twd: Cran-Apple Crisps

This month is a little different with the Tuesdays with Dorie crowd. Due to that food-filled holiday, Thanksgiving, we're allowed to post this month's recipes out of order.

I really, really wanted to make Katya's choice for this week - Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake. Doesn't that just sound divine? And I really, really love chestnuts. They've always been a bit of a mythical character to me. Yeah, they're in lots of songs about Christmas and roasting fires, but who has even seen (or eaten) one? One that's not pureed or otherwise rendered unrecognizable? So with a doubtful mind I listened to my sister's response one chilly November night last year in Shanghai to my question of "What's that?" It was directed at a street vendor's cart, where the vendor was roasting many brown ovals which he jiggled for noise and attention. It got mine. "Chestnuts." What?! Seriously? I immediately made a bee-line for the vendor and starred at the brown ovals while my sister bargained for a bag in Mandarin. I crunched open the shell with my teeth and found a cream, slightly nutty, and very interesting taste. It wasn't sweet or bitter, just slightly nutty and with that eluding taste that is quite addictive. Needless to say I finished the bag, and quite a few more on my trip.

But alas, I'm back in Georgia, and in a town with no Whole Foods or specialty stores. I hunted for chestnuts and chestnut cream, vowing to pay whatever it cost while crossing my fingers it wasn't too crazy expensive. But I couldn't find the darn things. So I skipped a week, and made the lovely Cran-Apple Crisps picked by Em.

Of course, I couldn't find all the ingredients for it either. The store here only carries frozen cranberries during Christmas, and we're not quite there yet. So I just omitted it, but kept the dried cranberries, and added a few chopped almonds.

I quartered the recipe to make two single servings - quite easy quartering (thankfully I didn't stand around trying strenuously to figure some math in the kitchen). My family and I are spoiled by apple and crisp desserts. Blame it on my great-grandmother, who made lovely desserts and passed on her recipes. I made an apple crisp for friends one Thanksgiving when I was living in Ghana. It was almost gone before dinner was officially served and they never stopped begging me to make it again.

This crisp, well, I'd definitely make it again. The topping was great, perfect for single dishes, and the dried cranberries added a lovely tartness that contrasted perfectly with the sweetness of the apples and sugar. Definitely blue ribbon material.


Susan said...

Living in a small town has it's ups and downs. :} I had to drive 45 minutes into Richmond to find chestnuts, but never found spread. Made my own instead. Your crisps look divine. Can't wait to try this one. Thinking of Thanksgiving dinner.

margot said...

I'm sorry you couldn't find chestnuts, maybe some will magically appear by the end of November. The crisps look terrific, though. I made that one this week too and also thought it was yummy.

Clivia said...

I'm glad to know this crisp is still very good without the cranberries. My local store only had frozen. I'm leaning towards walnuts in the chocolate cake and faking the rest. ::g::

kayte said...

Oh, that looks so good. I love crisps any time of year, they are my favorite fruit dessert, and yours looks particularly wonderful. It was fun reading about your adventures choosing, locating ingredients (or not), and the story of your family. A great post.

TeaLady said...

OI remember buying chestnuts in little paper cones when we lived in England. So tasty.

But....No chestnuts here in Deep South Podunk either. And no whole foods.

Your crisp looks wonderful. I am axious to make this one - next week's TWD for me. Hope mine turns out as well as yours.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to make the crsip. It sounds delicious!

Pamela said...

Tasty looking crisps you got there! I just finished a left over one and it was SO yummy.