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Apple Crisp

I’m aware that back home, it’s not so much fall anymore as it is that brown, damp time that occurs between fall and winter.  The days of tolerably cool weather, with the sun shining through trees that still have [beautifully colored] leaves on them are long gone.  Here in SoCal, however, we live in what I’ve taken to calling a perpetual summer.  This is especially accurate for us Sconnies, as we’ve often endured summers where the high rarely hits 70 🙂  Though it’s been cool and wet by California standards in recent weeks, that actually makes it prettier here.  Things get green and lush and the smog clears away for a few days, providing gorgeous views of the Hills.  It reminds me of that good Wisconsin fall, and I love it.  Combine that feeling with the fact that my mom sent Alison out here with a large bag of orchard apples (Macs or Cortlands, we couldn’t tell…oops), and you create the urge for a yummy fall treat.

Although I enjoy apple pie, my two go-to apple desserts are apple squares (kuchen to those of us with heavier German influences) and apple crisp.  Both easy and freakin delicious.  Apple crisp takes less time, however, so that’s what I opted for.

Any time I cook with apples, I think of my Grandma.  She made a wicked apple pie, and my sisters and I spent many hours helping her peel apples (usually picked in the “orchard” in her backyard on a rickety ladder).  As a reward, she’d use her extra pie crust to make us “pie sticks,” simple strips of crust sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  I’ll still do the same when I bake at home, however I usually get busy elsewhere and forget them…meaning our childhood treats turn out looking more like bricks of charcoal.  Anyways, we used to compete to see who could make the longest chain of skin while we peeled.  Nowadays, we’ve gotten so good we can pretty much do an entire apple in one go.  We’d also pretend said chains were money (tasty money, too).  My college friends found these stories hilarious.  I find them heart-warming.  It’s cute how easily we were amused.

I don’t recall Grandma ever making apple crisp (why would she, her pie was too good).  The recipe I use is from the Holy Rosary Church cookbook.  Which is wonderful.  As most church cookbooks are.  I mean, collecting all the best recipes of all the little old ladies of the parish in one collection?  You’re just asking to gain 20 pounds.  This recipe couldn’t be easier.  You CANNOT screw it up.  But you’ll get plenty of praise for your slight efforts (Chris just walked downstairs asking “what is that amazing smell?”).  Cortlands and Macs are my favorite baking apples, but I’m sure you all have your favorites.  The rest of the ingredients are likely already in your pantry.

Peel and slice at least 6 cups of apples and put in a 9×9 or 10×10 baking dish.  (This is the great thing about this “recipe”…it’s totally flexible.  You don’t really have to measure out 6 cups.  Just eyeball.)

Sprinkle with a teaspoon each of water and lemon juice (I’ll skip the lemon juice if I don’t have any).

For the “crisp” part, mix:

  • 1/3 cup softened butter (not melted)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

I always double the amount of topping per pan.  It’s like having streusel on muffins.  You don’t eat the muffin for the muffin, you eat it for the streusel.  Or at least I do.  If I wanted mushy apples on their own, I’d eat applesauce.  I eat apple crisp for that amazing topping!

So, mix up these ingredients and pour over the apples, patting down so they’re all covered.  Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes and ENJOY!  Preferably hot, with vanilla bean ice cream 🙂

 

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