifespan narrows to the 100-year range, and the opportunity to experience life and make an impact is shorter. The Post-Flood world, however, has an unending time continuum. God will not again destroy the world - regardless of how much we trash it. People must be be more conscientious and coordinated in their efforts to work together within their lifespan, and to link their generation to the ones that came before and will come after.

The rainbow is a phenomenon unique to the Post-Flood world. Scientifically, a rainbow is seen when moisture rises from below to interact with the light from above. Spiritually, this can be equated to the active relationship when people work together and interact with God. While the world does not depend on these interactions for its existence, God created the rainbow as a physical sign to remind us of the importance of this relationship. Witnessing a rainbow reminds us of our responsibility to be active caretakers of the world and each other, and to be active in our relationship with God. The beauty of the rainbow and spectrum of colors is hardly a coincidence. In this way, the rainbow is also our muse. It urges us to be creative, inclusive, and peace minded. The rainbow kicks our butt into gear.

. and there, in that rainbow, one can always see Marla's sparkle. During her tragically limited lifetime she worked towards this very goal. Her death was a sad example of human behavior at its worst, but for those of us who learn from her memory - directly or indirectly - we are now inspired to reach out to each other and up towards something higher. Rainbows have come to remind me of Marla, and each year my friends and I create our own culinary sign through Rainbow Shabbat.

My friend, and the founder of Rainbow Shabbat, was hosting the meal this year. She assigned me the color green and salad as my dish. Sounds like a no-brainer, but while it was an easy call for her, my mind melted in a flood of possibilities. About a third of all vegetables are green (I'm making that up - but it seems likely, no?). On the one hand there are so many from which to choose, but the trick was to identify a combination that blended well together both visually and gastronomically. I pondered over the possibilities for a week and ultimately settled on two salads.

The first was a Green Asian Fusion Salad. It came together like this - I went to an Asian market and perused the green options. I decided that if it was sold at an Asian market, and if it was put into a salad, then the salad was inherently Asian. . throw in the word fusion just to be safe, right? I started with greens, and mixed in some ribbons of Thai basil for a tangy kick to alert the taste buds that something unique was going down. I added crisp, blanched broccoli and chopped, sweet sugar snap peas. These served as my solid, dark green vegetables. To grow lighter in color, texture and taste I added Japanese cucumbers and juicy kiwis. I had hoped to find green papaya (sounds nice and exotic, no?), but they didn't have any. Feeling like the salad needed one final touch, I grabbed an avocado - figuring that if it appears in US sushi rolls, then it has got to be Asian,. I constructed the salad in concentric circles, alternating dark and light shades of green and topping it with squeezed lime juice and a Japanese dressing that came in a green bottle and had a green looking plant on the label. It was called, Japanese Green Dressing - at least in my translation of the Japanese characters on the label. The tasters gave it a thumbs up.

The second salad was more simple, and I think more noteworthy. Less can indeed be more. This salad also reflected a spectrum of green colors ranging from the dark green of spinach and asparagus to the almost translucent green of the fennel. Now, fennel is understated as it shares a flavor with black licorice. Licorice has no business being black and fennel-like, but properly prepared fennel - as a vegetable - is quite yummy. Mine was roasted with garlic and green basil, seasoned with salt and pepper. Since I already had a roasting pan prepared, I decided to fire up the asparagus as well to develop a nice, smokey flavor. The salad was screaming for a tart, fruity dimension to balance the earthy fennel and asparagus, so onto the roasting pan went some green apple segments topped with a bit of salt and a drizzle of agave nectar (similar to honey). With savory and tart flavors in place, the final touch needed to be a sweet crunch. I had a bag of green pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in my cupboard, and decided to candy them by melting sugar in a pan, adding the pepitas to toast and sprinkling themwith some freshly ground salt and pepper for a kick. Delicious!

This particular year's Rainbow Shabbat was pretty significant. The bomber responsible for Marla's death was being held by the Israeli government, but was released this past week as part of the deal that freed Israeli solider Gilad Shalit after five years as a hostage. Lest those close to Marla feel angry over his release, Marla's mother makes clear the importance of Gilad's current life over avenging Marla's death in a moving article in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Watch the video: Apple Cranberry Crisp Recipe (July 2022).


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  2. Cahir

    How could it not be better!

  3. Tokora

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