Monday, January 28, 2013

the other apple crisp

In my kitchen, the question of "should I make apple crisp" always has a followup question - "which kind ?" I've already blogged about the glories of the Irish Oatmeal Apple Crisp with Whiskey Whipped Cream - the show-stopping final act of our annual St. Patrick's Day Feast. The pleasant chewiness of the oats...the tart yet sweet, soft apples...and the unexpected yet unbelievably harmonious subtle note of smokiness and bite from the whiskey...mmm, is it March 17th yet ?

There is another kind of apple crisp that happens here, that I've been making even longer than the oatmeal version. This one has a gorgeous sugary, buttery, crunchy crust - no oats at all, but just as good as the oat version in its own sugar-rush way.  Basically a Silver Palate adaptation, this is a simple recipe...and simply a Culinary Orgasm.

A note on the apples : you can make this with whatever kind of apples you have on hand - ignore those people that say you HAVE to cook with a certain kind of apple - clearly they've never done anything fun like taking little children apple picking (they usually head right for the shiny red ones.) I've made apple crisps with everything from super tart Granny Smiths to super sweet Honeycrisps and it always works perfectly. You do want a little tartness to offset all the sugar, though - that's where the lemon comes in. Taste a little of the apple, and if it's sweet squeeze that lemon half harder (or even use the whole lemon). If the apple makes you pucker up, just give it a light pass with the lemon. Don't sweat the lemon - however much you use will be fine, I promise !! 

apples for today's crisp : Empire

ready for some sugar, sugar !

making the topping

yes, this is really how it looks at first...

...but it all pats down nicely

baked and ready

mmm !!

Apple Crisp
adapted from "The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook"

5 large or 6 medium apples (enough to just about fill your pan with slices), peeled, cored, and sliced into medium slices (if you use a wedger, cut the wedges in half)
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces (plus a little extra to butter the pan)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch cake pan with unsalted butter.

2. Place about half the apple slices in the pan, and squeeze the lemon half over them lightly (in other words, don't use it all in your first pass). Repeat with rest of apples and rest of lemon half. Level out the apples as best you can (no need to go all Martha Stewart here - just flatten them out.)

3. Process the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade* just to combine. Add the butter and process, using repeated pulses, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

4. Dump the crumb mixture on top of the apples (it will look like a mountain of sand - see above picture. This is normal - don't worry, it will really all fit.) Level out the crumbs as best you can (again, don't go all OCD) and press the crumbs down on to the apples and to the edges of the pan.

5. Bake until the top is golden and the apples are tender, about 1 hour. Serve warm with good quality vanilla ice cream (or gelato - Talenti makes a great one that's available in most supermarkets). Note : for some reason, the whiskey whipped cream - though spectacular - doesn't go quite as well with this crisp, in my opinion. If you've a yen for the whiskey (and really, why wouldn't you now), go for it - it's your damn apple crisp !   

*Don't fret if you don't have a food processor - you can still have delicious apple crisp goodness ! Just cut the butter into really small pieces (it's okay - and actually helpful - to let it get slightly soft). Mix the dry ingredients together well, then work in the butter with your fingertips, a pastry blender, or even the back of a fork.

No comments:

Post a Comment