Woah. That was a really long hiatus, wasn't it? A couple of interesting things happened while I was away. Mum was away visiting my sister for a few weeks, and I had to do a little fending for myself. The biggest take away from that experience was that Dijon mustard and pasta are best friends. Dijon mustard and vegetables are best friends. Dijon mustard and pretty much everything lurking in your fridge are best friends. Why has it taken me so long to discover that? It feels like a moral imperative to write about it and inform those who haven't seen the light yet, which is why I have spent an entire paragraph on it even though the recipe I'm sharing today has nothing to do with mustard.
Right. Which brings me to the order of business for the day: apple crisp. The first time I made apple crisp was as a sophomore in college when I hadn't learned to peel an apple yet. I have no memory of how it turned out, except that I was quite distressed at how long it takes apples to be peeled. But I made it again when I was home for the summer, and when I moved to Delhi and started cooking in earnest, it became my favourite Sunday breakfast (!!!)
It's that time of the year when the house is full and the kitchen runneth over, so I've been trying to stay out of the kitchen and everyone's way as much as possible. But one day, my niece Aaliyah and I were discussing cafeteria food and she happened to mention that she loves the apple crisp they get for dessert in school. Of course, I had to show off my apple crisp-making skills, and although I'm not sure how impressed she was, both the batches I made have been wiped clean. I'll take that as a sign.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn't really matter what sort of cooking apples you use- you could use green or red; just make sure you use the juiciest apples you can find. I tend to make it with green because I like that slight tartness that comes with it, but I've used red with excellent results as well. On occasion, as you can see from the pictures, I've also made it using a combination of both simply because that's what I've had on hand.
I've picked my favourite parts from a Nigel Slater recipe for apple crumble as well as a Williams-Sonoma one for apple crisp. If you're pressed for time, you can skip the step where you caramelize the apples, and instead simply toss it with the sugar instead. BUT if you do have 10 minutes to spare, I urge you to not skip this step. Not only is your filling caramely-ier and gooier for it, the apple-y, toffee smell that fills the kitchen is more than worth the extra effort.
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection: Fruit Dessert & Nigel Slater's Ripe
For the topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats
100 g butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the filling:
750 g cooking apples, (red or green) cut into chunks of about 3/4 inch
2 tsp lime juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
30 g butter
Rub the apples with lime juice to preventing oxidation. Add the sugar and mix well.
Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. When it starts to sizzle, tip in the apples and sugar.
Without moving it around too much, let the apples caramelize. This should take anywhere between 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, add the oats, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Gently rub the butter into the mixture, until it becomes crumbly.
When the apples have caramelized, tip them into a large baking dish along with the pan juices.
Sprinkle the apples with the topping and bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 45-50 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.