There’s no doubt about it. Fall is here. The wind has a certain crispness that was missing not too long ago. Leaves have changed, fallen and been raked into piles. My vegetable garden is cut down to the dirt. Still, the farmer’s markets are bustling with squash, apples, root vegetables and more and Thanksgiving is now right around the corner. While my favorite way to rejoice in a fall harvest is by battering and frying apples for apfelradln, apple crisp is Ole’s and it is one that never leaves us with regret. A warm dish of sweet apples topped in granola-like goodness can’t be beat on a cool fall day.
Start by peeling your apples. Again, I’m using a mix of my favorite baking varieties. Ole likes the variation in the different textures. He claims it’s all about mouth feel. I told him he sounded snooty and handed him a knife to cut the apples with.
When you have a lovely bowl of apples, squeeze a lemon over them first to prevent any possible browning. To the apples add a bit of sugar, a bit of flour, cinnamon and just a bit of cardamom to keep things interesting. Do you have to season and spice the apple layer? Not necessarily. I like the way it all bakes together when I do, though.
For the crisp start with (1) softened butter (that means leave it on the counter and do something else for a while) and add (2) dark brown sugar, (3) rolled oats, (4) flour, (5) spices: cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, a pinch of salt and (6) mix.
I like to grease my baking dish a bit before dumping in the apples just in case any of them have the audacity to think they’re going to stick to the side. My greasing method of choice? The wrapper from the stick of butter. Just rub it around in there before you throw it away.
Spread your topping mix evenly across the top of the apples and try to resist the temptation to eat it right there.
After about an hour in your friendly oven, with smells wafting around the room, remove the crisp. Stare at it for a few minutes to avoid burning your tongue.
Still warm, topped with ice cream and a good caramel sauce is the way I like it, but really, I’d take it any way it happened to come: with cream, on its own, a day later cold out of the fridge when no one is looking. Doesn’t matter. It has apples. And crumbly topping.