Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Apple Crisp: Not Just for Autumn Anymore!

     Apple crisp is not just for autumn anymore.  The deep, rich flavors in this traditional New England classic have been altered to reflect the fresh, crisp sunshine of spring.  Though apples are not in season yet, it does not mean you have to sacrifice quality.  Local orchards keep fresh apples in a chilled environment all year to preserve the freshness of this autumn fruit.
    The secret in the transformation of this apple concoction is the streusel topping.  The heavy flavors of brown sugar, oats & nuts have been left out to give a buttery cookie taste to the topping.  Though the heavy flavors are negated, it is still lightly spiced to give a pleasant aromatic presence that is welcomed throughout the year!

Springtime Apple Crisp
Yields 8 - 10 servings


Streusel Topping:
About 2 cups unbleached flour
About 2 cups white sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
A few pieces of lemon zest
About 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cut into cubes, kept chilled

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, spices & lemon zest in a medium bowl.  Work in chilled butter with finger tips until resembles a loose cookie dough, but still quite crumbly.  Note: if you've ever made pie crust and had to cut butter until resembles crumbs, this is the same process.  However, you will want to take the mixture a bit farther than crumbs.

Apple Mixture:
6 or 7 medium cooking apples, i.e. Braeburn, Cortland, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious
Juice from 1 whole lemon
2/3 - 3/4 cup white sugar, depending on the tartness of the apples
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom OR a few pieces of lemon zest (optional)
8 oz (1 stick) butter, sliced thinly

(1) Peel, core and slice apples into 1/4" slices.  Place in a large bowl.
(2) Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to the apples.
(3) In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, flour, & spices.
(4) Add sugar mixture to apples and toss gently.
(5) Grease a 9" x 13" baking pan.  Add apples to pan.
(6) Coat the top of the apples with streusel topping.
(7) Place butter slices on top the unbaked apple crisp.
(8) Place in oven at 375F for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and apples are tender when tested with a toothpick/fork.
(9) Cool for about 30 minutes before eating to allow the juices to thicken and to allow for carryover baking.


Breakfast: Serve this over oatmeal and top with a bit of cream to make this the perfect way to start your day.
Add dried fruit: In step 2 of the filling recipe, add dried cherries or golden raisins to make this extra special.
Dessert: Of course, as pictured, serve this as an elegant last course with premium vanilla bean ice cream.
Apple Crisp PURE-AWESOMENESS!: You can combine all of the above variations for the most deliciousness variety imaginable!

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