09 December 2015

Best apple crisp

An ideal apple crisp, to me, includes something important: crispiness. It also includes soft, but not mushy, apples that maintain their shape, sweetened just enough and spiced just so.  Apple crisp (which I probably should have posted about in October) falls into the category of desserts that are increasingly my favorite: rustic but incredibly good and slightly up-the-sleeve/shoot-from-the-hip. Despite the Christmas rush unfolding before our eyes, apples and cinnamon are a still abundant in my book, and at the farmer's market too. Complimented with a dollop of creme fraiche, it's a perfect chilly evening sweet ending. Best of all, it can be made in one bowl.

Over the summer I posted a version of a mixed berry crisp, and what we have here isn't that different--the topping is the same and includes the trick of a bit of baking powder for a little lift and oats. The result is a cookie-like topping that is just divine with the apples. For the filling, I used a mix of golden apples and granny smiths here, but I've also used the beloved Honeycrisp. As per usual, any sweet-tart variety will do, just avoid the macs and reds, which will dissolve too easily. Look for the ones that hold their shapes. 

I don't over-sweeten the filling, either, and for this version, I have scaled down the whole thing to serve two. I am of the opinion that a crisp should be enjoyed as it is right after it cools. You can of course scale it up if you have more folks to serve. Either way, I can guarantee you that fingers will be swiping for the last of the juices in the dish and no oat crumb will be left behind. Enjoy!

One-bowl Apple Crisp 
Adapted from Rock Recipes
Note: I typically use a glass dish for this. I love a 6-inch shallow pie plate . If you double or triple, a bigger pie plate or glass pyrex is good. 


1/4 cup/25 grams rolled oats 
1/4 cup/32 grams AP flour (or a mix of whole wheat and AP)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
scant 2 Tbsp/ 24 grams brown sugar
Pinch salt
Pinch cinnamon
scant 3 Tbsp/40 grams good butter, cubed, cold

2 medium or 1 1/2 medium-large apples (golden or granny are good), peeled, cored, sliced into thick-ish wedges (about 8 per apple is good)
scant 1 Tbsp granulated sugar/ 11 grams
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all-natural cornstarch
1/4 tsp vanilla
scant 1 Tbsp/ 10 grams butter

Heat the oven to 350. I find it easy to start with the filling. Drop the 1 Tbsp butter into the glass dish you'll be using and place in the oven. In a few minutes, it will be melted. Remove from the oven (with a mitt!) and add the vanilla. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch, spices together in a large bowl and add apples. Toss to coat, then add the melted butter/vanilla and toss again. Transfer to the reserved baking dish. 

In the same bowl (wipe out with a paper towel if it's wet from the apples ) whisk topping ingredients: flour, oats, baking powder, salt and sugar. Drop in cubed butter. Work in with fingers until a ball is formed, like cookie dough. Take dollops of the dough the size of your your thumb tip and drop onto the apples. Do not press down on the topping at all. That's what will keep it crispy.

Place in oven and bake 40-45 minutes until apples bubbly and topping golden. A knife in one of the apples should slip in and be softened but not mushy. Let cool on a wire rack  at least 25 minutes before serving. 

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