And that's no small feat! We won't talk about which birthday I just celebrated, but my 5 year old son tells me I'm still cute, so that helps. A lot, hehe.
This is the kind of apple crisp I remember having as a kid. My mom never made it until I was older--she didn't really like to bake much, but it's the kind you find in a good diner or mom and pop restaurant. Not that we ate in diners a lot, but there was always something special about having apple crisp back then since we never had it at home. It's nice and oaty and crumbly on top, and underneath--nice, sweet, cinnamon kissed apples.
Every year we go to Gould Hill Orchard in Contoocook, NH. (Sounds like Con-took-cook.) It's a family run farm that's 225 years old, and they have over 85 unique varieties of apples, not to mention gorgeous views of the area. They also make their own apple cider that is so refreshing.
We were there in late September, and got a peck of mixed apples including Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Macoun, Paula Red, Swiss Gourmet, Porter--and of course, Cortlands. So I have no clue which apples were used in this apple crisp. For a complete list of varieties and when they're available at Gould's, check out the site. And if you're in the area, I urge you to check out their farm--it's beautiful and peaceful. And you just can't beat the views. If you're bringing kids with you, they have a nature museum in the barn. There's so much to see there, and they have activities and prizes for the kids. We go all over the place with our kids, and inevitably, someone is always bored. ugh. I was floored when we visited their museum, because every single one of my kids--5, 8, 11 and 13--found something to do there that interested them. We spent a good 90 minutes just hanging out there and learning new things. It's run by a dedicated and very approachable former teacher and some wonderful volunteers who loves to share their knowledge with kids and adults alike.
Here are a bunch more pictures I took at Gould's Orchard, because it seems a waste to just let them sit there on my hard drive, never to see the light of day.
Now for the apple crisp! I combined two recipes to make this one. Some of you may remember my ugly, yet so delicious apple pie. I knew I wanted a lot of cinnamon in this crisp, so I immediately went for that filling, from Ann Hodgman in her Beat This! cookbook. That one and Beat That! are two of my favorite cookbooks. Ann has a great sense of humor, and these two books are fun to read cover to cover. I adapted her apple pie filling and her apple crisp topping to come up with this one.
I used 12 apples and got a good sized 9x13 pan full of apples. And by the way, if you make a lot of apple desserts, or even if you make one apple dessert a year that takes 12 apples, you should invest in one of these Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer gadgets. Mine isn't from Pampered chef, but if you're going to get one, get one that clamps on to your counter like that one, not the kind with the pencil sharpener suction cup that never works. You put your apple on the torturous looking prongs, turn the crank, and in seconds, your apple is peeled, cored, and sliced into a long spiral. Run a knife down through the apple after removing it, and you've got perfect apple slices. It's such a timesaver!
So between the topping and filling, there's 5 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Yes, really! Noooo, it's not too much--and don't be tempted to cut back the nutmeg, either. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but not in this. Really! And if I'd thought ahead, I'd have had some fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, anything like that. But no, didn't have any. Damn. Ah well, it was good, just the same. And even better the next day, and the next day...
Cinnamon Overload Apple Crisp
Adapted from Beat This!
1 cup flour
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
12 cups (about 12 apples) of your favorite baking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (see how that gadget would come in handy here?)
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 TBSP unsalted butter
Heat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry topping ingredients. Add the melted butter, stir until crumbly, and set aside.
Put the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. In a smaller bowl, combine the remaining filling ingredients, mixing the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly.
Stir the spice mixture into the apples and combine the two, then pour the apples into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Pat the topping over the apples and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.