Monday, October 18, 2010

Crispin (et. al.) Crisp

I love picking apples.  Seriously.  I love riding in the wagon pulled by a tractor.  I love the way the air smells like apples.  I love the way the apples literally pop off of the tree into your hand when you twist them.  I love that you can give one a quick buff on your shirt and take a bite right then and there.  I love the apple cider doughnuts and local cheese in the little shop next to the orchard.  I even love the picture mail my grumpy friend Joel sends me telling me exactly what he thinks of my apple enthusiasm.

Crispin, Empire, and Northern Spy

To be completely honest, I might love picking apples more than I love eating apples.  That said, I really do enjoy eating, and baking with, fresh New York apples.  Yesterday, I had a lovely time with a new apple recipe, Caramel Apple Crisp from the March 2009 issue of Bon Appetit.

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
10 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Pippin or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 3/4 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
For topping:
Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small moist clumps form. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

For filling:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir sugar and butter in large skillet over medium heat until smooth sauce forms. Add lemon juice and cook, stirring, until caramel is deep brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in salt, then apples. Toss until apples are evenly coated, about 1 minute. Scrape apples and caramel into 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; spread evenly. Sprinkle topping evenly over.
Bake crisp until apples are tender, sauce is bubbling thickly, and topping is golden, about 50 minutes. Let crisp cool 15 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Literate Baker Notes:  I substituted 1/2 cup oats for 1/4 cup of the flour.
I served with vanilla ice cream.
All in all, this was a great recipe.  I like the idea of a deeper flavor with the apples.  I did, however, find the lemon juice to be in competition with the caramel flavor.  Next time, I think I'll skip it and add a few tablespoons of cream instead.  That should make for a more authentic caramel flavor.  

I don't know if apple crisp counts in that whole keeping the doctor away philosophy, but it sure was good.  It also made the backyard squirrels happy--they seem to really like apple peels!

Not composting, but better than nothing!
Now, if I make one more of these and have an apple for lunch every day this week, I just might be able to justify going apple picking once more before the season ends.  Hooray!  Orchard to oven to tummy--a fabulous fall way to...

Keep it sweet.
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