Let’s talk about apple crisps.
I started making apple crisps when I realized that the very real possibility and probability that I would never succeed in making my mom’s apple pie. I got the filling right but somehow my crusts were always wrong. So apple crisp was what I came up with.
The recipe that got me started is Dorie Greenspan’s, from her book “Baking My Home to Yours”. As always I adjusted to suit my taste… which meant I skipped some and added others…
Anyway, this was the dessert I made for our host last week. Why? Because it is easy to make, with ingredients commonly available, and impressive, too. The best part? It bakes while we have dinner and when it is served, it is perfect straight out of the oven!
The ingredient list is fairly easy too. The beauty of modernization is that virtually anything can be found anywhere. So even when I am 250 kilometers away from home, I can find the ingredients that I need. The nearby supermarket and specialty shop had everything, even real cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg! Dishes aren’t a problem too, since there were plenty of disposable aluminum pans – in various sizes and shapes at that. But silly me, I forgot to buy the oats…
(truth time – the pic above is NOT the apple crisp I made in someone else’s kitchen. I forgot to take a pic of that one) The one I made in friend G’s house is one I made from memory and I somehow got the sugar amount wrong – I put in waaayyy too much, so it was a tad on the (really) sweet side.
Like I said, it is easy to make –
First, generously butter a 6-inch square baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375F.
Peel and core 2 large Fuji apples and 3 to 4 small Gala apples. Slice into wedges. I slice mine in varying thickness because I like a bit of crunch and a bit of mush at the same time. Toss the apple wedges with 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar, 1 teaspoon apple pie spice ( or cinnamon), 1 cinnamon stick (broken in half), 1 tablespoon melted butter, 2 tablespoon whipping cream, juice from 1 fresh calamansi, and 2 tablespoons flour. Place the apples in the buttered baking dish.
(a short note here – the original recipe called for maple syrup, which is a rare find in my country, so instead I use a mix of vanilla sugar, butter and cream)
Stir together 2/3 cup of flour, 2/3 cup oats (not instant), 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or cashews (optional), 4 to 6 tablespoons vanilla sugar (I usually use 5 tablespoons), a pinch of salt, and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg. Plop 75 grams of soft, unsalted butter in the mix. Use a pastry blender, 2 knives, or a food processor, as you prefer but I personally use my hands! Mix until just clumpy; don’t overdo it. Scatter over the apples.
Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the topping is a lovely brown. If the topping gets too browned, cover with aluminum foil.
Best served with cold whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!