08 December 2012

Vegan Viands #3: Apple Crisp

I have an apple problem. Well, it's not a problem in the "uh oh how do we fix this?" sense of the word, it's more like how we use the word to euphemistically explain someone else's addiction. I'm not really even addicted to apples, but I am a bit of an apple snob. I even have a 100% accurate way of picking the most crisp apples in the grocery store.

Honestly, apples are amazing! They are good for you (high in fiber and Vitamin C), delicious, and can be eaten in a variety of ways (from sweet to savory or on their own). Did you know there are over 2000 varieties of apple?! If you want an amazing website about apples, check out OrangePippin, which is named for one of the favorite varieties of apples in the UK, even though the site is world wide. Almost every year we go apple picking at Way Fruit Farm in PA. (They make the most amazing apple cider, too.) If you'd like to go apple picking, here's a good website to check: http://www.pickyourown.org/.

Although most of them are a bit out of season, you can still find some great apples. For example, check out this chart of apples available at a farm about 30 minutes from me. Because I love apples, I decided to make an apple crisp for my minions when they came over earlier this week. Apple crisp is such an easy dessert to make and it's practically vegan from the get-go! Add in some vegan ice cream and you're all set.


Maggie's Apple Crisp
Ingredients
4 c. peeled, cored, and sliced apples (~4 large to ~7 small, see Helpful Hints)
1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. uncooked rolled oats (quick cooking is fine, steel cut is not)
1-3 T. cinnamon
extra flour, white sugar, and cinnamon

Directions
1. After preparing apples, dredge them with a bit of flour, white sugar, and cinnamon (I would guess that I use 1/2 c. flour, 1/4 c. sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, but I have no idea). Wash your hands.

2. Mix all other measured ingredients and combined with a pastry blender or a fork.
3. Add apples to an 8x8 casserole pan, layer other mixture on top.
4. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes, or until it can be pierced easily with a fork. Let rest briefly, then serve with ice cream.

Helpful Hints
  • I'm going to let you in on a secret. Here's the key to making a delicious apple dessert - do NOT use all the same variety of apple. Every time I make a pie or a crisp, I use at least three varieties of apple. Using different varieties increases the flavor quotient (all apples taste slightly different), but more importantly, it increases textural complexity. Some apples stay crisp when baked, some get soft but retain their shape, some essentially turn in to apple sauce. Using more than one variety makes apple desserts amazing. I almost always include Braeburn apples in a crisp, just because they are quirky and fun. I also almost always include at least one Granny Smith in a pie (nice and tart!). 
  • This can be frozen before baking! It's AWESOME!! In fact, most years we buy a bag of apples as big as my torso to make and freeze crisps and pies. To freeze them, I usually split this recipe in two and put it into two foil loaf pans. Then, wrap each pan in plastic wrap and foil (we've eaten well-wrapped ones up to 10 months later). The loaf pan size is perfect for four adults. To bake from its frozen state, just unwrap and put it in the oven. I generally cook the frozen ones at 350 for a bit longer. 
  • When we lived in PA, we'd often have an apple crisp making party, which was pretty much an assembly line. We would always leave a couple of crisps in the freezer for The Bests, too. 
  • If you plan to make a lot of these (or just to make your life easier), buy an apple peeler/corer/slicer. Not all varieties will peel the same on here, but it's a huge time-saver. 
  • If you don't use all the topping, save it in the fridge and then bake it on its own. It makes a great topping for ice cream!

2 comments:

  1. Hey Maggie, love your blog. Although I'm not vegan, its nice to have some recipes on hand that don't include meat. We eat meat but are trying to reduce our consumption but need to do it the "right" way, esp with two growing kids. We have a few veggie cookbooks (Moosewood) that I like but its nice to see your recipes/blog pop up on facebook from time to time. Thanks! Also, what's your secret to picking perfect apples at the grocer?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Emma! First, thanks for reading and I'm so glad you enjoy it! The Moosewood cookbooks are great; I'm jealous, as I don't have any. Even though they aren't completely vegan, the one's I've seen have amazing recipes in them.

      As for picking an apple, here's how: pick up an apple and gently flick it with a finger (or thump it with your thumb). The higher the pitch of the apple, the crisper it is. You'll look a little silly, but it really does work. Keep in mind that colder apples will always sound higher, which only matters if they've just put out new apples.

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