Apple and Cranberry Crisp

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and I can’t even begin to describe the scene in our kitchen during the hours leading up to the big event. Let’s just say that my wonderful husband cooked up a storm while I baked my tail off to ensure that there’d be enough sweet stuff to go around. Naturally, I overdid it. We both did, to a certain extent – though on the plus side, having a ton of leftovers means I don’t have to cook for the rest of the week. Plus, as nice as it is to have our family over, there’s just something to be said about curling up on your couch in your pajamas and eating leftovers without having to worry about being the host. Yeah, that was us last night.

Anyway, needless to say I’ve got lots of catch-up to do on here, but I’ll start with one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes: apple and cranberry crisp. I’m a big fan of fruit crisps in general, and the apple-cranberry combination is no exception. I love the contrast of the tart cranberries and sweet apples. And when you help yourself to a generous plate of warm, fresh-from-the-oven apple and cranberry crisp and top it with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream, it just doesn’t get better than that.


Apple and Cranberry Crisp


For the fruit layer:

3 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks
12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons AP four
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange juice

For the topping:

6 tbsp cold butter, diced
2/3 cup AP flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brownsugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.
  2. To make the fruit layer, simply combine all of the ingredients listed above, mix well, and let sit while you make the topping.
  3. To make the topping, whisk together the flour, oats, sugars, salt, and spices. Use a fork to cut in the butter so that thick crumbs form.
  4. Transfer the fruit layer into the prepared and pan and use your fingers to sprinkle the crumb topping over it. (To make this easier, try spraying your fingers with cooking spray.)
  5. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the top is browned and the edges are bubbling.
  6. Let cool slightly before serving. Topping this dessert with vanilla ice cream is optional, but highly recommended.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pies

Whenever I find myself in an Italian restaurant or bakery, I’m always tempted to order cannolis. But in reality, I don’t actually love cannolis. What I love is that delicious cannoli cream. As for the shell, I could take it or leave it. And often, when I get a cannoli, I’ll just unroll it and use a spoon to scoop out the cream filling and eat it on its own—a move that ‘s resulted in much staring and mockery over the years.

When I found myself craving that cannoli cream recently, I decided I wasn’t in the mood to drag myself out to a restaurant or bakery. And I certainly wasn’t about to start fiddling with cannoli shells, deep fryers, and the like. So instead, I decided to make these mini cannoli pies. I had some individual premade pie shells lying around, and I had everything else I needed on hand to whip up my version of the cream.

Now I’ll be perfectly honest and say that my cannoli cream was not as good as some of the better cannolis I’ve tasted in the area (and living in New Jersey, there are some establishments around here who do know how to make a mean cannoli). But, it was still pretty darn good.


Mini Cannoli Pies

10 premade mini pie shells (or feel free to make your own)
15 ounces of part-skim ricotta cheese, drained
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 and ¼ cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Strain the ricotta cheese to the best of your ability.
3. Using a stand or electric mixer, beat the strained ricotta until it’s nice and creamy.
4. Add in the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, orange juice, and cornstarch; beat until the mixture is smooth and somewhat thickened.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Place the mini pie shells on a baking sheet and pour the cannoli cream filling into the pie shells.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the pies start to brown just slightly.
8. Remove the pies from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool at room temperate for about 20 minutes.
9. Place the pies in the fridge for two hours to allow them to set. If you’re so inclined, you can drizzle a little chocolate syrup over them right before serving. Or not. They’re certainly sweet enough on their own.

Blueberry and Peach Crumble

Now that the warm weather seems to be sticking around, I’ve been less and less in the mood for brownies (I know, blasphemy) and more and more in the mood for all things fruit-related. I just love the selection of fresh fruit we get this time of year, and I find myself constantly stocking up and chowing down on melons, peaches, plums, and berries. And while I can easily enjoy my fruit as-is, for me, there’s almost nothing better than a warm, fresh-from-the-oven fruit crumble.

The great thing about crumbles like this one is that they’re super easy to make. Just slice up your favorite fruit and toss it in a little sugar and lemon juice. Then whip up a crumble mixture using your hands, toss it in the oven, and you’re done.

