An Easy Cranberry Pecan Crumble

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. If you’re anything like me, it’s snuck up on you. Even if you spent a lot of time thinking of it at the beginning of the month. This time of year always heats up, either because you turn to your heavy sweaters too soon or because everyone arounds you gets sick, and the middle of November disappears as you get consumed in a number of different, unexpected things. Then, suddenly, you realize that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and you haven’t done anything to prepare for it (except, in my case, to have made Lee’s apple and orange cranberry sauce over the weekend in an inspired burst… and thank goodness for that).

Enter panic and not knowing what to make.

Hopefully for you, you don’t have an entire meal on your hands. But if you do, here are my dish choices this year for a very small, very intimate Thanksgiving for four (four people with the flu at that):

Most years, we’d also make a broccoli gratin, stuffing of some kind, my grandfather’s rice with rum-soaked dried fruit, and a Turkish pumpkin desert. Possibly cornbread. But again, we all have the flu this year and are probably going to sit at the table in our best pajamas and then climb into our respective beds with tea and honey. (Postponing Thanksgiving is not an option in my book, no matter what everyone else around me says).

The turkey is my grandmother’s responsibility, but the rest is mine. The brussels sprouts are quickly made and are cooked in a pan, so they free up space in the oven. (I highly recommend them even if you think you don’t like brussels sprouts. They were a game changer for me.) The sweet potatoes will be my morning project tomorrow, and the cranberry pecan crumble, I’m making now.

It’s an incredibly easy dish (based on this pie) that I’ve made even simpler by dispensing with crust. (What’s the point when there’s an amazing crumble on top, anyway??? Everyone knows crumble is the best part.)

To make:

Cranberry Pecan Crumble

For the filling:

  • 4 and 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (I have made this with dried cranberries in the past and it is doable… just soak them first and cut down on the sugar a bit… and if you’re feeling adventurous, add a few splashes of good cranberry juice)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • a few gratings of orange zest

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (yes, this is necessary! it thickens the filling, which is important as the cranberries do produce a lot of juice along with the sugar)

Combine all the ingredients in a pan. Stir. Let cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently. Put aside to cool while you make the crumble.

cranberry filling mix sugar.jpg
cranberry crumble filling mix.jpg

For the crumble:

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats

  • 3/4 cup pecans (I’ll be honest… I only had like 1/3 cup of pecans on hand, so I used walnuts for the rest)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I only had brown sugar cubes, but I made it work)

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • a pinch of salt

  • 6 tablespoons (100g ISH) melted and cooled butter

Start by grinding the oats and pecans into a powder. You can do this in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. I’ve done this completely by hand a bunch of times and it is satisfying, but being exhausted and in a rush tonight, I used the food processor.

Then, add all of the dry ingredients. You can keep doing this in the food processor or in a bowl. I did both because I used one of those small food processors that Europeans use to purée foods, and it got dangerous once I added the literal cubes of brown sugar. I persevered though, and it worked out.

oat crumble mix.jpg

Add the melted and cooled butter and mix together to form the crumble.

Lightly butter a pie dish (or whatever – I used an old Williams-Sonoma quiche dish, but anything will really do as long as it’s heat resistant). Spread out the filling and sprinkle the crumble topping over the top. I made tonight’s with only four cups of cranberries because that’s how much came out of the little European bag I found, so I consequently didn’t have enough to cover the dish, so I improvised and lined the edge of the dish with sliced apples. (I have also made this with diced apples mixed into the filing, so if that’s something that appeals to you, go for it!!)

Place in oven at 375°F/190°C and cook for 35 minutes or until the juices bubble through the crumble topping. Key an eye on it because heat is inconsistent.

And that’s it! Let cool. Leave overnight, or serve once it’s cool enough that you don’t burn yourself. Top with powdered sugar and/or the topping of your choice. Breathe a sigh of relief.

I’m tempted to cut into this now, but thankfully I have some self-control when it comes to putting an aesthetic presentation at risk (the powdered sugar will also be for tomorrow)!

Happy Thanksgiving!! And p.s. if you’re facing a holiday with conservative family members, check out Lauren’s guide to dealing with a Trump Thanksgiving from last year. All of it still stands!

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