Every time fall comes around the idea of apple pie seems to always creep into our minds. Making a really good pie crust certainly has some complicated obstacles which will be addressed in a later post. For now, apple crumble is an equally exciting easier option. Reheating a large batch of a hot, crispy fruit dessert can become soggy and unappealing no matter how effective you utilize your broiler. So on the plus side, a crumble (or crisp) can easily be made to order using individual ramekin servings to deliver optimal quality without the need to reheat. Both the filling and crumb topping can pre-made and stored in the refrigerator until ready to be used.
European style butter is extremely successful for baking because of its higher fat content and less water. As a result, you can enjoy a richer flavor and lighter texture in your cakes and cookies. Plura or Kerrygold brands are found in many mainstream grocery stores if you shift your eyes away from the butter you are accustomed to buying.
Honeycrisp apples can be hard to find and cost a bit extra, but I constantly praise them for baking due to their high juice content, cider-like sweet flavor, and crisp texture. Instead of turning to mush like many other apple varieties, they are quite sturdy and retain their shape quite nicely. And while many recipes mix in grannysmith apples for a tart edge, I prefer using cranberries to provide that balance.
- 3 Honeycrisp apples
- 1 tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon, divided
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup halved cranberries
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided 1/8tsp + 1/8 tsp
- 4 ounces European style butter, softened at room temperature (not melted)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- Peel and core apples. Cut lengthwise into quarter sections. Cut each section lengthwise into thirds to create 12 sections per apple. Slice each section crosswise into quarters and assemble in a medium bowl. Cut cranberries in half lengthwise.
- Toss apples and cranberries with lemon juice, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Using a pastry cutter, cream butter until lighter in color and texture. Gradually incorporate remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, vanilla, then brown sugar and cream together until consistency is even and resembles wet sand. Work flour, oats and remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt into mixture until dry ingredients are evenly moistened and semi-lumpy with coarse crumbs.
- Fill ramekins or 9×9 inch square pan with apples, making sure to include the juices extracted from the apple mixture sitting at the bottom. Sprinkle crumbs evenly until apples and cranberries are almost fully concealed, making sure not to stir crumbs into the apples.
- If using 9×9 pan, bake 1 hour in a 350 degree oven. If using ramekins, bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes in a toaster oven.
Yield: 10 ramekins