I introduced you to our dear friend, Mr. Whiskers, back at Thanksgiving. A lovable fellow, though Grandma says he has too many whiskers and not enough soap.
Cranberry Easter, part of Wende and Harry Devlin’s holiday-themed Cranberry series, features Mr. Whiskers, Maggie and Maggie’s grandma. Mr. Whiskers’ friend Seth, lonely after the death of his wife, wants to sell Cranberryport’s general store and move away. “Suffering codfish,” exclaims Mr. Whiskers, as he tries to come up with a plan to keep Seth in town.
The importance of friendship is at the heart of the Cranberry books. Mr. Whiskers knows “friends always take care of one another. That’s the way it is in Cranberryport – on holidays and the whole year round.” There would always be a place for him at Grandmother’s table. And for Easter, there would be cranberry cobbler for dessert.
The Devlin’s always set the season where you can almost feel like you are in Cranberryport… “The trees began to bud and soon there was a magical green mist all over the land.” What a lovely description of spring! …a magical green mist all over the land…
If you have young children, be sure to check out Wende and Harry Devlin’s Cranberry books. Getting children attached to a series at a young age is a great way to foster a love of reading, as there is security in familiar characters and children will come to look at the characters as friends. What is better to a child than looking forward to Mr. Whiskers making a return visit every Easter or Thanksgiving? Inside family jokes, such as the loveable Mr. Whiskers having too many whiskers and not enough soap, only reinforce the characters and build upon the book and the pleasant memories associated with it. More importantly, getting children active in a book gives them another outlet to experience the book. As much as children love to be read to, they also love to pull up a chair or stepstool and cook with a loved one. (Other books in the Cranberry series include: Christmas, Birthday and Valentine.)
The recipe at the end of Cranberry Easter is for cranberry cobbler. I have yet to make it, but I did want to share my favorite cranberry dessert recipe – cranberry apple crisp. Thanks to the Devlin’s, I have come to think of cranberries as a year-round ingredient, instead of just a seasonal treat.
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
3 medium apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1 16-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
For the topping, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the walnuts. Set aside.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl, stir together the apples and the cranberry sauce. Transfer the filling to an ungreased 8×8 baking pan.
Sprinkle the topping on the filling. Bake at 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm.
If desired, top with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 6 servings.
*** This recipe can easily be made gluten-free.