I’ve been making apple crisp with my family for as long as I can remember. I’m not super huge on apple pie; I’ve never been able to truly master a crust, and frankly, I can’t wait that long to eat something that smells so good coming out of an oven.
But for all my life, I’ve called similar recipes a Brown Betty. Further internet research reveals to me that a Brown Betty is a fruit dessert with an upper crust made of bread. A cobbler is a fruit dessert with an upper crust made of dumpling batter. But this is a crisp: a fruit dessert with an upper crust made with sweetened oatmeal.
I nicked my recipe from The Joy of Baking. The recipe I always used as a kid was from a 1970s vegetarian cookbook my mom has– I forget the title right now! But this one is very, very similar.
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh or ground nutmeg(optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans
- 2 1/2 pounds (1.2 kg) or 6 cups Granny Smith Apples or other firm, tart-tasting apple (peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) whitegranulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a cooking spray, a casserole or baking dish.
For Topping: Place all the topping ingredients (flour, sugars, spices, butter, oats and nuts) in a food processor and process until the mixture is crumbly (looks like coarse meal) and there are no large pieces of butter visible. (This can also be done with two knives or your fingertips.) Set aside while you prepare the filling.
For Filling:Place the apple chunks in a large bowl, along with the berries (if using) and lemon zest. Toss with the lemon juice and sugar. Transfer to your prepared baking dish Spread the topping evenly over the apples.
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes (20 – 25 minutes for individual ramekins) or until bubbly, and the topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat before serving.