I have my seasons all mixed up. I’m fully aware that I should be posting this in November following a big pot roast or other autumn fare. But, when I want apple crisp, I want apple crisp immediately. So, hundred degree weather be damned.
This is the crisp topping that I’ve been using for years. But I recently modified the filling a bit because of how much I love the heirloom apple pie recipe to which I was introduced by Jon Rowley a few months ago. I do not have any more of his wonderful heirloom apples, but I have applied the other principles here to great effect. Namely, use as many varieties of organic apples that you can and use a touch of apple cider vinegar in the filling. Also, you will notice I have left the peels on my apples and cut them into somewhat large chunks. This gives the crisp other facets of texture and also affects the colors of the filling. You need not leave the peels on if that seems odd to you, but I recommend that you try it one day. I suspect you will love it.
If you want to read more about heirloom apples and the heirloom apple pie, please take time to read The Quintessential American Apple Pie. It is one of my favorite posts, and though someone described it as the War and Peace of pie writing…there is some great information about pie making in there, thanks to Jon.
Don’t forget to buy ice cream to go on top of this. I’m partial to Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.
½ cup butter, cool, cut into small chunks
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup old fashioned oats
5 to 6 organic apples of several varieties, rinsed
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ Tablespoon cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon for the topping. Add the butter and working with your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the butter in until you have a chunky and sandy texture. Add the oats and work them into the butter mixture. Set aside in the refrigerator. This topping can be a bit messy and gloppy in appearance. Don’t worry.
For the filling, core the apples and cut them into chunks. Put the apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle the apples with apple cider vinegar and toss the apples to distribute the vinegar. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, cloves, and flour. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the apples and toss the apples with your hands or a large spoon to distribute the spices and sugar.
Place the apples in a buttered baking dish. Distribute the butter and oats mixture over the top of the apples as evenly as possible. Bake the crisp at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. To determine doneness, you can stick a toothpick into the crisp and pierce a few individual chunks of apple. The toothpick should meet only slight resistance. Remove the crisp from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
I am not defining the size of the dish here. I used a 9” pie plate. The size of your apples will dictate how much space you will need. But, you will likely be using a size down from your 9” x 13” baking dish. Also, using different varieties of apples means that they will cook differently. Some will stay rather firm and some will cook into mush. That is the beauty of using different varieties. But remember as you do your toothpick test that all of the apples will not test the same. That is why I suggest that you test in a few different places. For the same reason, sometimes this will turn out more juicy than other times. Different apples behave differently. I am smitten enough with using all of these wonderful apples that I am okay with slightly differing outcomes, and I didn’t want to load up the filling with excess flour to overcome a little juice in the dish. Your ice cream will be perfectly happy with a little extra juice. And, finally, I have used up to a full Tablespoon of cinnamon in this recipe. I have very strong cinnamon right now so I scaled it back to a ½ Tablespoon. But when you have all of your apples mixed up, taste one and if you want a little more cinnamon, have at it.