crisp belongs to a long line of simple baked desserts that combine fresh fruit
with a topping. Cobblers, Crumbles, Grunts, Brown Bettys, Pandowdies, and
Crisps may be called old-fashioned and homey but having a dessert of warm baked
fruit topped with a tasty crust is hard to resist. Unlike a cobbler that uses a
biscuit dough topping, this Apple Crisp uses a streusel-like
mixture of flour, white and brown sugars, ground cinnamon, and butter, along with
rolled oats and nuts.
name 'Crisp' or 'Crumble' comes from the fact that when you pull this dessert
from the oven you will notice how wonderfully crisp and crumbly the topping has
become. Apple Crisps are especially popular during the fall and winter months which just
happens to coincide with the apple's harvest time. If you can, use locally
grown apples as their flavor and texture are superior to those found in grocery
stores. Combining two or more varieties makes for a flavorful crisp as
does adding some fresh raspberries or even blackberries, that favorite British
combination. But don't worry if you can't get local apples, varieties like
Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, and McIntosh, to name a few, are also
excellent. Apple crisps are delicious warm from the oven with a dollop of
softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
This apple crisp's topping
contains old fashioned rolled oats. Oats are a cereal grain
that is rich and flavorful and comes in many forms. Very popular
in Northern Europe, Scotland and Ireland. Oats to be consumed by
humans are cleaned, toasted, hulled to become what we call oat groats. The oat groats are then steamed and flattened to become
rolled oats or old-fashioned oats. Old-fashioned rolled oats are not to be confused with
quick-cooking rolled oats. These are oats have been cut into
pieces before being steamed and rolled into thinner flakes. They
cook quickly, about 5 minutes, but their flavor and texture are a little
different than old-fashioned rolled oats. I do not recommend using
the quick-cooking rolled oats in this recipe.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in the center
of the oven. Butter or spray with a cooking spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) deep
dish pie plate or an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (20 x 20 x 5 cm) baking dish. (Can also make
8 individual ramekins.)
Place all the topping ingredients (flour, sugars, spices, butter, oats and nuts)
in a food processor and process until the mixture is crumbly (looks like coarse
meal) and there are no large pieces of butter visible. (This can also be
done with two knives or your fingertips.) Set aside while you prepare the
the apple chunks in a large
bowl, along with the berries (if using) and lemon zest. Toss with the lemon
juice and sugar. Transfer to your prepared baking dish
Spread the topping evenly over the apples.
Bake for approximately
30 - 40
minutes (20- 25 minutes for individual ramekins) or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown. (If
you insert the tip of a sharp knife into a chunk of apple, it should be tender,
not mushy.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes before
Serve with softly whipped
cream or vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat before
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