One of DSO's favorite desserts is apple crisp. I've made it many times, trying a number of different versions. Generally the ingredients for the crumble remain the same; it's the variety of apples and the amount and type of sugar used to enhance them that changes. Frequent fliers to The Food of Love kitchen know that I worship at the shrine of the Barefoot Contessa, so it comes as no surprise that I decided to see what the goddess of good eats had to say about apple crisp. Her first ingredient made me smack myself on the forehead and cry, "Eurkea!" DSO does not like to waste chewing time with his apple crisp and balks at any "bite" to the apple component. When I read Ina's first ingredient--McIntosh apples--I knew I had hit paydirt.
5 lbs McIntosh (or Macoun) apples
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 lb cold, unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9X13 inch baking dish.
Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the prepared dish.
To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle --OR-- do what I did and crumble between your fingers until the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
Place in the oven on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.
Even if I hadn't tasted the crisp myself, I'd have known from DSO's glazed eyes that Ina had scored again. The McIntosh apples with their higher water content broke down beautifully and resulted in a filling that was perfectly soft and sweet and yielding to the bite. To save time I had assembled the entire crisp the night before and popped it into the oven cold an hour before we were ready to eat dessert. It was perfect with some freshly whipped cream and I'm sure would have been even more decadent with a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream. Ina reigns supreme.