Just like your house, things are in a cooking frenzy here in preparation for the big day. Felix returned home from college yesterday and I wanted to make something special for dessert that would be a foreshadowing of the delights to come, without stealing the thunder of the actual day.
In conversation with my sister, I remembered this old favorite which completely fit the bill. I think it would be great for Thanksgiving too, as a matter of fact, but I'm obsessed with creating a salted caramel apple pie for tomorrow. If that's a disaster, at least I'll have most of this in the kitchen and I can always dish it out in there, can't I? What they don't know won't hurt 'em.
1 1/2 pounds fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large orange, with zest grated and juiced
2 sweet apples (I used pink lady), peeled, quartered, cored and thickly sliced
2 firm-ripe Bosc pears, peeled, quartered, cored and thickly sliced
Oat Crunch topping
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Preheat the oven to 375 with a rack in the center of the oven.
Butter a large, shallow baking dish, such as a 12-inch oval gratin dish. Set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, bring about 1/2 of the cranberries and all of the sugar to a boil. The berries will pop and the sugar will melt. Remove from the heat and stir in the remainingcranberries, orange zest and juice, apples and pears. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish and set aside.
To make the oat crunch topping, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and butter and mix together with a pastry cutter or 2 knives. Scatter the topping mixture evenly over the fruit.
Place the dish onto a somewhat larger baking sheet. This WILL boil over and make chaos of your oven if you don't, and trust me, you don't want to put the turkey in an oven covered with sweet cranberry goo.
Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is nicely browned, about 55 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
--Adapted from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax (Chapters Publishing Ltd.)