A radiant cherry and cranberry filling, mixed with a classic crisp topping of oats, graham cracker crumbs, and brown sugar, makes this cherry-cranberry crisp burst with flavor and color. If you are looking for a festive and delicious holiday dessert that is easy and doesn’t involve making a pie crust, then this is a great option! Don’t get me wrong, I love to make pies–in fact I will be making one this evening–but…sometimes it’s nice to throw a dessert together quickly and without much fuss. And the gorgeous colors and many health benefits of tart cherries and cranberries are an added bonus!
I used frozen Montmorency red tart cherries and frozen cranberries for this recipe. I have written in a previous post about my love for this particular type of cherry (Michigan is known for them), but any tart cherry would work fine. I made the filling for this crisp before assembling it and baking it, so I could make sure I had the level of sweetness that I wanted. Everybody has a different threshold for tartness, and this way you can adjust the sweetness before you bake the crisp.
Also, it helps to make sure you mix the cherries and cranberries well while they are cooking in the filling, because the cherries are sweeter than the cranberries, and if someone ends up with a spoonful of mainly cranberries, they may be in for a very tart surprise! However, when mixed up, the cherries and cranberries make a delightful burst of sweet-tartness, and I am so pleased with this very bright flavor and color, and the antioxidants inside it all.
The crisp topping is very simple. My aim with this crisp is to make it as flavorful and at the same time as easy as possible, so it can be a recipe you can turn to when you are a bit pinched for time, but still want a beautiful dessert. It is a crisp topping I use all fall for apple crisp, and it is simply four ingredients–old fashioned rolled oats, graham crackers, brown sugar, and a bit of butter.
I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow already, in addition to it being my husband’s birthday! And my daughter’s birthday is a few days after that. Busy times, and yet I am trying to focus on what is most important, and one of those things continues to be gratitude. In these times when there are pressures about holiday shopping, I try to remember also that time is a gift. Spending time with loved ones is a gift, especially if you can be fully present for them.
Food brings people together, bridges gaps, and expresses love. If you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I hope you have a great day, and if not, I hope you have a great day, and weekend as well! I am sharing a quote that my yoga instructor shared with our class: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie
May you have all those things this weekend, and thank you for reading this blog!
For the filling:
- 4 cups of frozen tart cherries
- 2 cups of frozen cranberries
- 1 cup of sugar (or a bit more, if you desire more sweetness and less tartness)
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1/4 tablespoon of almond extract
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup of graham crackers, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get out a 9 x 9 inch baking dish (8 x 8 inch works too).
Place the frozen cherries and cranberries in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract. Gradually bring to a boil, stirring as the mixture warms up, to combine the ingredients. When the mixture starts to boil, stir it continually for about a minute, as it starts to thicken and the fruit bursts. Turn the heat down and simmer for a couple of minutes, tasting the filling and adding more sugar if desired. (My family likes it with the 1 cup of sugar, so it’s sweet but with a hint of tartness. If you are used to more sweetness, you might want to add a bit more sugar.) Let the filling cool a bit while you make the topping.
In a small bowl, combine the oats, graham cracker crumbs, and brown sugar. Spoon the filling into the baking dish. Make sure the cherries and cranberries are mixed up, so they can complement each other, and not be in their own corners of the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. Dot the butter pieces on top of the filling, distributing them evenly. Bake in your 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired. Enjoy!