Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Apple Crisp - Our Back to School Tradition

Making apple crisp for my son’s teachers on the first day of school has become a tradition in our house. We don’t have many traditions, outside of a Christmas tree, but this is one that has stuck. I grew up eating apple crisp, peach crisp, berry crisp. Whatever was in season my mom made into a delicious crisp. Making apple crisp is very easy for a young child to help with, and the recipients are tickled to get the homemade treat. Since our older child would gladly bake for his entire school if he had enough apples, we encourage him to focus in on his teachers from the previous year, and the ones he’s looking forward to having this year to keep the project special...but still within reason for mom, the sous chef.

Apple Crisp

Apples (any variety, we like to use a mix of tart, sweet, and baking)
Brown Sugar
Whole Wheat Flour
Ginger (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)
Vanilla (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and core your apples, then quarter them, leaving the skin on. Using a Cuisinart (the slicing attachment it comes with), slice the apples. This part is great for kids. Simply have them feed chunks of apple into the tube up top. Safe, loud, and they can see their progress as the bowl fills up.

Fill baking dish(es) ¾ of the way up with sliced apples, pressing down gently to make sure you’ve put enough in since they’ll cook down a bit.

I find it is easiest to make the topping in a big bowl with a hand-mixer. Combine oats, brown sugar, butter, a handful of flour and ample amounts of the dried spices and vanilla and blend on medium-low until combined and crumbly. Let your children dump in the dry spices and vanilla…just let them shake shake shake, as it’s hard to have too much cinnamon or vanilla. I am not giving you exact amounts b/c you can look to see how it’s coming together, and taste the topping and add more of one thing or another until it’s the way you like it. We do not make ours very sweet (brown sugar) but do go heavy on the spices and vanilla, so it counts as a legitimate breakfast food around here too.

When making the topping, basically you just want the consistency of the topping to be a little drier than an oatmeal cookie batter…enough butter and flour that it’s going to help bind the oats together when you bake it + enough of the brown sugar spices and vanilla to flavor and sweeten it to your liking. As readers of this blog know, I like to wing it when I am cooking, relying on my sense of taste, and texture, to end up with a delicious result. But if you are more comfortable with an exact recipe, here’s one from Food Network and one from Quaker Oats. Bake the apple crisp, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the apples pierce easily when you poke down into the center of the dish.

If giving it as a gift, let your recipient know that Apple Crisp is best served warm with a rich vanilla ice cream. You can reheat the crisp in the microwave (for ok results) or in a 350 degree oven (for much better results, as the topping will crisp up again). Should the topping start to get too dark, simply cover with a bit of foil when warming it up.

1 comment:

  1. AHHHH-mazing!!!!!!! what a clever gal you are:); those teachers are going to live right this year:)


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