Apple Picking is Good For The Soul: Part 2 – Apple Crisp
After the applesauce extravaganza, I still had quite a few apples left (surprise, surprise… 18 lbs is hard to get through!), so one night I decided to make an apple crisp. It was a night when I had help eating it, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Ultimately, although this tasted reasonably good, it didn’t turn out at all the way I wanted it to. The biggest problem was the volume of liquid in the crisp, which I think was because I used fuji apples. (They’re sweeter and crunchier, so I think they have more water in them? How to Cook Everything gave me an apple chart, and fujis were listed as “eating apples” not “baking apples” or even “all purpose apples”, so there’s probably a reason for that – although they were great in applesauce.)
Anyway, I made it, and we ate it, and it wasn’t half bad, but I’d change some things if I did it again.
Assembling and processing the topping:
A side note about butter: Recipes always call for unsalted butter. It’s a throw-back to when butter wasn’t very fresh, and unsalted didn’t keep as long, so you knew that was the freshest. It’s also an attempt to cut down on salt. It’s also misguided – salt is amazing. I always use salted butter, primarily because I can’t be bothered to keep two different kinds of butter in the house, but also because I love salt and I think it’s a serious flavor enhancer.
I love the way this comes together.
I mentioned in the applesauce post that I discovered (after coring a billion apples) a more efficient way to do it. Here goes: since the apples have to be chopped anyway, I decided just to chop the core out, too. It keeps me from squashing the apples trying to jam the dratted (inferior) corer in there, and only gets one thing dirty (the knife). I just cut all the way around the core, and then if I missed any seed bits, I notch those out. Which I’d have to do anyway with the corer, because I’m not very good with a corer. Also because this way is just better.
Once again, this was a lot of apples. And I still didn’t use them all.
Tossed, and pied! (Hmm. You invented a new word. I do not think it means what you think it means.)
This is the fun part: Spreading all of that buttery, sugary goo around the top of the pie dish, and then licking your fingers. (I didn’t document that part.) I love streusel topping, which is one of the reasons I love crisps, and also one of the reasons this particular crisp disappointed me so much. The crisp turned out fine, but there was so much juice in the pan at the end that you lost the crisp into it.
Oh, I entirely forgot to mention that I didn’t peel my apples, either. I’m not sure how much effect that had on the juice, but I decided that for something like this, I didn’t mind the texture and it wouldn’t get in the way. I don’t regret that, but I might try it the other way next time. Just look at all that juice!
From The New Best Recipes Cookbook
- 6 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. packed brown sugar (original calls for light, I only have dark)
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t. salt
- 5 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used salted)
- (3/4 c. coarsely chopped nuts, such as almonds, pecans or walnuts – I omitted this)
- 3 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/4 lbs) plus 3 medium McIntosh apples (about 1 1/4 lbs) (I only had fuji, so I used 2 1/2 lbs of those)
- 1/2 t. grated zest and 1 1/2 T juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- Place flour, sugar, spices and salt in a food processor and process briefly to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse 10 times, about 4 seconds for each pulse. (I did not count these.) The mixture will first look like dry sand, with large lumps of butter, then like coarse cornmeal.
- Add the nuts (if using), then process again, four or five 1-second pulses.
- The topping should look like slightly clumpy wet sand. Be sure not to overmix, or the mixture will become too wet and homogenous.
- Refrigerate topping while preparing the fruit, at least 15 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel, quarter, and core the apples, then cut into 1-inch chunks. (You should have 6 cups.)
- Toss the apples, zest, juice, and sugar in a medium bowl.
- Scrape the fruit mixture with a rubber spatula into an 8-inch square baking pan or 9-inch deep-dish pick plate.
Assembly and Baking:
- Distribute the chilled topping evenly over the fruit.
- Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking until the fruit is bubbling and the topping turns deep golden brown, about 5 minutes more.
- Serve warm.
- (The crisp can be set aside at room temperature for a few hours and then reheated in a warm oven just before serving.)