Cranberry Apple Crisp &
Three More Cranberry Apple Dessert Recipes

Homespun Cranberry and Apple Deliciousness Four Ways

The combination of cranberry "tart" and apple "sweet" kissed with a touch of ginger is familiar and wholesome but at the same time, surprising. During cold weather, Cranberry Apple Crisp has become my "signature" dessert for casual suppers with friends and family, one of my favorite, ever-so-adaptable recipes. But de-construct the same ingredients and voila, you've got a Cranberry-Currant Apple Compote for an ice cream or yogurt topping or festive slices of Cranberry Apple Pie perfect for the holidays.

Cranberry Apple Crisp ♥, my signature dessert during cold weather. A classic sweet apple crisp, punched up cranberries and brandy-soaked currants, bright with citrus and ginger.

Real Food, Fast & Flexible. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. A "Killer Dessert" for Winter. Potluck & Party Friendly.


Half Sorry, I Am, to Share This Recipe.

If history is a guide, now that the recipe and its lovely adaptations are in print, I’ll move on to others.

But so pleased, I am, to share this recipe. It’s such a favorite!

The fruits form a troika, each carrying a singular fruity tune but harmonizing in wintry song. The topping is bright with ginger and gives crunch to the soft, dark fruit.

For a rustic dessert, try it as a wintry crisp, served warm from the oven. But there are many variations on this theme.

A low-sugar crisp. A cranberry-apple fruit sauce, lovely over ice cream or custard or in yogurt parfaits.

Or pie! The brandy-soaked currants, apples and cranberries make a fine winter pie! Not cranberry pie. Not apple pie. Cranberry Apple Pie! With currants! This gives it almost a mincemeat vibe, just simpler, easier, fruitier.

Or honestly? Scoop it by the spoonful, straight from the fridge, you know, in the middle of the night. I won't tell.

Cranberry Apple Pie (or Crisp) ♥, tart cranberries, sweet apples and brandy-soaked currants with a streusel topping, bright with citrus and ginger.

More Than Ten Years Later, I Needn't Have Been Sorry.

Turns out, I didn't stop making this recipe! In fact, during cold weather, the Cranberry Apple Crisp has become my "signature" dessert!

It's so flexible. I find myself mixing fruits, though still keeping true to the mix of "tart" and "sweet".

A favorite version is a mix of golden raisins (substituting for the currants) with apple, cranberry, rhubarb and sour cherries topped with a few black walnuts rather than the crumb topping or a sprinkle of raw sugar.

If I'm short on cranberries, I'll use a few frozen berries from Trader Joe's, raspberries are especially good.

When a crowd showed up for dinner one night, I added a can or two of drained fruit cocktail too.

I even make this a "dish to carry." Mix the fruit and topping in two containers at home. Grab a baking dish and take to a friend's house. Bake on the spot, that means a warm dessert, straight from the oven. It's a conversation stopper – in this context, that's a good thing!

What Are Currants?

Currants are like mini raisins! In fact, at the grocery store, look for boxes of currants near the raisins and other dried fruit.

So if currants are like small raisins, why not just use raisins? Sure, you could. Golden raisins are especially nice some times.

But I never buy regular raisins anymore. Instead, I choose currants over raisins nearly every time because:

  • Currants are less sweet than raisins, that lets the raisin-y flavor really stand out.
  • Currants distribute more evenly. Let's say you're making Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. For the same calories, one cookie could have two raisins or 8 currants.
Cranberry Apple Crisp ♥, my signature dessert during cold weather. A classic sweet apple crisp, punched up cranberries and brandy-soaked currants, bright with citrus and ginger.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Serves 6
  • 1/2 cup (60g) dried currants
  • 1/4 cup (60g) brandy or a fruity liquor or fruit juice or apple cider
  • Zest of an orange or lemon
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar (Splenda works beautifully, use 25g!)
  • 1 tablespoon flour or potato starch or arrowroot
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground ginger, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups (6oz/170g) fresh or frozen whole cranberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained
  • 4 cups (12oz/340g) Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut in tiny cubes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup (30g) panko (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) toasted nuts, optional

Heat oven to 375F/190C. Lightly butter a 10-inch quiche pan or 8x8 baking dish.

SOAK CURRANTS Soak the currants and zest in brandy in a small bowl. You want the currants all plump and juicy! This can take a few minutes, some times longer if the currants are dried out.

MIX FRUIT In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, ginger and salt. Stir in the cranberries and apple as they're ready, stirring well to distribute the floury bits. Stir in the currants, distributing well again. Turn the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

ADD TOPPING Mix topping ingredients (you can use the same bowl), first working the butter cubes and sugar together between your fingers, then tossing with the ginger, panko and nuts. Sprinkle the topping evenly over top of the fruit.

