Fruit desserts are always a hit with me. I always feel a little better about having a dessert that has fruit in it. It feels less wrong. And I've always thought that I liked apple crisp. Then I read an article from Cook's Illustrated about improving standard apple crisp. I thought it was silly. Apple crisp is already good! But the folks up at Cook's Illustrated seem to know what they're doing, and I had a bag of apples that needed to be used so I thought I would give this new recipe a try. They were right. This recipe has a few extra steps, but it makes every other apple crisp I have made seem like mushy apple junk. Here are the few extra steps that will take standard apple crisp to best ever apple crisp!
First, simmer 1 cup of apple cider and let it reduce until there is only 1/2 cup left. This concentrates the apple flavor.
This recipe instructs you to simmer the apple cider and saute the apples in an ovenproof skillet, then add the topping over the apples and bake right in the skillet. If you don't have an ovenproof skillet just transfer the apples to an ovenproof dish after mixing with the cider. Then cover with topping and bake as directed.
If you've never been a big fan of apple crisp but want to give it another try, this is the recipe for you! I recommend serving warm. And it is divine with a scoop of ice cream! If you are anything like me, you will probably eat more of this than you intended to. But at least it has fruit!
Best Ever Apple Crisp
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup pecans, chopped fine
3/4 cup oats (can use old-fashioned or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" thick wedges (suggested apple varieties: Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, or Braeburn)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup apple cider
2 tsp juice from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
For the topping: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, pecans, oats, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Stir in butter until mixture is thoroughly moistened and crumbly. Set aside while preparing fruit filling.
For the filling: Toss apples, sugar, and cinnamon together in large bowl; set aside.
Bring cider to simmer in 12 inch oven safe skillet over medium heat; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.
Transfer reduced apple cider to bowl or liquid measuring cup; stir in lemon juice and set aside.
Heat butter in now empty skillet over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add apple mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until apples begin to soften and become translucent, 12-14 minutes. Do not fully cook apples. Remove pan from heat and gently stir in cider mixture until apples are coated.
Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit, breaking up any large chunks. Place skillet on baking sheet and bake until fruit is tender and topping is deep golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm, at least 15 minutes, and serve.
Recipe from Cook's Illustrated, Sept/Oct 2010