The American Fruit Dessert Chronicles: Apple Crisp

I am an unabashed chauvinist when it comes to desserts: we Americans have the very best desserts in the world. Sure, other countries have their moments to shine, with clafoutis, sticky toffee pudding, vareniki or daan taat, but when it comes to fruit-based desserts, there is no one to touch us.

As we head into the last weeks of summer fruit and the beginning of fall fruit, as the weather turns a little bit cooler, my thoughts go up to Oak Glen and the apple orchards there. We go every year, and I bring back dozens of pounds of apples.

Some of them go into pie, some into apple sauce, and some get shoved unceremoniously into pork roasts, but I always make an apple crisp.


2 1/2 pounds tart apples
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour, divided
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. freshly ground allspice
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 pinches salt


1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and butter a 9″x9″ baking pan

2. Core the apples and cut them, unpeeled, into chunks about 3/4 inch on a side. Don't be exact.

3. Mix the apples with 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, the vinegar and a pinch of salt, and spread into the pan.

4. Combine the remaining flour, remaining sugar, oats, remaining pinch of salt, nutmeg and allspice in a large bowl.

5. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the dry mixture until the flour begins to look like wet sand and the butter is in pea-sized nubs.

6. Spread the flour mixture evenly over the apples. Do not pat it down, but tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle it.

7. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is crisp. Let cool partially before serving with freshly-whipped cream or ice cream.

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