Apple pie, apple crisp, sautéed apples, raw apple cake, roasted applesauce, apple butter. The true apples of my eye are my peeps, all of us gathered snugly around the dinner table, which is way too small at times. In October apples are right there with us. Apples two ways in my mind, eaten fresh and crisp, or roasted, caramelized and gooey. Apples in the backyard may have a worm here and there, but tonight they’re destined for glory, transformed into an Apple Crisp.
Apples are a part of our autumnal character, like falling leaves, foggy mornings, the World Series and back-to-school. I know that an apple pie gets a lot of well-deserved glory as the all-American dessert, but I have to say, for ease and utter decadent deliciousness, apple crisp is the side kick who messes around, doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a zillion fans of its own.
Apple Crisp Recipe
Use any tart, crisp apple, abundant at Farmer’s Markets all over the state right now.
Butter a 12-inch (give or take) oval, round or rectangular casserole or baking pan.
The apples: 7 – 8 C coarsely grated, peeled or unpeeled, apples/ 1/2 C brown sugar (a little more for very sour apples, a little less for sweeter apples)/ 2 – 3 T flour (less is better unless apples are super juicy)/ 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, a pinch of salt. Add more cinnamon and nutmeg if you like. Mix together and pour into the prepared pan. Pile them high, apples will shrink during cooking.
The topping Mix in a food processor or by hand: 1 cube (1/2 C) cold butter, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/4 C flour, 2/3 C oatmeal, 1/3 C chopped nuts (if using a blender or food processor, add chopped nuts last to keep them in chunks), 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/8 t nutmeg, 1/4 t salt. In a food processor this becomes a loose dough after a few seconds, by hand a few minutes. Either way, it’s ready when ingredients come together to form small buttery nuggets of butter, flour, oatmeal, sugar, nuts and spice. Along with the apples they’re transformed during baking into the crisp sumptuous bites that characterize Apple Crisp.
Bake in a 375º oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350º and cook for another 25-30. It may be golden brown with tender bubbling apples sooner than that, so keep an eye on it. I took a spoon and tasted a tiny bit to be sure apples were done. (I know, it’s tough, but somebody has to sacrifice and taste this stuff.)
Serve warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting just so, making a beautiful pool of ice creaminess all over the plate . . . been there, done that. Autumn has its upside.