It’s October, which means that mornings are starting out clear and cool, evenings are getting darker sooner, leaves are changing colors, and we finally closed the windows in our bedroom (but don’t worry, the heat won’t be on for another few weeks!). You know what else happens in October?? APPLE CRISP SEASON!!! Yes, it’s officially the best time of year to enjoy warm, cinnamon-y baked apples with a sugary, spice-filled topping and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream on top. YUM!!
Matt’s dad visits up state New York every fall and inevitably returns with dozens of freshly picked McIntosh apples. When we were at Matt’s parents’ house last weekend we loaded up a big grocery bag full of apples and then set about finding an apple crisp recipe worthy of the season.
Like many of my favorite recipes, the recipe below is from our trusty cookbook, The New Best Recipe. I can’t stress enough how fantastic this cookbook is. It has detailed, easy to understand instructions, long intros about how and why the authors chose certain ingredients or cooking methods, and tons of illustrations. Not that you really need an illustration for apple crisp, but that feature has definitely come in handy for some of the more complicated recipes that we’ve attempted.
With this back story in mind, it should come as no surprise that this recipe for apple crisp turned out perfectly. The McIntosh apples melted into a flavorful, applesauce-like filling and the firmer Granny Smiths held their shape and gave the crisp a good texture. There’s just the right amount of tart lemon to offset the sweetness of the apples and the topping was absolutely delectable. In fact it’s making my mouth water right now just looking at the photos!!! :-)
Apple Crisp (serves 5-6, from The New Best Recipe)
For the topping…
6 tablespoons Flour
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup coarsely chopped Almonds, Pecans, or Walnuts (I used sliced almonds)
For the filling…
3 McIntosh Apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon Grated Zest and 1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
Vanilla Ice Cream
Start by making your topping. Combine the flour, sugars, spices and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Blend for a few seconds to mix. Add in the pieces of butter and pulse the food processor 10 times for 4 seconds each. Don’t overmix the topping. Accordingly to the original recipe, your topping will first look like dry sand, then like coarse cornmeal. Add in the nuts and pulse again 4-5 times for 1 second each. Refrigerate the topping for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, combine the apples, zest, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl and mix well to coat the apples. Use a spatula to transfer the apple mixture to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate (make sure to scrap the sides of the bowl to get all of the sugar and lemon flavor!). :-)
Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over the apple mixture. Bake the crisp in a preheated 375° oven for 40 minutes, then increase the heat to 400° and bake for another 5 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Remove the crisp from the oven and allow it to cool slightly for 10-15 minutes or as long as you can wait… it will smell GREAT at this point! Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.