Apple Cranberry Crumble

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Ironman training seriously infringed upon my time at the farmer's market this summer.  The last time I went to the Boulder Farmer's Market, it was at the end of a six-hour bike ride.  My motivation through the last hour was that the market closes at 2 PM, so the faster I rode, the more time I'd have to peruse.  Hey, everyone is motivated in a different way!

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We made it to the market that day, but with only 30 minutes to look around... and I was seriously distracted by wanting to eat everything in sight.  Thankfully, the Boulder Farmer's Market runs through the 3rd Saturday in November.  Last Saturday, I leisurely strolled through the market, scoped out the radishes, sunchokes, apples, and squash, and sampled some local goodies.  We've already had snowfall on the Front Range, but the farms are still going strong.   

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Afterward, we went mountain biking, something we hadn't done at all this summer but have been doing fairly regularly the last few weeks.  Fall might just be my new favorite season.

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I'm guessing that, regardless of where you live, there is an abundance of apples in your area.  I sampled about five varieties on Saturday before settling on Jonagolds.  We've been in between stone fruit and apple season here and I haven't made much dessert in the last month.  I found myself day dreaming of baked apples and cinnamon and wondered if I could meld my favorite dessert (Plum Crumble) into one containing apples?  It turns out that the crumble topping is just as delicious and crunchy and buttery with apples underneath as it is with plums.

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What I love most about this crumble is that when you pour melted butter over the topping, it creates a crisp outer shell around the delicious fruit filling.  The apple and cranberry combination held together much better than the plum crumble and it was the perfect ending to a crisp fall weekend.

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Apple Cranberry Crumble

Adapted from a Plum Crumble in the NY Times

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings 

Note - I've been asked for an apple pie recipe a few times.  I'll confess that I never follow a recipe for apple pie filling. I slice up a few apples and toss them with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little bit of sugar and either flour or cornstarch.  So, while I measured the ingredients below, use your own judgment when it comes to the spices - add more cinnamon or nutmeg or sugar or even more cranberries!  All spice would also be a nice addition.  

Ingredients

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons plus 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 plus ½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

7-8 medium apples, cored and sliced (I used Jonagold because they tasted the best at the farmer's market, but Jonathan, Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady are all good choices) (approximately 9 heaping cups when sliced)

1 cup fresh cranberries (these add a bit of color and a little bit of flavor - feel free to omit if you don't have them or to add more if you want a stronger cranberry flavor)

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 well beaten egg

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in center.

2. Thoroughly mix brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to apples and mix well. Add cranberries and place mixture in ungreased, deep 9-inch pie plate.  Be sure to scrape any of the sugar combination left in the bowl onto the apples.

3. Combine remaining sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix well.  Stir in egg.  Then, using hands or a metal whisk, mix thoroughly to produce little particles (pictured above if you'd like a visual).  Sprinkle over apples.

4. Slowly drizzle butter evenly over crumb mixture.  The butter has a tendency to roll down the topping and over the rim of the pie dish, so do this step carefully.  Bake the crumble on a rimmed baking sheet for 30 to 35 minutes, covering with tin foil if the top is browning too quickly (the baking sheet is for the butter that may bubble over the rim of your pie dish).  The crumble is done when top is browned and apples yield easily when pricked with a fork or knife.  Remove from oven and cool.

5. Serve warm or refrigerate for up to two days.  If reheating, bring to room temperature then warm at 300 degrees.  Enjoy with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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