Thursday, October 26, 2017
I have done a disservice to us all by waiting so long to share this recipe. To me, this is the apple crisp recipe to end all apple crisp recipes. It is Ina Garten magic at it's best: perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, with enough butter that you're tempted to be apologetic but decide not to care because it is just so damn good. There is a lot of crisp in this recipe but it is in perfect proportion to the volume of apples. The gorgeous rubble covers the apples completely, ensuring each serving gets a substantial portion. When it comes to eating apple crisp who wants to get short-changed on the crisp? I don't and I love that Ina gets that.
I am sorry to be such a brag, but I have moved to apple heaven. Oh, don't worry, in January when it is dark and cold, my Southern California friends can rib me with pictures of their sunny 70 degree days, but in the meantime, fall here is just showing off. The apples pictured above are from my friend Wendy. She had me over for the afternoon, fed me a lovely lunch (which included curried chicken salad- I could have cried it was so good) and then we walked around her property, which includes her apple trees. She generously offered me as many as my hands could pick and then we returned to her house to sample some with caramel sauce. Sounds pretty much perfect, don't you think? The apples were so beautiful and I had fun arranging them to show off their various shades.
With this apple abundance, I made a large batch of apple butter and also we have been snacking on them daily. My favorite apple use though, has to be in apple crisp. We had family visiting last weekend. Early in the day, I made the crisp topping and apple filling and refrigerated separately. The apple filling can be done in advance because it includes both lemon and orange zest and juices, which in addition to adding incredible flavor, help keep the apples from turning brown when exposed to air. In the evening, just before sitting down to watch a movie, I assembled the crisp to bake. There is no seasonal special candle that accurately captures the wafting smell of spicy sweet goodness from a baking apple crisp. I like mine topped with whole milk yogurt, but the majority of folks seem to prefer vanilla ice cream. This recipe makes quite a good-sized pan of crisp: it fed 4 adults and 3 teenage boys and we still had leftovers.
5 pounds assorted apples - I like to use a good volume of Granny Smith apples plus an assortment of other varieties. Ina recommends McIntosh or Macoun.
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, large chopped
1) Preheat over to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 14 x 2 inch baking dish. I use a classic rectangle glass casserole dish.
2) Prep the apples: peel, core and cut into large wedges. I cut peeled apples in half, then quarters, core them and then cut each quarter into 3 slices.
2) In a large bowl, toss the apple wedges with the zests, juices, sugar and spices. Give a big stir to coat all. Pour the dressed apples into the baking dish and be sure to include any accumulated juices.
3) For the topping, Ina's instructions include using the stand mixer, but I find more success with a pastry cutter and my hands: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, two sugars, salt and oatmeal. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the butter is the size of peas. Likely, you'll have some crisp crumbles start to form, but also some floury bits remaining. At this point, I switch to using my well-scrubbed hands to rub the butter into the remaining mixture until it all starts to come together. Layer the crisp rubble evenly over the apples.
4) Bake for one hour until the top is browned and the apples are bubbly. I also take a small knife to poke into the crisp to verify the apples have softened. Let stand for about 10 minutes and then serve warm with your desired topping.