A Dutch Oven Apple Cranberry Crisp Recipe That's Perfect For Campfires

Dutch Oven Apple Cranberry Crisp Recipe

By:

Meathead

Apple cranberry crisp in a bowl

Simple to make and simply delicious, this dutch oven dessert is a lot of fun to make when camping out.

Pie is the best dessert known to man because fruit is so much better than flour (OK, cake fans, let me have it). But they are a bit tricky to make because the pie shell must follow a rigid recipe and a procedure and the filling must be just right or it can be too runny or too dry.

But weekend warriors like us can make some superb pie-like rustic fruit desserts on the grill or in Dutch ovens from recipes created long before gas and electric stoves. And cooking the dessert couldn’t be easier. Basically we skip the pie crust and simply cut up fruit, mix in sugar, pour it into a pot or pan, put some sort of topping on it, and bake. Called a “crisp”, it is a fruit compote topped with a streusel. A compote is fresh, frozen, or dried fruit simmered with liquid and sugar, and a streusel, also called a crumb topping, is simply a crunchy mix of sugar, butter, and flour. The topping caramelizes and makes my favorite crust.

if you have a Dutch oven like this Camp Chef 10″ with a rim on the lid to hold coals, you can bake this delicious dessert in a campfire, on a grill, or just on a patch of dirt. You can do this in a simple baking pan or frying pan without a lid. I describe the method in the sidebar.

Dutch Oven on Grass Dutch Oven in Kettle

You can do this without the Dutch oven and with other fruits

You can bake this recipe on the indirect side of a grill set up in 2 zones. Here you can see a Peach Blueberry Crisp I like to do in July before apples come in and while peaches and bluebs are in high season. We also do it with peaches and plums. Start with a firm, slightly underripe peach, cut it into bite size chunks, and pour the compote into a pan. I used Corning ware but a metal baking pan or a frying pan works fine. Shoot for 325°F in the indirect zone and bake for about 45 minutes or until you see the juices bubbling. Keep the lid closed because you need the reflective heat to brown the topping.

Peach Blueberry Crisp on the grill

Peach Blueberry Crisp

Other rustic fruit desserts

There are many other types of rustic fruit desserts. They have charming and confusing names that can vary from region to region, and nothing is set in concrete, or even batter for that matter. Thanks to Rebecca Richmond and her blog It’s Not Easy Eating Green and her exhaustive dictionary of fruit desserts for helping me sort this out. She has recipes for each of these and more.

Brown Betty. A crisp with bread crumbs on top instead of flour.

Buckle. Cake batter topped with fruit compote and a streusel top baked in a pan or pot. The name might be because it was originally a cake that buckled under the weight of the fruit.

Clafouti. Whole berries, usually fresh cherries, are placed in a pan and then covered with an flour and egg custard. Or the custard can go in first, and then the fruit. Or both.

Cobbler. Fruit compote in a pan with biscuit dough, cake batter, cookie dough, and even pancake batter dolloped on top so the result looks like a cobbled road. Or maybe something you just cobbled together.

Crisp. Fruit compote in a pan or pot crowned with a crispy topping made from flour, butter, and sugar, called a streusel.

Crumble. A crisp with oats in the topping. But a lot of recipes called crisp have oats in them, so there.

Galette. A rustic pie, made with a bottom pie crust only, and usually not made in a pie pan but on a baking sheet. The edges are rolled in to keep the filling from spilling.

Pie. A pastry shell filled with fruit, custard, or nuts. Sometimes a second crust is placed on top, sometimes not.

Pandowdy. Fruit compote baked with a pie crust topping, but no crust beneath. Traditionally you are supposed to puncture the topping about halfway through the bake and paint the top with the juices.

Slump or grunt. A cobbler that is cooked on the stovetop. First you cook the fruit, then you add the topping and cover the pan so the top steams rather than bakes. Then you eat it and you slump, or grunt.

Now on to the show! Below is my recipe for an Apple Cranberry Crisp that is baked in a cast iron Dutch oven.

Easy Dutch Oven Apple Cranberry Crisp Recipe


Apple cranberry crisp in a bowl
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
2.88 from 24 votes
This dish is not only simple to make, it is a whole lot of fun for campouts given the fact that it is cooked with live coals!

Serve with: hard apple cider.


Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Makes:

Servings: 6 servings

Takes:

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients For The Compote

  • 3 firm baking apples
  • 2 cups whole fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mortons coarse kosher salt
  • butter to coat the pot, about 2 tablespoons

Ingredients For The Topping

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
About the apples. The best baking apples are on the hard side. The tried and true classics are Grannie Smith and Golden Delicious, and my favorite is Honeycrisp, but other good ones are Jonathan, Jonagold, Braeburn, Winesap, Cortland, Gala.
About the butter. If you have only unsalted butter, add 1/4 of kosher salt.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.

Method

  • Prep. Make the streusel in a bowl by combining the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the beaten egg and mix until crumbly.
  • Coat the inside of the Dutch oven with butter, but not the inside of the lid. Make the compote by peeling the apples, cutting them in quarters, and removing the cores. Then cut the apples into slices about 1/4" thick, and drop them into a mixing bowl. Dump in the cranberries, flour, and the sugar. Scrape the zest off the lemon and add that. Then squeeze in the juice of the lemon (watch for seeds). Add the cinnamon and the salt. Pour the compote into the Dutch oven and top with the crumble. Pour the melted butter over the crumble.
  • Fire up. Start a chimney of about 36 charcoal briquets (half a Weber chimney). Wait til the get hot and are coated with white ash. Pour about 12 white briquets on the ground or on the charcoal grate of your grill and arrange them in a circle the same width of your Dutch oven.
  • Cook. Place the Dutch oven on top of the coals and place the lid on the pot. Add another 18 to 24 hot briquets to the top of the lid.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or until you see the juices bubbling. Take the lid off, let it cool for about 20 minutes (this is the hardest part of the recipe, not burning your mouth because you are impatient).
  • Serve. Scoop fruit and topping into bowls and top with whipped cream, sour cream, yogurt, or ice cream. Or nothing! Serve immediately.

Related articles

Published On: 6/9/2013 Last Modified: 4/16/2021

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff

If you’re using oven mitts at the grill, it’s time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder’s gloves. They’re heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.

Click here to read our detailed review

Click here to order from Amazon

Griddle And Deep Fryer In One


The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone’s Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all!

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone


GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners


The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review

Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker


This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp’s dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’.

Click here to read our detailed review

The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special

If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow ‘N’ Sear


The Slow ‘N’ Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.
Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool