Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries

Enjoy the homey flavors and aroma of baked apple pie in less than 30 minutes. You won’t miss the traditional flaky crust too much once you taste the crunchy-gritty toasted cornmeal streusel on warm, spicy apples.


Enjoy the homey flavors and aroma of baked apple pie in less than 30 minutes. You won’t miss the traditional flaky crust too much once you taste the crunchy-gritty toasted cornmeal streusel on warm, spicy apples.

I know, I know…you were expecting all the juicy details of my trip to San Francisco two weeks late and all I can offer you today is pie. Oh, and it’s not even a real pie, it’s a crisp! A crumble! I’ve been a horrible updater of this site, I’m so sorry. Worrisome exhaustion >> Blog, in the grand scheme of things. I will make it up to you…

Quick Dutch Apple Crisp with Cranberries

This will make my super-late SF update worth the wait, I promise you.

After being away for more than a month, I sorely missed the local farmers markets. I’m one of those weird gals who enjoy shopping for fruits and vegetables…must be the old-lady streak kicking. Haha. Last Saturday’s excursion was no exception from my market black book, I filled up the baskets with my hoarding eyes. I picked up six Fall apples, the Okanagan Fuji ones, which are were so sweet and crisp. All of them ended up being cooked and baked. Mmm…

Since I am not 100% physically well these days, I usually choose the path to anything that requires less of my time and energy. I really wanted an apple pie a few nights ago, but with an extra trip to the store to get vodka (Oh, that? I still have to tell you about that crust!) for the crust, that’s not going to happen. I stared lovingly at the Fuji apples and thought of what to do with them besides eating them as is. I didn’t dare search Gourmet.com because thinking about the demise of the magazine still brings me physical pain. So I decided to make use of my online membership to dear old Cook’s Illustrated. There was a recipe for Quick Dutch Apple Crisp, which inspired that night of experimentation.

After making Peach Crumble for years and being left with delicious, yet unsatisfying, toppings that become soggy and unappetizing as leftovers, I was hesitant to try another fruit variation. But what can you do? If you have a craving, you must give in to The Craving! I was not disappointed. Cooking the fruit and the streusel separately was a godsend, and the cornmeal in the streusel made it a perfect contrast to the soft apples. Oh…my…god. This is why I always have cornmeal in the pantry: it’s not just for cornbread or coating. Amen.

So here, ladies and gentlemen, is the quickie apple pie that will satisfy your cravings in a jiffy. Go back here and tell me it’s awful if you try it and you’re not satisfied. I just know you’ll thank me once you taste it. :-)

Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries Download the print-ready PDF recipe for Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries


Apple Filling

  • 3 medium-sized apples, peeled, quartered, chopped into ¼ x ½  x ½ -inch chunks and fills about 5 cups. Use what you have on hand or your preferred variety. (I used Okanagan Fuji apples.)
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon triple sec liqueur (optional)

Crumble/Streusel topping

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Place the rack in the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

2. For the apple filling

  • Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl, and toss the apple chunks in it.
  • Melt butter over high heat on a Dutch oven until it begins to turn amber in color and the milky froth from the butter has almost cleared (don’t allow it to burn).
  • Add the apples into the pot and reduce heat to medium-high. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cranberries and stir. Cover for another 5 minutes or until the apples begin to soften and break down in the steam. Juice will collect on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from the heat and pour over a strainer with a large bowl underneath to catch the juice.
  • Pour the juice back into the Dutch oven over high heat and mix it with heavy cream and triple sec liqueur (if used). Stir until the mixture is reduced and thickened. It’s done when you drag your wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan and it leaves a trailing line. Turn off the heat and toss the apples and cranberries in it.
  • Transfer the fruits and any remaining liquid into an 8-inch square, or circular, baking dish and flatten the top with a spatula. For individual servings, you can pour them into ramekins or other oven-safe bowls.

3. For the crumble/streusel topping:

  • Mix flour, brown sugar and cornmeal in a medium bowl with a fork. Drizzle melted butter while continuing to mix it until it forms pea-sized chunks.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the streusel mixture evenly on top of it.
  • Bake it in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. Watch closely once you hit the 4-min mark. It might start to burn depending on your baking sheet.
  • Take it out of the oven and set aside to cool on a trivet for 5 minutes. Toss the crumble around with a small spoon to prevent it from burning if it is already getting dark.
  • Sprinkle topping over the dish/ramekins/bowls filled with fruit.

You can skip to #5, as the fruit and toppings should be good to go. Continue with #4 if you prefer the streusel to be deep brown and/or want to warm up the dish.

