1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons snipped dried cranberries, dried cherries or dried dates
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups thinly sliced, peeled Granny Smith or cooking apples
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice or ground cardamom
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup flaked coconut
Half-and-half, light cream, whole milk or plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt (optional)
Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking dish (2-quart square); set aside. In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar, dried cranberries, lemon peel and juice and vanilla. Add the sliced apples and fresh or frozen cranberries, gently tossing well to evenly coat. Place apple mixture in prepared dish.
For topping: In a small bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour and apple pie spice. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in coconut. Sprinkle topping evenly over apple mixture.
Bake in a 350°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature in shallow bowls with half-and-half, if you like.
Makes 6 servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare the topping up to 8 hours before serving. Cover and chill the fruit crisp until needed.