Antonis Achilleos
Active Time
30 MIN
Total Time
1 HR 10 MIN
Yield
Serves : 4 to 6

There are few things better (or easier) than a fruit crisp. It’s extremely hard to mess it up—even if you aren’t a baker. In many ways, it’s more like cooking than baking; you can riff a little on the recipe based on what’s in season or what you have in your pantry.

For the filling, you can try different apple varieties, substitute pears for all or half of the apples, or even throw some berries into the mix. Come summer, you can swap in peaches or nectarines and still use the same topping. You could also try subbing up to half of the flour in the topping with whole-wheat, buckwheat, or any flour you choose. Crisps are a choose-your-own-adventure cooking experience, and there’s lots of fun to be had along the way.

Personally, I find the topping easier and quicker to put together in the food processor, but you can totally do it by hand. Just a heads up—it will take a bit longer to get to that perfect no-longer-dry-and-crumbly-but-just-starting-to clump-together stage, which is what you’re looking for in this crisp topping. If you do decide to tackle the topping by hand, cut the butter into thin slices so it’s easier to squeeze through your fingers, and just keep squeezing the butter and flour mixture with your fingertips until it’s perfectly crumbly-clumpy. Double the recipe and keep half in the freezer for impromptu crisps or to sprinkle on top of a baked apple.

I love the oohs and aahs I get from my guests when I serve something humble and simple like this crisp. It’s a fabulous dessert to take to a party; just let it cool enough to set up so everything stays put on the journey! It’s a homey and fulfilling way to end any meal, or honestly as a meal (breakfast). Candied ginger in the topping adds a satisfying chew and a zingy bright flavor that leaves you wanting one more bite.

How to Make It

Step 1    Make the topping

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pulse flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and baking powder in a food processor until combined, about 2 times. Add butter, and process until flour mixture goes past the crumbly stage and starts to clump together and look moist, about 30 seconds. Add oats, and pulse to combine, about 3 times. Transfer to a medium bowl, break up any large clumps, and chill, covered, until ready to use.

Step 2    Make the filling

Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add butter, and melt until sizzling. Stir in sugar to moisten in spots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is a deep amber color, about 5 minutes. Add apples (the pan is going to be overflowing, but they will cook down quickly), lemon juice, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until apples have softened and liquid is slightly reduced, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in flour and apple brandy until combined. Scatter oat topping evenly over apple mixture, and top evenly with ginger candy. Bake in preheated oven until oat topping is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Spoon into bowls, and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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