A beloved, old-fashioned boarding school recipe. The magic is in the cinnamon shortbread-like crisp topping juxtaposed with the soft, applesauce-like fruit.
We had apple crisp every Thursday in boarding school. 132 bowls of crisp later, I’m still not tired of it. Back then, plotting which seat at my assigned dining table would get me a coveted corner scoop of crisp (extra crumble!) was my life goal.
This is the crispiest, most cookie-like topping I’ve ever had in a crisp. Even overnight, the topping stays crunchy. The fruit is tart and tender, the perfect sidekick to the topping. We’re going for a 1:1 ratio here. Best piping hot or very chilled with French vanilla or vanilla bean ice cream.
Adapted from Deerfield Apple Crisp
The original recipe yields an incredibly tender filling, like chunky applesauce. I like to swap a couple of the red apples for a tart and firm green apple variety. The key is to use a mix of apples for better flavor and texture. I usually use 3 different kinds.
From my own recipe testing and confirmed by reader comments, I reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe by 1/4 cup for just the right amount of sweetness.
- Whisk sugars, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix with hands to get rid of any brown sugar lumps.
- Cut butter into equal sized pieces. Add to flour/sugar mixture. Cut in until butter disappears and clumps of the mixture start to form. Don't be afraid to use your hands if you need to. You can also do this in the food processor by pulsing and scraping down several times.
- Refrigerate the crumble mixture.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Peel, core and thickly slice the apples. Add lemon juice, sprinkle with cinnamon, and toss to evenly coat. Transfer to your baking dish. You want to create a high mound, as the apples will reduce significantly when cooked.
- Cover the apples with the crumble mixture, leaving large clumps here and there.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the top is golden brown and the apples are juicy and bubbling. Turn the oven off, crack the door open, and let the crisp sit in the oven for 5-10 more minutes. This will set the apple filling without burning the top.
- Serve hot.
- To reheat, bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.