Posted by: A Part of the Solution | August 9, 2010

Apple Crisp All Around

I grew up foraging for windfall apples along the old fencelines of disappeared farms in my hometown of Columbia, MD. My mother bought half bushels of seconds at the local orchard for us to pick through and pick over. We made applesauce, apple butter and apple crisp with these sweet, gnarled treasures. I still make apple crisp. I make apple crisp for breakfast. I make it for tea. I make it for dessert. And I make it the same way, no matter when I’m serving it.

We’ve been so dry this summer, our apple trees are dropping a goodly percentage of their fruit before that fruit is fully ripened. Now that the apples have some size on them, and a little color too, I’m picking them up from the yard to take them in to be done unto. Soon enough. I’ll start a crockpot of slow simmering apple pieces that will take a voyage of discovery through the food mill, then go back to the crock pot with a little cinnamon and salt (and maybe a touch of sugar) to become apple butter. But that’s not what I’m doing with those apples at present. Apple crisp is what I’m doing with these apples.

I developed this iteration of apple crisp years ago when I was private chefing for a family with a dieting mom and a gluten-intolerant child. But no one ever tells me it’s not flavorful enough, or that it doesn’t have a pleasant texture. So this is the one I always make, no matter who’s seated at my table. It wins raves, and longing looks until I call the pan open for second helpings. Give it a try, and see if it isn’t the best apple crisp you’ve ever made.

Apple Crisp

For the apples:

3-4 lbs of apples, peeled, cored and cut into .5 centimeter slices (smaller than a 1/4″, larger than 1/8″)

juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 cup sugar (if the apples are summer drops, you’ll need that larger sugar volume)

For the topping:

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup pecans or walnuts (or almonds in a pinch)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 TBSP oil or 1/4 cup apple butter or apple sauce

2 TBSP maple syrup

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the apples with the vinegar or lemon juice, the cornstarch, sugar and seasonings. Spread evenly in an oiled 9″ x 13″ pyrex baking dish. Pulse the topping ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly combined and spread this over the apples as evenly as you can. Bake for thirty minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for another twenty minutes. This is delicious with crème anglaise, ice cream, plain yogurt or just a fork.



  1. I may have to play with a solar oven version. Turning the oven on when it’s 90 out there is not my idea of fun.

  2. Or wait until the weather breaks to make this one. I only posted it so early b/c we’ve got so many apples lying in the yard.

  3. […] people cannot live by applesauce and apple butter alone. And I’ve made nearly as much apple crisp as any household can reasonably absorb. It’s not quite greeted with groans, but the pan […]

  4. […] kale, white chard and turnip greens (from those baby turnips in the borscht at lunch).  I served Apple Crisp for dessert, which was accompanied by vanilla ice cream from the famous creamery at Penn State, […]

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