Since it is apple picking time, I thought I would share my favorite recipe for apple crisp.
I am a big crisp fan, as opposed to a cobbler fan. In a crisp, the fruit is simply spiced and topped with a streusel-like topping of oats, flour, sugar and butter. It’s the streusel-like topping that does it for me. It ranks up there with cream cheese frosting in my mind as a topping that can transform any baked good into something magically mouthwatering.
However, sometimes crisps can get too dry or taste bland. I found this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa years ago and it combines the juicy apple filling with the perfect crumble. I scribbled it down on a tiny piece of paper.
It’s been kept safe, tucked away in my first cookbook, and used more times than I can remember. I often think I should copy this recipe down on a proper card, but I like this little unnamed piece of paper with its red ink and food splotches. Plus, it’s mostly memorized.
Get out your baking dish of choice (I usually go for a pretty one) and apples.
Peel apple skins.
Cut into one-inch chunks.
Since I try to dirty as little bowls as possible since I am the dish washer, I toss the apples in the dish and add the rest of the ingredients. The secret ingredient in this recipe is orange juice (and zest). Yes, the orange gives the apples added zing.
Add a little lemon juice and zest.
Now add some sugar.
Cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.
Lastly, a small amount of flour as well.
Mix well until everything is fully incorporated. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and oats.
Mix in butter with your hands. The mixture should start to clump in the size of small peas. You’ll feel it incorporate when mixing by hand.
Scatter over apples.
I added a little bit of raw sugar on top for an added crunch and baked it for just under an hour.
Sorry no finished picture of the actual apple filling, but I’m taking it to a party tonight. You understand.
Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
Note: This makes a large pan of apple crisp. For my smaller casserole dish, I halved this recipe.
- 5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples (I used Cortland, and I’m sure you can play with varieties.)
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the topping:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.
2. Peel, core, and cut the apples into one-inch wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, flour and spices. Pour into the dish. (If you are like me, and want to avoid more bowls to wash, I do this all in the baking dish.) Set aside.
3. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter. You can use your hands, a pastry cutter, or a mixer on low-speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
4. Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm. I also think topping it with a maple whipped cream sounds divine.