Eat Your Heart Out: Apple crisp

Like me, my mom often uses recipes from our family when baking. The act of recreating a recipe that others have written down makes you feel like you’re transported back to an earlier, more nostalgic time in life. Part of the fun of baking, however, is to experiment with your ingredients and to tackle your dish without guidance. That’s what my mom did when she created this recipe for apple crisp. On a whim one autumn day, she decided to try her hand at improving this festive dessert, and although I’m probably biased, I would say that she succeeded. What makes this recipe so special, though, is the sense of pride that my mom has whenever she hears that I’m making it for my friends. In a way, baking for my friends preserves my family’s tradition of sharing recipes we’ve created with those closest to us. Although I have yet to create a recipe of my own, I look forward to the day when my work can be carried on in a similar way.

To make this autumn mainstay, start by peeling eight apples. Personally, I choose to use four gala and four honeycrisp apples. I find that using harder apples like these, rather than mealier apples, tends to lead to desserts with more body, but the choice is yours. Once they are peeled, cut them in half, cut out the core and slice them evenly. Once complete, pour the apple slices into a greased 9-by-14-inch baking pan and set them aside for now. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, 1/4 cup of plain sugar, 4 teaspoons of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of flour. Warning: the next couple steps can get quite messy. Mix the ingredients together with your hands and pour the mixture over the apples. Using your hands again, combine the apples with the dry ingredients, ensuring that each slice is evenly covered.

Now all your apples need before going in the oven is the crumble that goes on top. To make this, combine 1 1/4 cup of flour with 1 1/4 cup of oats, 2/3 cup of light brown sugar, 2/3 cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 10 tablespoons of cold butter. Mixing these ingredients together will take some time and will be a bit disorderly. Since the butter is cold, you will need to use your hands to incorporate it. The butter will probably stick to your fingers but just keep squeezing it into the rest of the ingredients until the crumble has a consistent texture throughout. Now just pour it over the top of the apples, ensuring that it is evenly distributed. Make sure the two parts of the crisp remain distinct layers, otherwise the crumble could get soggy. Place the baking pan into the oven at 350 F for 45 minutes and you’ll have yourself a classic autumnal dish. Happy baking!

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