With the exception of juice, it seems that this is the only time that cranberries make an appearance on the menu. For most of the year, these red berries slip from our minds only to come charging back into produce stands in mid- to late-October just in time to get us thinking about the upcoming holidays. They have a distinct, tart flavor that can be overpowering (grab a handful of fresh berries and toss them in your mouth), but that makes them an excellent ingredient for marinading meats (even better – try cranberry-fed venison some time!). They are also a great accompaniment to sweeter fruits in various medleys and baked desserts, like this one…
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 3 Gala or other sweet apples, cored and cut into 1/2″ chunks
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries
- 1/3 + 1/6 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped, divided
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 + 4 tbsp raw honey, divided
- 6 tbsp pastured butter, cubed and chilled
- 1-1/2 tbsp tapioca flour, dissolved in equal quantity of water
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
We start out with a variation on the previous crisp recipe we’ve used, modifying the topping slightly by using macadamia nuts in place of the toasted hazelnuts. Add the almond flour, 1/3 cup chopped nuts, cinnamon, butter, and 2 tbsp honey to a mixing bowl. Work with a fork to combine well but not fully blend – you want the butter to stay in roughly pea-sized pieces coated well with the other ingredients. The honey will make things want to stick together like a dough, so once it is roughly mixed, place the bowl in the freezer while you continue.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the cranberries to a sauce pan with the 1/4 cup water and remaining 4 tbsp honey. Heat on medium low to bring to a boil, then simmer until the berries have all burst (you will hear them popping) and the mixture reduces slightly to a thickened chunky sauce – about 10 minutes (second photo). In the mean time, core and cut up the apples (I leave the skins on, but you can peel them if you like).
When the cranberries have finished cooking, use a rubber spatula to scrape them out into a medium bowl. Return the pan to the heat and add the apples and dried cherries. Heat these until the apples begin to release their juices and soften – about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat and stir back in the cranberry mixture from the bowl. Also add in the tapioca flour mixed with water and the remaining macadamia nuts and mix well. Transfer everything to a square baking dish and even out the top with the spatula.
Take the topping out of the freezer – it should be cold and stiff but not frozen. Using your hands, crumble it into roughly peanut-sized pieces and scatter evenly across the surface of the fruit mixture.
Bake until the juices are bubbling and the topping is a golden brown and crispy – about 25 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes or so on a wire rack or range top, and serve while still warm. Enjoy!