Thursday, November 4, 2010

Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

With so many varieties of apples, how do you pick one for baking?  I like my apples to cook down so they're soft and juicy.  I don't like biting into a piece of apple, so I use a "cooking" apple like a McIntosh or Empire.  

I've never been a big fan of piecrust, but I adore the fresh fruit fillings.  I find myself substituting a crumbly topping for the top layer of pie dough all the time, so it figures I'd be a big fan of a good old fashioned crisp or cobbler.  This apple crisp is special because it has a hint of citrus, and isn't too sweet.  Rick likes it because the topping is truly crisp and stays that way for a few days afterward, if you have leftovers.

For citrus flavor, this recipe calls for the zest of an orange and lemon, plus a few tablespoons of fresh juice.  I'm going to take this opportunity to share my enthusiasm for my microplane.  With kitchen space at a premium, I never buy a gadget unless I'm sure I'm going to use it.  My microplane is well worth the space it takes inside my drawer.  I've found that if you turn it upside down while zesting, it's extra easy to collect and measure the zest right in the measuring spoon.  No mess, or scraped finger tips and knuckles.  I love it! 

5 pounds of good cooking apples
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 orange
2 T fresh orange juice
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an oval 9 x 14 x 2 inch baking dish.

Peel, core and slice apples.  Combine the apples, fruit zests, juices, sugar and spices.  Pour into the baking dish.

Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and cold butter.  I used my food processor on the pulse setting but, you can also use a hand pastry mixer to combine.  The end result, should look crumbly.  Scatter this mixture evenly over the apples.

Place the baking dish (crisp) on a baking sheet (just in case there is a spill) and bake for one hour, or until the top is brown and the crisp is bubbly.  Always test to make sure the crumb topping in the center is fully cooked, not mushy.

I like to serve this warm, over a dish of vanilla ice cream, or with fresh cinnamon whipped cream.  Rick actually prefers his cold, or at room temperature, and unadorned.  Whichever way you serve it, you're gonna love it!

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