Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apple Almond Crisp

The apples for this crisp (or, as some would have it, "crumble") came from my backyard in Sonoma. I picked them and used them immediately. Talk about local. Talk about fresh. Can't get any better.

7-8 cups firm, peeled, cored tart-sweet apples, cut in 1-inch chunks
Note: 1 apple yields about 1 cup of chunks I’ve found.
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest or zest from 1 lemon, see photos if you need them
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar or a little more to taste
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon or coriander or both
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut in ½-inch pieces
¼ cup chopped candied ginger or dried cranberries
½ cup sliced almonds

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or crème fraiche

1. Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Grease a 2-quart ovenproof glass or earthenware casserole that is at least 2 inches deep.
3. In a large bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. As you peel, quarter and chunk the apples, add them to the bowl and stir so the lemon juice can prevent their turning brown. Taste the apples. Add more lemon juice and/or sugar, as needed, to achieve a nice balanced flavor. Place the apples in the casserole.
4. To make the topping: Stir the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt together. Cut in the butter with a food processor, a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the ginger and the almonds.
5. Cover the apples evenly with the topping and bake for 50-60 minutes until the juices are bubbling and the top has browned. Because the back of the oven is usually hotter than the front in most ovens, it is a good idea to rotate the baking dish once or twice to brown the topping evenly.
6. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraiche.

At least 6 servings
Adapted from Marian Burros’ Cooking for Comfort

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