But don't think I haven't been cooking, or that I haven't been gobbling up the wealth of autumn produce that's making the farmers market just about the coolest place to be, ever. You probably know that I love apples. I mean LOVE apples. Yes, the humble apple is my favorite fruit, and this is the time of year where I stock them by the dozen. My favorite apple is the Macoun, with its white, crisp flesh and apple-y tartness. But, unlike with fresh berries or stone fruits, I love baking with apples, in addition to just eating them straight from farmers market tote. Ah, the apple - so tasty, so versatile, so cheap. Cheap enough that I don't feel bad about using a few pounds of them to make an apple cake or crisp.
Speaking of which, on about Thursday of last week, I had a real craving to make an apple crisp. I was thinking about using my precious Macouns, but really, I just can't bear it - they are so good plain. I asked around in search of a good baking apple, perhaps one I hadn't tried before, and was strongly advised to consider the Mutsu.
I've eaten Mutsus before: they are green and taste like what I think you would get if you crossed a granny smith with a golden delicious with a MacIntosh. Oh, and they're huge. They are the king of apples, and dwarf any other apple that dares to sit itself close by. It didn't take much convincing to use them for my crisp; in addition to coming highly recommended, I reasoned that the surface area to volume ratio of these bad boys would significantly decrease the amount of peeling required, and would thus expedite the whole eating process.
It took 3 big Mutsus (and a rogue Empire that I had lying around) to make an ample crisp. And it was tasty, especially with a guilty dollop of ice cream (guilty for being storebought, not for being ice cream). Indeed, an apple crisp might be the perfect ending to a fall meal, and our fall meal on Sunday night, when I finally got around to making the crisp, was a squash- and yam-laden take on chili. And did I mention breakfast? Leftover crisp makes a pretty good breakfast, too.
Can't-Go-Wrong Apple Crisp
Peel and slice enough apples to fill your baking dish (I like glass for this). Place apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with a good shake or three of cinnamon, about a tablespoon of flour, and a bit of sugar. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the apples, and then stir everything gently to combine. Pour apples into baking dish, adding just enough water or apple cider to cover the bottom of the dish. In the same big bowl, mix a couple handfuls of oats, about half that volume of flour, a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and handful of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add some wheat germ, if you have it. To the dry ingredients, add a splash of apple cider and a couple tablespoons of melted butter. Mix until crumbly, and then pat on top of apples. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, checking after 20 minutes and covering with foil if top is browning too quickly. Apples should be very tender, but should still hold their shape.