From time to time I get a distinct craving for apple desserts. Usually, it hits me hard on a cold, windy day in autumn, when apples are at their peak. Oddly enough, although the weather was quite summer-like this past weekend, I heard the siren song of apples, cinnamon and brown sugar calling my name. And I've always been a sucker for music.
I turned to Anna Olson's Another Cup of Sugar for inspiration, and found her lovely recipe for Apple Crumble. This recipe is very straightforward, but does require some time to allow the crumble topping to chill, and to peel, core and dice all of the apples needed.
The thing I particularly enjoy about a crumble recipe as opposed to a pie or crisp, is that the topping is not too rich and not too rustic. Instead, it's fairly similar to a cookie dough and compliments the apples nicely. Of course, the apples are the star of the show, so be sure to use an apple that maintains its firmness and is a bit tart. You can use Granny Smith or Spy, but I prefer McIntosh apples.
I've made a few alterations to Anna's original recipe, but nothing too drastic. The simplicity and ruggedness of this dish make it a perfect fall dessert or anytime when you desire a hearty, fulfilling dessert with a bit of richness and a tart ending. Just don't forget the ice cream!
Baked and bubbling, fresh out of the oven:
See those dark brown spots? That's the apple filling and brown sugar barely contained beneath the crumble topping:
Don't leave your crumble naked! Grab a big spoon and scoop some vanilla ice cream on top!:
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1. In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg until well combined.
4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and combine until just blended.
5. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill while preparing the fruit.
10 cups peeled and diced McIntosh apples
2 tbsps. lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsps. brown sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Toss diced apples with lemon juice and then stir in sugar and cinnamon until the apples are well coated.
3. Bake fruit for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven.
4. Remove dough from the refrigerator and loosely "crumble" pieces of the dough and sprinkle over the apples. Sprinkle the top with the brown sugar.
5. Return casserole to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the crumble is a rich golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
6. Serve warm with ice cream.