I am living in apple paradise. How many times have I moved with boxes collected from the local grocery store, only to see “Washington Apples” on the side? Greenbluff, less than 20 minutes from my house, has a great selection of apples. We drove through one of the major Washington apple growing regions, Yakima, a few weeks ago, and saw wooden boxes of apples the size of a small cabin.
I tend to forget how much I like apples. I eat them until about March, or until I can only find apples imported from Chile (I try not to eat food from thousands of miles away, or from other countries if I can help it). I generally move on to strawberries in about March and don’t look back from the fresh fruit glut until September. Then, the new apples start to come in, and I fall in love all over again.
I’ve been making a habit of buying one of every type of apple I see but am not familiar with (not the gala, fuji, delicious and granny smith found at your local mega mart) and trying each one in an effort to discover a new favorite. Unfortunately, five minutes after my purchase, I can’t remember which apple is which, so it’s not doing me much good. But it IS fun.
Our new property came with three apple trees. Two were almost bare this year (one had 5, the other 2), but the third tree was loaded. The one with five is definitely some version of red delicious, identifiable by the five “bumps” on the bottom, an apple I’ve always found quite boring to eat (give me a honeycrisp or a pink lady any day). Don’t know what I will do with them when the tree does produce. I’ve been busy making apple sauce, apple-plum sauce (I also have a LOT of plums), and apple butter from the overload of my mystery apple that breaks down quickly when cooked. Talk about locavore. My kingdom for an apple press. It’s been on my list of wants for years, but the $500 + price tag for a good one always stops me.
What to do with the “one at a time” apple purchases? Make single serving apple crisp, of course. I have inherited an interesting collection of recipes from old boyfriends over the years, including a long simmered spaghetti sauce, supposedly authentic Buffalo New York chicken wings and “Wacky Cake” and “Chicken in Bug Juice” (i.e. cheap wine) from my husband’s Mom. This recipe comes from an ex-boyfriend’s Wisconsin Grandmother, and I have been using it for 20 years. A silver lining if there ever was one.
- 4 cups tart apple slices (I just use whatever I want to try out – it all comes out good, even if they aren’t the best baking apple, and I do not peel my apples. Mixing several varieties makes for a better flavor)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup flour (I use whole wheat to boost the nutrition and make me feel less guilty about the butter)
- 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup (one stick) cold butter (if unsalted, add a pinch of salt to the recipe)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 7 x 11 or large round casserole pan.
Mix all ingredients but oats in a food processor until mix looks like wet sand. Add oats and pulse until mixed but not pulverized. Layer apples in dish and top with crisp mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for the ultimate in indulgence.
I make the topping ahead of time and freeze it in a zip lock bag. I find that the original ratio of apples to crisp is a little heavy on the crisp side for my taste (and waist line). When making a single serving, I slice one apple into a small greased oven proof baking dish, top with a handful of crisp topping, and bake in the toaster oven for about 20 minutes.
Feel free to play with ingredients. Substitute almonds, walnuts or pecans for some or all of the oats. Trade out allspice for nutmeg, or try pumpkin pie spice (generally a mix of cinnamon, ginger and clove) instead. You can’t go wrong.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2010, where it must be officially fall, because the apples are ripe and the house smells like cinnamon.