BAKE for 45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and cranberries have popped.

SAVOR Serve warm alone or topped with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream or my favorite, a spoonful of sour cream or honey-sweetened Greek yogurt.

ALANNA's TIPS I really do prefer Granny Smith apples for the apple crisp, compared to a baking apple such as a Jonathan. The Granny Smiths cook softer and thus somehow soak up the flavor of the cranberries and currants more than Jonathans, which remain more intact while baking. Tempted to add another spice? Don't be, it muddies the very-special, all-on-its-own brightness of ginger. Does your pantry hold panko (pronounced pawn-ko), the Japanese bread flakes? Panko is a staple in mine and the base of my favorite new topping for fruit crisps, crumb pies and even vegetable dishes. Panko is lighter and crispier than regular bread crumbs and best of all, it’s shelf stable so is easy to keep on hand. To make this, I put the mixing bowl on the kitchen scale (affiliate link) and just add ingredients by the spoonful until the full amount is reached. No measuring cups to wash!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 368 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 10mg Cholesterol; 134mg Sodium; 68g Carb; 4g Fiber; 57g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 7 & PointsPlus 10 & SmartPoints 18 & Freestyle 16 & myWW green 16 & blue 16 & purple 16


This is a "diet" version that will leave no one hungry. Follow the recipe above with these simple changes.

  • Substitute Splenda for sugar.
  • Skip the butter-sugar-nut topping entirely.
  • Finish the top of the fruit with a couple of tablespoons of raw sugar (such as turbinado or Demerara) that will form a thin sweet layer in the oven.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 138 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 99mg Sodium; 29g Carb; 3g Fiber; 23g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 7 & Freestyle 5 & myWW green 5 & blue 5 & purple 5


For a pie filling, follow the same recipe above , it just needs some extra thickening.

  • Use three tablespoons of cornstarch or potato starch to thicken the mixture to be firm enough for a pie.
  • Fill an unbaked pie shell with the fruit.
  • Cover the top of the fruit with the Topping.
  • Bake at 375F/190C for about an hour.
  • Let the pie set for several hours before serving, it will stay fresh for two or three days.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice (assumes 8, assumes Flaky Tender Pie Crust): 457 Calories; 19g Tot Fat; 9g Sat Fat; 39mg Cholesterol; 142mg Sodium; 64g Carb; 4g Fiber; 45g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 10 & PointsPlus 12 & SmartPoints 21 & Freestyle 19 & myWW green 19 & blue 19 & purple 19


Bake the fruit all by itself, forming a warm, sweet compote to serve over ice cream. The serving size is small so the calories are lower, not counting the ice cream, of course! Weight Watchers, bake the fruit with Splenda then serve with non-fat Greek yogurt. Truth is, you'd probably use only a spoonful so the points really are minimal.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes sugar and 12 servings): 118 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 29mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 2g Fiber; 26g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 7 & Freestyle 6 & myWW green 6 & blue 6 & purple 6

Crazy for Cranberries? Me Too!

Cranberry Recipes & Ideas ♥, Savory to Sweet. Recipes, tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.
~ cranberry recipes ~

Fresh Cranberry Bars ♥, a chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar snow. No mixer required.
  • THE RECIPE Fresh Cranberry Bars A chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar "snow".
  • ANOTHER TAKE Snickerdoodle Bars Snickerdoodle flavors with the firm, chewy texture of blondies.

Cranberry Walnut Bread ♥, special for the holidays, a barely sweet yeast bread studded with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.
  • THE RECIPE Cranberry Walnut Bread Special for the holidays, a barely sweet yeast bread studded with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Hot Cross Buns Sweet buns traditional for Easter.

Cranberry Linzer Tart ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cranberry recipes ~
~ apple recipes ~
~ currant recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2007, 2012, 2014 & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. great receipt, thanks :)

  2. This looks wonderful...and I can make it. I found CRANBERRIES - for the first time in 11 years....Yayeeeee

  3. And they do make whole wheat panko!
    This does look wonderful Alanna!

  4. Oo, I love the idea of using Panko crumbs in sweets. I've only ever used them with savory dishes.

  5. A lovely recipe indeed. I think I'll try it first with (self-picked) cranberries, and then try the recipe with (self-picked, of course) sea-buckthorn berries - my current berry favourite:)

  6. I just pulled this from the oven for Christmas Eve dessert. Since we have Weight Watcher's at the table, I used Stevia and only 1 tbsp of brown sugar & light butter for the topping. The topping was too good to pass up. I asked my husband how it looked and he said "fancy" -- which is a good sign.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna