Apple-Cranberry Panko Crisp

I arrived home after a long day of activities to be greeted by a package on my doorstep. The box, measuring 24”X24”, contained a wide assortment of products from my friends at Kikkoman.

The box contained several of Kikkoman classic favorites including soy sauce, teriyaki marinade and rice vinegar. I was thrilled to find a bottle of Ponzu sauce wrapped tightly in the bottom of the box. I had become a fan of this lightly sweet citrus sauce after trying it last year. Two less familiar items included Panko bread crumbs and Kara-age. Panko has seemingly increased in popularity as an alternative to traditional Italian breadcrumbs on cooking shows over the years. However, I haven’t quite incorporated it into my standard cooking routine. Kara-age is a soy-ginger seasoned coating mix is said to create “moist, tender chicken nuggets with a delicately crunchy, flavorful exterior.” I hope to try it soon to see if the promise on the back of the box rings true.

Tucked between the folds of a Kikkoman branded apron was a small stack of recipes my contact thought I might enjoy. A recipe for apple-cranberry crisp caught my attention because it used Panko as the base for the crisp topping rather than the familiar oatmeal variety. So I decided to use the recipe as a base to create my own version.

The crisp topping was light, airy and reminded me of a wafer cookie. In fact, the topping was crisper than its oatmeal cousin. With each bite, the cranberries offered a hint of tang that helped balanced the sweetness of the apples. In the end, Panko was a nice change from the norm and the recipe will certainly make its appearance again this holiday season.

Apple-Cranberry Panko Crisp
Loosely adapted from Kikkoman Kitchens

Crisp Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled

Dice the butter into small cubes. Combine all ingredients using a stand mixer until butter resembles the size of peas. This will take approximately 2-3 minutes. Keep chilled in fridge until ready to top apple mixture.

Apple Mixture:
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
2 medium Gala apples, peeled and cored
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbl. flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice the apples into roughly ½ inch size cubes. The apples should yield approximately 5 cups. Toss the apples with the remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Pour the apple mixture into a 9 inch baking dish. Scatter the crisp topping in an even layer on top of the apple mixture. Bake the crisp at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the apples are tender. The topping should be a golden brown. Serves 4-6 people.

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