For my latest concoction, I decided to feature blueberries and peaches in the crumble itself, but what I actually did was cut up a bunch of strawberries and plums to use as a cold, fresh bottom layer. You don’t have to take that extra step, but I like the contrast of cold fruit on the bottom, warm crumble in the middle, and cool whipped cream on top. Vanilla ice cream also works wonderfully if you have some on hand. Or, you can forego the extras and enjoy this crumble on its own.

Here’s to a summer full of fresh fruit and delicious fruit-centric recipes.


Blueberry and Peach Crumble


For the fruit mixture:
1 cups blueberries
1 cup peaches, peeled and sliced (about 2 large or 3 medium peaches)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons AP flour

For the topping:
1/4 cup AP flour
1/4 cup oats (instant should work just fine)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg – whichever flavor profile you prefer
Pinch of salt to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons room temperature butter cut into small pieces

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. To make the fruit mixture, combine the blueberries and peaches in a medium-sized oven-safe bowl (Pyrex works well). Toss with lemon juice, sugar, and flour until the fruit is well-coated. Let the mixture sit for about 20-30 minutes before topping.
3. To make the topping, whisk together the flour, oats, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, mix in the pieces of butter until the mixture comes together and takes on a crumbly consistency. To make this step easier, before you get started handling the butter, try coating your fingers with a little cooking spray. You’ll have less trouble working with the mixture once it gets sticky. Once the crumble comes together, sprinkle it evenly over the fruit.
4. Place the bowl with the now-assembled fruit crisp on a larger baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top starts to brown and you can see the fruit mixture bubbling on the sides. Serve warm with whatever accompaniments you prefer.
5. Store leftovers, if any, in the fridge, and eat within a day or two. This recipe is designed to serve four people, but you can easily double or triple it if you’re looking to feed a larger crowd.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

It seems like every year around this time, I start to get a little stir crazy…and more than a little tired of winter. I’m just one of those people who really, really doesn’t like being cold. Now I can deal with December. For some reason, I’m a total sucker for all that holiday spirit jazz, and it helps keep my mind off the dropping temps. And I’m usually okay with January, mostly ‘cause at that point we haven’t been dealing with winter for too long. But come February, I’m usually ready to either escape to someplace warm (which is not going to happen with a baby) or otherwise resign myself to hibernation until the cold subsides.

This weekend, I opted for the latter and decided to spend as much time as possible curled up on the couch with a warm blanket and a book. Of course, a night much like the one I had planned for Saturday (when the forecast warned of a winter weather advisory complete with ample amounts of snow) wouldn’t be complete without some killer dessert to accompany the couch-blanket-book extravaganza, and so I decided to make a chocolate chip cookie pie.

Now I’m not usually the biggest fan of chocolate chip cookies. Sure, they’re a classic dessert, but they’re also kind of on the boring side. But take the chocolate chip cookie and serve it up to me in pie form, and I’m golden.

This pie is exceptionally delectable when served warm, though room temperature also works. I especially love the way the chocolate chips form their own gooey layer of deliciousness. For those of you who are just as tired of winter as I am, I recommend baking this super easy pie, carving out a nice, fresh-out-of-the-oven slice, scooping up a generous serving of vanilla ice cream on the side, curling up on the couch with your favorite book/movie/form of entertainment, and letting each sweet bite help whisk away those winter blues.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Slightly adapted from Serious Eats


For The Crust:
1 and 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

For The Filling:
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) AP flour
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 and ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter 9-inch pie or tart plate.
2. Make the crust by combining your flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter until moist crumbs form. Press the mixture into bottom and sides of the pan.
3. Make the filling by whisking together your brown sugar, sugar, salt, and butter. Once combined, whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda until combined. Then stir the flour mixture into the egg/sugar mixture until well-combined.
5. Stir in chocolate chips, and pour the mixture into the crust.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top of the pie turns a nice golden brown. Cool for 45 minutes on a wire rack before serving—the pie will still be nice and warm, but it’ll be a lot easier to slice. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired, and try not to eat the whole in one sitting.