Sunday, November 7, 2010

Apple Crisp

So, apples: this is their season, after all. Apples are on the EWG’s list of highly pesticide-soiled fruits, so I always try to buy them organic. I’m not persuaded that buying organic really make a difference – either to my health or the planet – but my tendency is to err on the side of caution, though there are times I suspect myself a bit of a Whole Foods stooge. At least the stores have a nice ambience.

The point of my preliminary ramblings is that organic honeycrisp apples were on special at Whole Foods last week for $1.49 a pound. This is, of course, insanely cheap. It’s like the price of regular apples! For honeycrisps, perched as they are atop the pinnacle of the apple world, they might as well be giving them away. I couldn’t turn my back on such a sale, but I also couldn’t summon the fortitude to tackle another apple pie.

Apple crisps make a lovely shortcut. They’re easy, delicious, and if you use all whole-grains, almost healthy. This recipe is based off of one in Seasons of Central Pennsylvania: A Cookbook and was apparently first devised in a Penn State agricultural lab. I usually prefer recipes with more homespun pedigrees, but I like that their concoction calls for all whole-grains for the topping. This is not to say that I baked as directed; I never do. I find the crisp improved with more sugar, a dab of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a hit of booze to sauce the apples – none of which are called for in the original. However, the whole grains are altogether appropriate and delicious. You won’t find yourself pining for a white flour crumbly top, or if you do – then you and whole grains simply don’t have much of a future, and you’ve probably never cared for apple crisps. How distressing!

Apple Crisp

Apple layer:
3 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (3-4 medium – I’ve used up to 5)

¼ cup raisins, preferably golden
1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur (or substitute whiskey or a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
scant ¼ teaspoon salt

Crumb topping:
¼-1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
scant ¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole wheat flour (or substitute all-purpose or white-wheat)
¼ cup oatmeal
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. In medium bowl, toss together apples, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, amaretto, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

In small-medium bowl, toss together brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and whole wheat flour. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter, fork, food processor, or your fingers. Toss in oatmeal and walnuts.

Grease a 1-quart baking dish. Pour in apple mixture:

Then sprinkle crumb topping evenly over it.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until browned, crisp, and bubbly.

Printable recipe here.

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