Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Temptation Tuesday - Apple Crisp for the start of Fall

Ah, Temptation Tuesday rolls around again and with a touch of fall in the air what could be better than an old fashioned apple crisp.  Two weeks ago we made a Peach Cobbler here and some have asked what made that a cobbler or what makes this a crisp?

The good folks at Food Network answered it this way: "If biscuit dough is dropped by the spoonful on top of the fruit, it makes a lumpy, "cobbled" surface--like a street paved with round stones--and so the dish is a COBBLER.  To be a CRISP, a CRUMBLE, or a CRUNCH, the fruit must be topped with some variation of a butter, sugar, and flour topping. Typically, a CRUMBLE has flour, sugar, butter, and oatmeal; a CRISP has flour, sugar, butter and nuts; and a CRUNCH has sugar, butter, and breadcrumbs."

Apple crisp was one of the first things I began making for myself in single serving dishes a couple of years ago.  This version was adapted from one found on the King Arthur Flour website.  Their recipe made 9 to 12 servings and while I'm by any account an apple crisp fan, I could never eat that much before it managed to spoil in the refrigerator.  So a little math and a little experimentation brought me to the following quantities and it's perfect for a single serving.

Sometimes I add raisins or dried cranberries to the apple mixture. I've been known to add toffee bits to the crisp topping if I had some in the pantry.  This same dessert would be equally good with peaches with the addition of amaretto to the fruit and some chopped almonds in the topping.  Variations are many and you should experiment often.  No, really!  Experiment often! 

I like my crisps served with ice cream so that it melts down into the dish as I break through the crisp topping.  There's something magical about the combination of hot fruit and cold ice cream that makes me very happy. 

So let's get started!

APPLE CRISP

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Peel, core, and slice apples to make about 1 cup prepared apples.  Use whatever types of apples you have for eating, they all work here with the caveat that some yellow apples will disintegrate more than others but they all taste equally well. 

A quick word here about my choice of baking dish.  I have a set of these 4-inch diameter ramekins that are perfect for single servings of lots of things.  From desserts to mac n'cheese, these are great investments for your kitchen whether you're serving just yourself or for making individual servings for a dinner party.

Next, we’ll mix the apples with the following:
   Splash of rum, apple cider or juice, or the liquor/juice of your choice; or water
   1 or 2 tablespoons brown sugar, depends upon the sweetness of your apples
   1 teaspoon butter, cut into small pieces
   1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice; or 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg + pinch ground ginger
   1 teaspoon flour
   pinch salt

Stir till everything is thoroughly combined.

Next, the streusel topping. This puts the “crisp” in apple crisp.

Combine the following:
   2 tablespoons flour
   1 tablespoon quick oats
   Pinch of salt
   2 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
   Pinch of ground cinnamon
   Add 1 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces.

Work it in till the mixture is crumbly. Add 1 tablespoon diced pecans or walnuts, if you like. 

Top the apples with the crisp and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes. 

When it's done it will be bubbly and oozey and the crisp will be a beautiful golden brown.  Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.



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