It’s been a bumper year for our apple crop.
They’re red, they’re sweet, they’re amassed in autumnal profusion on the limbs of the tree….and I’m not totally sure what to do with them all. They’re quite small, so although they’re nice to eat you can only eat so many apples. Ever made apple crisp or applesauce with tiny apples? You peel one, you slice it – and you have about 4 tiny slices. Repeat many many times. Now you know what carpal tunnel feels like.
The tree is on a corner of the property which is bounded by a hedge. The other day I was out chatting with a neighbour in front of their house which is about half a block away. My back was to my house; my neighbour pointed over my shoulder and said, “Hey! Someone’s stealing your apples!” True enough, a cyclist was leaning over the hedge and helping himself to our bounty. Well, what are you going to do? My feeling is, if someone really wants those apples they are welcome to some. I don’t want them to strip the tree, but a few? No problem. The other day two elderly ladies started into the yard, bag in hand, startling my husband who was taking out the trash. He said, “Can I help you?” They sheepishly admitted they were planning on taking some apples. Justin told them to go ahead, but I noticed him peering out anxiously later to make sure they didn’t take them all.
I did make an apple crisp and took a picture of it unbaked. I forgot to take a picture of the baked article, however.
Oven: 375 degrees, 11 x 7 glass casserole (I doubled this recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 to feed 11, but the original recipe is for a smaller, family-sized crisp.)
- 6-8 large apples or about a million small ones. I like a mixture of apples for texture and flavour. Macintoshes will cook down into applesauce so you can use a couple but I wouldn’t do a completely Macintosh crisp. Jonagolds, Braemars, Royal Galas, Golden Delicious are all good.
- 2/3 – 3/4 c. brown sugar (depends on how sweet your apples are)
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. quick or rolled oats
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 1/3 c. butter, melted
Mix the flour, oats, and spices together. Add the melted butter, stirring with a fork until it becomes a crumbly streusel. It should not be greasy but crumbly. If it seems oily add a bit more flour and stir again until it’s crumbly.
Peel and slice the apples and lay them in your pan. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over top. Don’t pack it down. Bake.
Baking times vary according to the fruit, but the topping should be browned and the fruit should be bubbling round the edges. The glass casserole is instrumental here so you can see what’s going on. When you stick a fork in, the fruit should be soft. Generally a crisp will take 45 minutes to 1 hour. I avoid using a really deep casserole because then it takes forever. If you have no choice, cover the casserole and microwave the fruit for a while until it softens, then add the crisp mixture on top and bake. You can also cook the fruit briefly in a saucepan on the stove, then pour into the casserole dish and bake.
Crisps are good for using up old apples but sometimes those apples can be a bit dry; in that case check about 3/4 of the way into the cooking time. If it seems dry, add about 1/4 c. of water or apple juice.
When it’s not apple season, this is great with blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb (add some sugar in with the rhubarb if you try this or you’ll be sorry) and peach crisp will send you straight to heaven. I like mixtures too; apple-blueberry is good and also peach-blueberry. With peaches and blueberries, some sliced almonds in with the streusel mixture is a nice touch.