Working at a café, I often talk about the weather. So, I am well informed that it has been chilly for the past week or so. Although many in our community are saddened by the cool air-perhaps because of the horribly, unnaturally frigid winter we had last year-I, and my family, are embracing it. Good morning crisp, fresh air! Hello thick, cozy sweaters! Welcome autumn. We have been waiting for you. Thank you for bringing the beautiful bright colors and delicious harvests.
We celebrated autumn with a trip to the local apple orchard. My childhood apple orchard memories involve hot apple cider, donuts, corn mazes and crowds. Our local apple orchard is not one of these places. This apple orchard is the most low-key orchard I have ever visited. The family is so very friendly. You pay for a bag, they kindly show you how to use the apple picker, they tell you where to find different types of apples, and they let you loose into the orchard. There is no apple cider or food, just friendly people, apple trees and beautiful apples that fit into the palm of your hand. There is not a lot better than tree ripened fruit.
Apple crisp is a dish that I am not accustomed to. I have always been a pie lover for both the filling and the crust. That being said, in my mind, this is equivalent to apple pie in taste. Apple crisp is the relaxed cousin of apple pie. It is warm, delicious, and sweet (and sour, depending on the apples you use). But instead of being concerned with pie dough you may just dump all of your lovely apples coated in butter and sugar with a squirt of lemon into a pie dish and cover them with an oatmeal mixture that becomes a sweet crispy topping for your glorious apples. This is so very tasty and easy. Visit your local orchard and create something delicious… it’s hard not to with such quality apples.
Apple Orchard Crisp
¾ cup flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
8 tbls (1 stick) cold butter cut into small cubes
1 cup rolled oats
10 small apples cut into wedges
1 tbls lemon juice
A few grates of lemon zest
½ tsp cinnamon – add more if you love cinnamon!
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
Oven set at 400 degrees.
Mix the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter. I used a couple knives to do this but you should use a hand blender if you have one. It should end up coarse and well mixed. Add in the oats and use your hands to mix. Squeeze it so that clumps form. Put the bowl into the freezer while you work on the apples.
Toss the apple wedges with lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, and sugar.
Shift the mixture into your pan (whether it is a pie tray or casserole dish). Top the apples with the oatmeal mixture so that it is covered. Place the dish on the center rack and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve while warm. But I can tell you from experience that it is delicious at room temp as well.
Reading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. Here it is in pdf form, but it should really be on your bookshelf.
Enjoying the sound of rain.