I think there are two basic categories of throwback foods. There are the ones that are sort of horrifying that folks like to make fun of (Ham and Bananas Hollandaise, anyone?) And then there are the foods that, when we eat them, snap us back to a particular time and place and make us feel like a kid again. Apple crisp falls into the latter category.
I don’t recall my mother making many apple crisps, although she made a lot of apple pies. What she did make though was baked apples, which she would sometimes top with streusel. As the apple skin dulled in the heat of the oven, the flavor of the apple itself intensified as its texture softened. What came out of the oven, all bubbling and buttery, was like a self-contained apple crisp, bright and mellow, soft and crunchy. A perfect little portion.
My friend Barb from Creative Culinary shared one of her family’s favorite crisps just the other day. Her Pikes Peak Spiked Apple Crisp calls for Grand Marnier and Amaretto along with citrus zest and a touch of cinnamon. It sounds just about perfect. I didn’t own everything called for in her recipe, so I went with what I had, choosing also to substitute some rolled oats for part of the flour in the streusel. Because who doesn’t want a big buttery oatmeal cookie with their spiked apples, right?
I also shot and edited a video of the whole crisp production, condensed into about a minute and a half. Please take a look, and pay particular attention to both the dish I made the crisp in and the lovely acacia wood bowls and plates I used for serving. The lovely folks at Pacific Merchants sent them to me to take for a test drive, and I love them. The Enamour baker is very retro-cool and is a great size for a fruit crisp. It’s also a bit more elegant than your standard Pyrex, and it’s right at home on the dining room table. The acacia wood bowls and plates are lightweight, smooth and just feel good in your hand. They aren’t dishwasher-safe, but they wash up quickly and can air dry. Plus, they’re gorgeous, aren’t they?
I’m telling you all of this because in a couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a giveaway in conjunction with the lovely folks at Pacific Merchants. The winner will get a $75 gift card to use to purchase whatever they’d like at the Pacific Merchants website. Huzah! As well, all my readers will get a discount code to use at Pacific Merchants. No losers at all in this giveaway!
Consider the video both a short how-to for crisp making and a coming attraction for the giveaway.
Enjoy the crisp, the video and start deciding what you’ll get at Pacific Merchants!
For the Apples
- 6 medium baking apples, (2-3 different varieties is nice, but use what you like)
- 2 Tablespoons each Grand Marnier and Frangelico
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, (I used Sugar in the Raw)
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice, (cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice)
- healthy pinch of salt
For the Streusel
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, (does not have to be packed down, just scooped and leveled)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, , chopped finely (optional)
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- heavy pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice, (cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice)
- 1/2 cup butter, , softened
For the Apples
- Peel, core and slice apples into about 1/4" slices and put in a 2 quart baking dish.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and toss everything together evenly.
For the Streusel
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Work the butter in with a pastry blender or your fingers until no longer sandy but almost like cookie dough.
- Break the streusel up into small pieces and spread evenly on top of the apples.
- Preheat your oven to 350F and put a rack in the middle position.
- Bake the crisp for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the streusel is nicely browned and the juices are bubbling.
- Let cool slightly before serving. Top portions with sour cream (my preference), slightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, depending on how sweet you like things.
In case you’re wondering why there are no gorgeous photos of my apple crisp, it’s because it’s gone. Yes, I made it yesterday. And yes, it’s gone. All of it. When I make some more, if I can contain myself I promise to photograph it. For now, you’ll just have to make your own boozy apple crisp and see for yourself!
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Have a lovely day. And make some crisp.