Colonial Americans found native cranberries similar in flavor to the lingonberries with which they had been familiar in Europe, although they quickly learned the cranberry required quite a bit of sweetening. Benjamin Franklin so loved the bitter little berries that he wrote to his wife, Deborah, requesting her to ship several barrels to him in England and in France. He replied after receiving one such shipment in 1770, "Thanks for the Cranberrys. I am as ever Your affectionate Husband B Franklin." Franklin most likely did not eat his cranberries as they were. He would have enjoyed them baked into a treat. In 1782 his friend Jonathan Williams Jr. went one step further and offered up the finished product: "I have lately received some Cranberrys from Boston. ... I will pick out enough to make you a few Cranberry Tarts." In the eighteenth century, berries were most often preserved or stewed to sweeten them for use in pies. This process also helped to make berries keep longer in larders or springhouses, before refrigerators kept them chilly. This cobbler relies upon the apples and the oat topping to add sweetness to the cranberries and to create a light dessert that is pleasantly tart. It is an updated version of the sort that appeared in late-eighteenth-century cookbooks from people like Amelia Simmons. Her recipe for cranberry tart called for "Cranberries. Stewed, strained, and sweetened, put in paste No. 9 (a sweet, butter pastry), add spices till grateful, and baked gently."


  • 2 cups apple cider, divided
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • l/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 recipe (about 4 cups) Oat and Nut Streusel


1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine Wi cups of the cider, the two sugars, and the salt and bring to a boil. Grease six 1-cup ramekins, or a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cinnamon, then make a slurry by whisking the remaining Vi cup of cider into the cornstarch and cinnamon.

3. When the cider and sugars come to a boil, whisk in the slurry and return to a boil, stirring continuously. Set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

5. Place the apples and cranberries in a large bowl, pour the hot cider mixture over them, and toss. Spoon into the ramekins or baking dish, top with streusel, and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the topping is brown and the filling is bubbling.

6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Submitted 11/25/13.
Source: A Sweet Taste of History: More than 100 Elegant Dessert Recipes from America's Earliest Days by Walter Staib
Submitted By: b smith

Apple Cranberry Cobbler