Apple crisp is an American take on the traditional British apple crumble – a dessert that involves baking fresh, spiced apples covered with a streusel topping.
The crunchy and crumbly streusel topping is a German invention. In the classic British apple crumble, also popular in Australia and New Zealand, this streusel is often just brown sugar and butter, held together as crumbs with flour. The American apple crisp takes this concept and goes a step further by adding rolled oats.
Although there is a difference between the crisp and crumble, it’s worth noting that the names are often used interchangeably these days. The recipe below is for a typical American apple crisp, as described above, but you can also substitute the apples for other delicious fresh fruits, like pears, summer berries, peaches, and rhubarb.
Before diving head first into the recipe below, it’s worth noting a few tips.
Firstly, choose crisp and tart apples. These will hold their shape and won’t get too wet. Golden Delicious are an excellent choice, but so are Granny Smith, Empire, Honey Crisp, Braeburn, and Cortland apples.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to get creative. There’s no reason you can’t add a little ginger, nutmeg, or other spice of your choice. Dried or candied fruit can also work a treat.
Thirdly, if caramel’s your thing, switch out the granulated sugar for the darkest, brownest stuff you can find.
Apple crisp recipe
6 apples, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
1 cup light brown sugar
¾ cup rolled oats
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into small cubes
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Butter an 8x8 baking dish and set it aside.
In a mixing bowl, Stir together the chopped apples, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and ¾ tsp of the cinnamon. Once combined, transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to the buttered baking dish.
In another mixing bowl, add the oats, brown sugar, flour, salt, cold butter cubes, and the other 1 tsp of cinnamon.
Wash your hands, then use them to combine all the ingredients in the bowl, cutting the butter into the mixture until you have a mixture of thick crumbs (roughly pea-sized).
Sprinkle the topping over the apples in the baking dish as evenly as possible.
Put the baking dish in the oven for 40–50 minutes. It will be ready when the topping is golden brown and the apple mixture is bubbling through any gaps.
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