My baking buddy and I started working our way through her stash of Honeycrisp apples by making a Rustic Apple-Cinnamon Tart, but we quickly realized that we would need to make two apple desserts to fully use up all the apples. So, this Apple Crisp turned out to be the the surprise of the afternoon. A couple of things stand out to elevate this from your usual apple crisp recipe including: 1) the addition of nutmeg in the topping (which gives it a “je ne sais quois” quality of deliciousness), 2) adding the topping in two stages of baking (which keeps the topping from sinking into the crisp too much and keeps things crunchy), and 3) the use of almond extract instead of the usual vanilla extract (which gives it an extra unique apple pie flavor).
From overhead the apple crisp doesn’t look too impressive.
And here’s the perfect bite for you (with vanilla ice cream).
(from Fine Cooking Create Your Own Fruit Crisp –http://www.finecooking.com/articles/cyor/fruit-crisp.aspx. My comments are in italics between [ ]. )
Makes 8 servings
For the Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg [the nutmeg add a unique and unexpected twist to the usual apple pie flavors]
8 Tbs. slightly softened unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup chopped pecans
For the Fruit Filling
6 cups peeled, sliced apples (1/2-inch slices)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Make the Topping
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
- Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it’s well blended and the mixture crumbles coarsely; it should hold together when you pinch it.
- Mix in the pecans with your hands until it’s well-distributed. Refrigerate the topping until needed.
Make the Crisp
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Put the apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle up to 1/3 cup sugar over the apples (for sweet, ripe fruit, use less; for tart fruit, use more).
- In a small dish, dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice. Pour over the apple and sugar mixture.
- Add the almond extract and cinnamon and toss gently.
- Pour the apple mixture into a 9-inch square (or similar-capacity) glass or ceramic baking dish. Set the pan on a baking sheet to catch overflowing juices.
- Top the apple mixture with half of the topping (keep the other half refrigerated) and bake for 20 minutes. [Don’t be tempted to dump all the topping on at this step. Adding the topping in two steps keeps it from sinking too much into the apple mixture and helps keeps things crispy.]
- Sprinkle the remaining topping over the crisp, and continue baking until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife, the topping is crisp, and the juices are bubbling, about another 15 minutes.
- Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm. [This is especially delicious when served with ice cream.]