Do you ever open up a cookbook, follow a scone or biscuit recipe exactly, and when the time comes to pull your masterpiece out of the oven, you find that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong? I just did this recently with a pie crust. I’m still trying to find the perfect one. A few pieces fell to the bottom of the oven, the whole place smoked liked it was time for a firefighter to come rescue Gus, and the result was a par-baked crust that ended up tasting like a campfire. Really. To paraphrase Jaws: We’re going to need a bigger garbage can. Except, of course, I ate it…come on, the pie was already assembled. The custard was so good. That sad and lonely pie just wanted to be eaten. So I did. Begrudgingly. Sometimes recipes are like that. You follow it perfectly and end up wondering how flammable your house is.
But then, the sun clears, the blue birds chirp, and you find a baker whose recipes always seem to be like a song from The Sound of Music. Sometimes when you want to make something really special or indulgent, this is the baker whose cookbooks you turn to. You know this person’s recipes will always turn out delicious, and hopefully, the directions don’t give you stress-related stomach pains. Personally, Ina Garten has never steered me wrong. From her Outrageous Brownies (oh yes, I’ll have to put those on her soon), to her delicious cheesecake, every recipe of hers seems to come out perfect for me. So I thought it was about time I whip our her apple crisp recipe and introduce you. Because I really think you’ll want to meet.
The perfect crumble topping, apples that aren’t completely mush, and just a little zing of citrus. How could you go wrong? It’s simple and elegant, and here at Pie and the Boys we are nothing if not simple and elegant, no? Exhibit A:
Ok, ok, maybe we need a little work. I better go find an Audrey Hepburn cape coat to drape around myself. That’ll be a good start. Enjoy!
- 5 pounds apples (She says McIntosh or Macoun, but I personally use Honeycrisp)
- The zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (Remember if you use a tart apple you may want to cut down on the zest)
- 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1½ cups flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x14 oval baking dish (I've used a 9x13 pan many times with great results. You just have to watch the baking time a bit more).
- Peel your apples, remove the cores, and cut them into wedges.
- Quickly combine the apples with the zests and juices so they don't brown.
- Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the apples.
- Pour your apples into the baking dish and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, make the topping by combining the flour, sugars, salt, and oats. Cut in the cold butter and mix until you have a coarse, crumbly sand mixture. Look for about pea-sized butter pieces.
- Pour the crumble topping evenly over the apples.
- To make sure that the nothing bubbles over, put the apple pan under a sheet pan to catch drips.
- Bake for an hour.
- You should probably serve with ice cream. I personally love it with maple nut.