I write this post sheepishly as I'm embarrassed how long my blogging hiatus has lasted. I have been suffering from various forms of writer's block. Following the end of the school semester, I had high hopes of continuing my super productive daily schedule, bashing out my second thesis chapter and creating for you a culinary extravaganza full of delicious foods to stave off winter chills. Alas, my creative energies have felt somewhat stunted; I have not been able to get one word of academic drivel down, and whatever I have been cooking in my daily life hasn't seemed worthy of sharing with you.
Yesterday I decided it was time to reengage with my highly productive self: I sat down at my computer armed with various books and chapter plans and began to write. And then, armed now with a bag of near-fermented apples, I turned to the kitchen and made this soulful apple crisp, and it felt really good.
Ina Garten's apple crisp is one I make often. Apple crisp isn't much of an Australian thing, I've really only heard it mentioned in American cooking. I'm not exactly sure where the differences between crisp and crumble lie, but I know that Ina's apple crisp is delicious. The citrus peels/juices give it a subtle zing, and the topping is thick and crunchy. This crisp will also give your house that nostalgic almost Christmasy feel, wafting with the scent of cinnamon; I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it!
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten
Approx. 2.3kg Granny Smith apples
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar*
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
230g cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter your baking dish of choice (I made individual crumbles in enamel bakeware this time but have just as often made a mega crumble in a large pie dish).
Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the 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 attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour** until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
*Ina uses 3/4 cup of both sugars - I find this too sweet, but you can adjust the amount according to your taste.
**Because I used smaller baking dishes, I found my crisps only needed about 45 minutes.