It’s October. Technically fall. Apples and pears are in abundance at the grocery stores and farmers’ markets. And yet it’s still 90 degrees outside in my town. Oy vey, times a thousand. It’s supposed to drop down into the 70s this week, so we’ll be able to think about soup and hearty meals for about fifteen minutes, but this terrifyingly hot and dry summer has got my sense of the seasons all out of whack.
That didn’t stop me from making an apple crisp, though. Sure, apples and oats and cinnamon and brown sugar scream sweater weather, but these were organic fujis (ENORMOUS) on sale at the grocery store (kind of ironic that just this morning I got up on my high horse about cheap food; on one hand, I think it devalues food in our minds, but on the other hand, I like the idea of affordable organics for people who have less money to spend on food). I got a little over three pounds (about five apples) and let them sit on the counter for a few days before deciding what to do with them. I was thinking about apple butter for Christmas gifts because I really want to emphasize handmade gifts this year (that and books). But I am really, really busy right now and decided to go with something that would take an hour and would require as few dishes as possible.
I would also like to point out that the dish of apple crisp in this picture rests on top of my completed (!!!!!) dissertation. That doesn’t mean that I will stop talking about my project here, because its roots run deep and the ideas within it reach to many corners of food culture. But for now, I am enjoying the sense of pride and liberation at having reached this particular milestone. I hope to get my defense on the calendar for sometime before Thanksgiving.
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
5 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
juice of two lemons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dark brown sugar (I like the deeper, earthier taste of dark brown sugar)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used McCormick’s roasted Saigon cinnamon, but they did not sponsor this post)
1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds
1/2 cup unsalted butter (that’s one stick, y’all)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and vanilla (be aware of any lemon seeds that splurch into the bowl).
In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and almonds. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter and mix until blended.
Place the apples in a casserole dish (I used a gigantic 11×15 dish, but a 9×13 would work here, too) and sprinkle the oat mixture evenly on top.
Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream (or go crazy and top it with one of those seasonal flavors, like pumpkin. I bet a chai-spiced ice cream would be good with this, too).
(I hesitate to designate this recipe as gluten-free, since rolled oats are a controversial ingredient when it comes to gluten contamination, but if you’ve got certified GF oats, you are good to go with this recipe.)