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The temperature has been up and down but we have had some frosts, and even a hint of snow. Preparing for winter for us this year means stacking wood, getting organized inside and out, a bit of late-season planting, securing an unfinished building here, and more. The leaves are mostly down; clear days and nights and also heavy rains, winds. A couple leaves are still hanging on! A few flower stragglers are still around, too. We’re seeing some birds moving around the trees—they are very quiet. A handful of mourning doves were hanging out in our currently very muddy field yesterday.
The week before Halloween we went apple picking. We picked three varieties: Empire, Esopus Spitz (an heirloom variety), and Golden Russet (also an heirloom variety). It was beautiful day, the apples were tasty.
I used the apples to make Apple Crisp - a recipe from The Joy of Cooking. I also made a cinnamon loaf at the same time—because why not! Both were delicious. Recipes are below. Subscribe now for upcoming newsletters & please share!
This crisp is easy to make and a great way to bake with apples, requiring only a handful of other ingredients! Local, in-season apples are the best. If your kitchen is cool enough, you can let the crisp sit for a little while once it’s prepped before you bake it—if you’re prepping other things, for example. And, again, it’s a super easy recipe. Two great reasons this crisp is great around the holidays! I find making the streusel topping in the food processor gives the ideal consistency, but you don’t have to use a food processor. The essential thing is to use cold butter to make the streusel. I also used the maximum amount of cinnamon and included the optional nutmeg that the original recipe called for because—fall! The Joy of Cooking also suggests treating peaches, rhubarb, or cherries in the following way to make other kinds of fruit crisps!
8 medium apples (about 2 1/2 pounds) —> I wound up using 2 large Esopus Spitz, 2 small Empire, and 2 medium-large Golden Russet apples (you basically need enough to fill the baking dish)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white or packed brown sugar —> I used 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1. Prep the apples. Preheat oven to 375F. Peel, core, and chop the apples into 1-inch chunks. It’s OK if you don’t get every bit of apple skin when you’re peeling. Spread the apple pieces evenly in an unbuttered 2-inch-deep 2-quart baking dish. I made sure to distribute all three types of apples I used around the dish.
2. Make the streusel. Add the dry ingredients—flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg—to a food processor; add the cubes of cold butter. Blitz for several seconds at a time until the streusel comes together but is still crumbly, checking the consistency as you go. The consistency should resemble coarse breadcrumbs, with maybe a few larger chunks; you don’t want to blend the butter too thoroughly. —> If you don’t have a food processor or don’t want to use one, you can also use a pastry blender or two knives to combine the dry ingredients and butter to create the streusel.
3. Bake. Scatter the streusel topping evenly over the chopped apples in the baking dish. Bake until the top is golden brown, the crisp is bubbling, and the apples are tender—about 50 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold—with ice cream, yogurt, granola, etc.!
Recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking.
I was also seasonally inspired to try this vegan cinnamon loaf by Liv B, complete with cinnamon swirl and streusel topping—so I made it at the same time I made the crisp using a lot of the same ingredients and had a streusel party!
My loaf wasn’t vegan because I used dairy milk and butter since I had them on hand, but I am excited to try the vegan version, and the one I made was delicious and turned out great! I liked that the loaf itself wasn’t overly sweet and didn’t have any egg, so it wasn’t cake, but it was still definitely sweet and great for breakfast.