This recipe came from my very own mama, and it’s one that I definitely feel I should pass on to you. It’s incredibly simple in the fact that it’s pretty hard to mess up. You could even forget about it in the oven and it would probably come out just fine. (Unless, of course, you leave it baking through half of the Project Runway marathon. And no, I haven’t done that. Yet.) So pull out a baking dish (nearly any will do), peel a few apples, and lets get going.
Without question, Cortland apples are my favorite for baking, but they’re not always easy to find. You can go with Fuji, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or a combination of a couple. That allows the flavors to mix, which is delish. If you’ve got your own favorite, I’d be curious to know what it is. I’m always looking for new ideas.
7 medium apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
Heat the oven to 350. Peel & core the apples. Thinly slice them and put them in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Then, stirring gently with a large spoon, coat the apples with the sugar mixture. Set aside.
(I was blessed by an apple peeler/corer last winter. I actually got two – one from Pete & one from my sister-in-law Kristin. Such a time saver! Definitely worth the $20-some investment if you do a lot of apple baking. This one is the best I’ve seen. It suctions right to the counter. Find it here at Williams-Sonoma.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
5 T butter, partially softened
Mix all the dry ingredients (not the butter; it’s not dry) together in a medium bowl. Then, using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter into the mixture. Do this until small clumps form. If you have a lot of dry mixture that isn’t mixing in, add a very small amount of melted butter.
Now you’re ready to put the crisp together. Choose an oven-safe dish. I often use a glass or metal pie pan, but you can also use a bread pan or an 8×8 pan. No need to grease it. Pour your apple mixture into the pan. Remember that the apples will bake down a bit, so it won’t be as full in the end. Using your fingers, sprinkle the crisp over the apples. Pinch some of the crisp mixture together to create clumps, which gives it a nice look. Most of the top should be covered, but it’s okay if there are open spots. Crisps are very forgiving.
Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. It’s not always easy to tell when its ready. You can look for bubbly edges if you can see the apple mixture under the topping. Otherwise, pull it out of the oven, hold it in good lighting (not always available in the oven), and check how dark the topping is. You want it to have some darker color but not to be really dark. Let the crisp cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. It is perfect served with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or completely on its own! Enjoy!
Fruit Crisp Variation: For a daring variation to your apple crisp, try placing raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries on top of the apples before sprinkling the topping over the fruit. When it all bakes together, the flavor of the apples changes completely.
In reference to Ella’s Halloween costume: I have to admit that I never actually figured out if it was a chick or a duck. As my mom pointed out, the bill was rounded, which made us think it might be a duck. I started calling her a duck at the Harvest Party, but then people were calling her a chicken, so I switched back. I really don’t know. She was our little chicky ducky!