I made this delectable crisp a little bit over a month ago when I was still basking in the remnants of Autumn. Oh Autumn, how I already miss you. Why am I always in full mood for a specific season after it has already past by? Baking apples and pears, being able to get away with only wearing a heavy sweater, taking pictures of the reds, golds, and yellows of the trees set against angry cadet blue skies...I want that to come back again. I was just getting warmed up to relish all that is Autumn when suddenly all the trees were bare and the ground was frozen and the Holidays sprung up like an annoying friend who calls at inappropriate times and never quite knows when it's time to end a conversation.
I guess I have been in denial. I do like the coziness of a fluffy, snowfall and it's pristine beauty but I feel like I was short changed as far as Autumn is concerned. It never lasts long enough, and for that matter neither does Spring. As I was going through some pictures on my camera I found these bars and they made me long for slightly warmer weather and for another round of apples drenched in caramel and buttery crumble.
I suppose these can be made anytime of year and they would be a nice dessert to serve if you have some friends visiting for a casual lunch or dinner. My apples of choice are almost always Pink Ladys followed by Honeycrisps. Granny Smiths are perfect in apple pies but I prefer the nice balance of tart and sweet which the Ladies and crisps offer when it comes to bars and cobblers. The caramel and apples were just the right accomplices to the heaping clumps of buttery streusel which surrounded them. If it isn't too cold, I suggest enjoying this with a generous scoop of natural vanilla bean ice cream and homemade whipped cream topping. There is a long way to go still before you have to worry about bikini season!
- 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
- 10 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. of sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. of ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp. of ground nutmeg
- 10 Tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) of butter. Cold and cut into tiny pieces
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, diced
- 2 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 6 Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apples (about 2 3/4 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored (use your favourite)
Method: Prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Toss in the pieces of butter and, using your fingertips, rub it into the dry ingredients until small clumps the size of peas and oatmeal form. Don't worry about having uniform sizes, just be sure the butter is dispersed evenly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This step can be done a day ahead.
Prepare the filling: Preheat the oven to 375F and have an ungreased 9x13x2 inch glass baking dish at the ready. Place the sugar and butter into a large skillet and stir over medium heat until a smooth sauce forms. Add the lemon juice and continue to cook, stirring until the caramel is a medium to deep brown. It may take 5 minutes but mine took about 10 so just keep a close watch on the colour. You will be baking this so err on the side of caution and don't burn the caramel. Add the salt and apples and toss until they are evenly coated with caramel. Scrape the apples and caramel into the baking dish. Spread them around in an even layer. Sprinkle with the chilled topping.
Bake the crisp for about 50 minutes or until the apples are tender (test carefully by piercing with a fork). The sauce will thicken and the topping should be golden. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving. This is excellent the next day as long as it stays well covered.