And this one’s a blushing delight!
You know it’s Autumn when you catch that first whiff of apples cooking, especially apple crisp, and right now, the whole world needs a nice big portion.
Who can resist the site, the smell, the texture of the crispy top, and spicy softened apples? In this version, I’ve added a couple of ripe pears that were asking to be used, and seasonal cranberries as well, which lend a lovely pink blush and special flavor to the basic crisp. If you don’t like cranberries, you can leave them out.
There are a few tricks and a few secret ingredients to a great apple crisp, and this recipe has them all.
Apple Crisp Rules
Secret #1: Use several types of apples. Like making cider or applesauce, a little sweet, a little tart, firm, and soft, all combine to make a full and flavorful filling.
Secret #2: Always add a pinch of salt to the filling as well as the topping. The salt enhances the sweet the same as it does for savory.
Secret #3: Add a hefty portion of vanilla extract. Not typical in apple crisp, but essential in my book.
Secret #4: Don’t “sprinkle” the topping over the apples as most recipes tell you. Rather, add clumps of it, sort of like strewing little bits of oatmeal cookie dough over the top. The clumps will crisp up much better than a scattered topping.
Blushing Apple Crisp
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and butter a large baking dish, your mother’s old Pyrex 8 X 13 is perfect.
In the prepared dish, place, and mix well:
- 2 ½ lbs. peeled, cored, and sliced apples, variety
- 2 pears, peeled, cored, sliced
- 1 cup cranberries, rough chop
- ½ cup or so organic white sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- A few grates of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- The zest of one lemon
- The juice of half a lemon, a couple of tablespoons
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
If you have it on hand, a split vanilla bean is also a nice addition.
In the bowl of a mixer, or by hand, combine just until it becomes a unified mass:
- 1 cup of old-fashioned oats
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- A large pinch of salt
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Few grates of nutmeg
- 2 sticks butter or vegan butter
Clump on top of the apples, trying to cover most of them, but you will have a few holes and cracks. Depending on the pan you use, you could have some left over. Bake for about an hour, check at 50 minutes, and turn in the oven halfway through.
Let cool as long as you can stand it so the juices will firm up. Serve straight up, or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side.
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