4. Set the pie plate/ramekins/bowls on the now-empty baking sheet and place in the oven until the streusel is a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes.

5. Cool pie plate/ramekins/bowls on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve apple crumble warm, preferably with vanilla ice cream on top, paired with a warm cup of coffee or tea.

You might also want to check out other food bloggers’ recipes:

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  • October 17, 2009 1:31 am

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,….your crumble looks absolutely delicious!! I like to serve it with some good hot custard!!

    Apples & cranberries: how can you fail???
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Sophie’s cranberry, pecan & oats spelt cookies =-.

    • joy
      October 17, 2009 2:07 am

      Thank you so much, Sophie! We had ours with generous servings of vanilla ice cream. Oh, heaven.

  • October 17, 2009 1:39 am

    Ah, you read my mind! This is just what I’ve been craving and wanting to make and yours looks so perfect: perfectly cooked fruit and crispy topping (which does’nt look heavy and dry). Delicious!
    .-= Jamie´s last blog ..MANNA FROM HEAVEN =-.

    • joy
      October 17, 2009 2:09 am

      What can I say, hun, great minds think alike. Haha. The crispy topping is really something I’ll keep for more recipes to come. It’s that good. It’s not dry at all, and doesn’t soak up too much of the juice either. :)

  • October 17, 2009 5:01 am

    Wow, cornmeal in a crumble topping! I like the idea.

    Would reducing / replacing the brown sugar in the topping be okay? I don’t like streusel toppings that are too sweet.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Dutch Apple Bread =-.

    • joy
      October 17, 2009 10:17 am

      You can try. The topping isn’t too sweet, but if you really like it more on the bland side, 2 tablespoons is fine. I tried both and prefer 3. :)

  • October 17, 2009 10:10 am

    Sometimes lie just get’s the better of you, doesn’t it? Don’t worry – take your time to be back in action. I’m patiently waiting for your BlogHer post. Btw, I saw a photo of yours at BlogHer on some other blog – you look cute with your hand covered in dessert! Hhehe :)
    .-= The Purple Foodie´s last blog ..Outrageous Cheesecake Swirled Brownies =-.

    • joy
      October 17, 2009 10:19 am

      It really does and you realize you’re not invincible. Haha. Omg…if that isn’t real proof that I do love my sweets and chocolates, that I don’t know what is. My love for dessert is far and wide, and you can take that literally with my mouth wide open. LOL!

  • October 17, 2009 11:25 pm

    I heart crumbles/crisps. I hope you’re feeling better!
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..World Bread Day 2009: Stout, Oat and Honey Knots =-.

  • October 19, 2009 3:54 am

    This is gorgeous, and I especially how you used Okanagan Fuji Apples :) We’re so lucky in BC
    .-= Mel @ bouchonfor2.com´s last blog ..Guest Bloggers Search: Share Your Family Recipe =-.

  • elaine
    October 19, 2009 8:04 pm

    i made your recipe tonight (except i used 1/2 cup fresh cranberries since that’s what i had on hand), and WOW. it’s soooooo good. bursting with flavor. definitely hit the spot! kudos! :)

  • October 20, 2009 2:17 pm

    Does this travel well? Can you bring to SF? I am actually planning on making an apple and cranberry crisp this week as well! Great minds think alike.
    .-= Esi´s last blog ..Honeyed Fig Crostatas =-.

  • October 20, 2009 3:25 pm

    I love your addition of corn meal in the crumb topping! I always add oats for texture and never would have thought to reach for corn meal. Looks absolutely delicious!

  • joy
    October 21, 2009 10:17 pm

    Me, too. I love the almost-instant gratification with them. :) I am, thanks doll. :)

  • joy
    October 21, 2009 10:18 pm

    Thanks, Mel! I try to use as much local food as I can. Heck, yeah! I always look forward to coming back from travel because of all the fresh local produce I might have missed.

  • joy
    October 21, 2009 10:20 pm

    Elaine, I”m glad you loved it! I enjoy ‘flexible’ recipes, this one included. :)

  • joy
    October 21, 2009 10:21 pm

    Even if it travels well, hun, I don’t think I can keep from eating it. Haha. I will, however, (HOPEFULLY) bring you something that will stay fresh through the plane ride. :) I’m telling you — ’tis the season for fall comfort food.

  • joy
    October 21, 2009 10:22 pm

    Thanks, Amanda! I usually put oatmeal, too, but I have to say that the cornmeal really hits the spot for this one. :)

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