It’s slowly becoming common knowledge that I make the best apple crisp on earth. Every year I get more and more people on the apple crisp train, and so therefore every year I make more and more apple crisp. Usually I make them at random for functions and whatnot. This year, after a very long month of working I decided I needed to have a fall gathering to remind myself and all the friends I’d been ignoring that I am, in fact, still alive. And what better centerpiece for a fall party than apple crisp?
At first I thought it would be just a small gathering for a few friends…. that quickly turned into 16 people. It’s a wonderful feeling when you invite a bunch of people over and just about all of them show up. I like to think its me and not the apple crisp, but it’s probably 50/50. Sixteen people means two apple crisps. Accompanying the fall show stopped was warm apple cider with a selection of booze, and a new creation of mine: pumpkin pie spice popcorn.
All I did was pop a big batch of popcorn on the stovetop in a small stockpot. Just buy any brand of loose popcorn kernels and pop according to the package directions – it is super easy, WAY better than microwave, and WAY cheaper. Once popped I tossed the corn with a stick of melted butter, a few pinches of kosher salt, and mixture of 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg, allspice, and clove. Add and toss to taste. It is quite the addictive sweet treat and perfect for accompanying our favorite Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus, starring the Divine Miss M and a very young Sarah Jessica Parker. Hilarious.
For the filling:
10-11 Macintosh or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
¾ cup of granulated sugar (or to taste)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
For the topping:
2 sticks of butter, diced into cubes, very cold
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
¾ cups brown sugar
1 cup of oatmeal
1 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat your oven to 350º
Before you start prepping your apples, dice the butter for the topping, place it into a bowl and stash it in your freezer while you prep the rest.
When getting your apples ready, I usually get the pan I’m going to bake the crisp in and fill it up as I go. Once the pan is full I stop peeling/cutting. The apples will shrink considerably when you bake them, so be sure to heap them over. I use a heavy oval baking dish, but any big baking dish will do. Once your apples are ready, toss them together (either in the baking pan or a large bowl, whatever is easier/less messy) with the sugars and spices. Sift the flour onto the apples and then toss again. Set aside while you prepare the topping.
Place all ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer, turn it to its lowest speed and let it mix until it becomes a bit like wet sand and the butter is down to pea-sized chunks, about 5 minutes. Once it reaches this state, add the pecans, let them combine, then turn off the mixer and spread the topping evenly over the apples. Place the crisp onto a half sheet pan (in case it bubbles over), then put it in the oven and bake for at least 1 hour until the apples are bubbly and the topping is nicely browned. Allow crisp to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving – it will still be warm, but it will allow the filling to set a bit and will be cool enough to eat without scalding yourself. Be sure to serve it with vanilla ice cream!