As a kid, I think the only appearance cranberries made on our Thanksgiving table was the cylindrical, jelled variety, ribbed with imprints from the tin can. There were always leftovers, which I doubt anyone cared too much since it took such little effort to open the can and plop it onto a salad plate.
Perhaps that's why I was so happy to inherit this recipe from my mother-in-law. She got it from a friend, I believe, and as her motto goes, "If I can do it, anyone can." It combines fresh cranberries with apples, brown sugar, nuts and butter. How could it not be good, right?
Well, it gets even better because it is very simple to prepare. You can do all the prep ahead and even put it in the fridge until you're ready to bake. Or, it could be baked ahead of the big event, cooled, covered and refrigerated and then reheated for service. It's the kind of tradition worth keeping around -- unlike the tin can variety.
Cranberry Apple Bake
3 cups apples, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole, fresh cranberries
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are good)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix apples, cranberries and white sugar in a bowl and set aside. In a second bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, flour and nuts. Transfer fruit mixture to a 9-by-9-inch casserole or baking pan; spread evenly. Top with butter and brown sugar mixture. Bake for about 1 hour and cool slightly before serving.