Fall is here, people. I, um, might have mentioned that before. Sorry for the redundant message, but I'm just so gosh-darned excited about it! Yesterday morning I visited the St. Stephen's Greenmarket to buy a healthy supply of apples for the week, with an eye to making a few different apple-y items over the next few days. (And, of course, I threw in a few apples for snacking purposes.)
This afternoon, I tackled the first of my projects: an apple crisp. Crisps, like cobblers and crumbles, are amongst the easiest of all desserts known to humankind. You basically slice up some fruit (or not, in the case of berries), mix it with a little sugar and spice, toss the lot into a buttered baking dish and then throw a sugar-and-butter-and-possibly-oats topping down over everything.
And, kaboom! You have absolute, utter, fruity perfection. And your house will smell pretty damn good, too. Feel free to mess about with the ingredients here, especially the types of apples and the seasonings, depending on what you prefer. Cloves would be great, as would allspice. A little Calvados in place of the cider would make things pleasantly boozy, which is always a good thing. And light brown sugar will give you a more-golden, less-brown topping, and a slightly lighter flavor. Whatever floats your boat (or bobs your apple! Too much?)
1 1/4 cups oats (old-fashioned, not instant)
3/4 cups dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 lbs. assorted apples (I used honeycrisp and gala), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. apple cider
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 2-3 quart glass or ceramic baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, 1 tsp of the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Add the butter and blend the mixture with your fingertips until it forms soft, uniform clumps. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the apples with the remaining sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the lemon juice and cider and toss to combine, until the sugar has dissolved and the apples are evenly coated.
Pour the apples evenly into the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top of the crisp is well-browned, and the juices are dark and bubbly.
Serves 4-6. Goes really, really well with vanilla ice cream.