photo by Anthony Palatta
As I was showing this blog to my mom, who doesn't "do" the Internet, she asked me, "Do you have any apple recipes?"
Apple & cinnamon are probably my mother's favorite flavors. She makes apple cake, apple pie, but above all, she makes apple crisp.
She's so famous in our family for her apple crisp that one year my brother got her a special apple peeler, a red metal device with a crank that you turn and it peels and slices the whole apple for you.
I don't have one of these gizmos, so when I make apple crisp, I run my hand peeler across the top and the bottom of the apple, clearing it of skin. I then work my way down from the top, then flip the apple and work my way down the other way until I meet in the middle. Finally, I slice the apple into 1/2 inch cubes.
At that point, I put the apples in an 8 x 8 baking pan and sprinkle them with sugar and a little apple cider or water, then cover them with cinnamon. My mom uses a round glass baking dish. She also adds 1/4 cup of water, no sugar, and also covers them with a healthy dusting of cinnamon.
There are two theories of topping that come into play at this point. My mother uses 1 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of flour with about 5 or 6 tablespoons of soft butter, that she cuts into the sugar and flour with a pastry blender. I use 1 1/4 cup of flour to 3/4 cup of sugar with about the same amount of butter, melted, which I stir into the mixture with a fork until it holds together when you press it between your fingers. Either way, you may have to adjust the butter a bit until you get the right consistency.
My topping is doughier and less sweet. Hers has a candy-like crunch. (In the picture above, I've made hers.)
You could also adulterate your topping with brown sugar, oats, crushed nuts, crushed breakfast cereal, or crushed cookies, I suppose. And you could add blueberries or a mix of fruit underneath too.
Bake at 350 until the top is golden brown and the apples are bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes.
The results are delicious cold or warm, but not hot. It's best to bake this beforehand and let it sit a little, rather than serve it right out of the oven.