Sunday, January 18, 2009

Apple Carmel Crisp

I went over to a friend's house for dinner on Saturday night, and in exchange for being able to play with their kids, I brought dessert. I had been thinking about making Apple Crostata, but decided that I didn't want to deal with making the crust. I decided on making Apple Crisp instead. I was debating about putting dried cranberries in it, but was vetoed by Matt with an emphatic "What would you ruin good apple crisp with cranberries?!?" To make it a little more special I made caramel sauce and drizzled that over the crisp topping. I adapted an Apple Crisp recipe from my most used cookbook, Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties. I used a recipe from The Simple Art of Perfect Baking for the caramel. I received the baking book from the chef I used to work for. I highly recommend it for unusual dessert pairings (this summer my goal is to make her melon tart with lime curd), and great instructions for baking.

Apple Crisp
5 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3/4 c. flour
Scant 1/2 c granulated sugar
Scant 1/2 c light brown sugar, packed (I used Sugar in the Raw because I was out of brown sugar)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c oatmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced (Once it's cut, place in freezer while preparing the rest of the recipe)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10 inch oval baking dish. Combine the apples with the zest, juice, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.

When the apples are mixed in with the spices they should look like this.
To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an food processor with a steel blade (can also be done in a stand mixer or by hand). Pulse until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. It should looks like the picture below. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan covered with a piece of parchment paper and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Make sure to use the baking sheet with parchment paper to catch any spills before you have sugar all over the bottom of your oven.

Caramel Sauce
1/4 c water
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/3 c heavy cream

In a pot, at least 1-quart sized, with a heavy bottom, pour the water and the sugar. Swirl the pot to combine the ingredients. Place over low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is melted. When the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring, and raise the heat to medium high. Dip a pastry brush into a glass of water to wash down any crystals of sugar that form on the side of the pot while the sugar solution cooks. Swirl occasionally to make sure the sugar cooks evenly. Boil under amber colored. Be patient, it can take almost 15 minutes, but once it starts to brown it gets dark quickly. Check for desired color by placing a small amount on a white paper towel.
Just beginning to bubble.

Finally seeing some color.
Two minutes later.
After adding the cream.
Stages of caramel colors on a paper towel.

Once it's the desired color, remove from heat. Pour in the heavy cream all in once (it will bubble violently but if you use a big enough pot you'll be fine) and stir till well combined. Set aside to cool. Once cool, but before it gets too hard (appx. 10 minutes) drizzle half over the crisp. Reserve the remainder for candies or serving over ice cream later.

I baked the crisp for an hour, and then drizzled the caramel sauce over it. We reheated it for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven and served with vanilla ice cream.

Make sure to clean everything after making the caramel as soon as the items are cool enough to handle, otherwise you might as well throw them away. Because this caramel has cream it will be a little softer, but still a pain in the arse to clean up.


Jess said...


Cat said...

I appreciate your use of the word "Arse"

Anonymous said...

Matt loses serious New England street cred for disrespecting the mighty cranberry.

That said, it *was* delicious.