Sunday, November 29, 2009

Warm Comforts

“Chemistry like apple and cinnamon,
Like apple and cinnamon,
Like apple and cinnamon,
Like apple and cinnamon…”
– Utada Hikaru, “Apple and Cinnamon”, This is the One (2009)


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There are some pairings that are just destined to be together: wine and cheese, chocolate and hazelnuts, and the wonderful combination of apples and cinnamon. There’s something incredibly comforting about this pairing: the tart-sweetness of the apples combined with the warmth of the cinnamon and the sweetness of the brown sugar just screams “comfort food.” And that’s what it certainly is on a cool fall/winter evening.

Apples, cinnamon and brown sugar also make for an easy yet absolutely delicious dessert in the form of an apple crisp. My brother had picked up some lovely baking apples for me a few weeks back, but I hadn’t had time to do anything with them in the last little while. However, I was craving some kind of apple dessert this week. I originally had ambitious plans to make an apple pie or galette on a weeknight, but after getting home and feeling too tired from work, I quickly scrapped that plan. The alternative was a quick and easy apple crisp. You get the satisfaction of warm baked apples without the work and less calories too (swapping the butter/shortening-laced pastry for a healthier oatmeal and nut topping)! Wonderful on its own, with a drizzle of maple syrup for some added sweetness, or with a scoop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

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Apple Crisp
Serves 6

4 to 5 medium to large baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tbsp brown sugar
2 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
Good splash of brandy (optional)

Topping:
1 cup large rolled oats
2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
6 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and brandy. Toss to combine.

Place apples into a 9-by-9-inch baking pan, ensuring that it is evenly spread out.

In another bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Pour in the melted butter and stir until you have a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until topping looks crunchy and apples are tender. Remove from oven and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

To reheat leftover apple crisp the next day, just throw in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

1 comments:

Andrew & (formerly) Bonita December 6, 2009 at 3:42 PM  

Even with those apples being my treat, I suspect I got the better end of the deal with the duck breast dinner and cookies galore.

How were the Northern Spies compared to what you remember of Cortlands? Come to think of it, I've yet to try dishes using the Spies.

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