Skillet Apple Crisp

My husband loves a good apple crisp – especially when it is baked with a ton of cinnamon.  There are even times when I have doubled the cinnamon in the recipe and I still catch him sprinkling just a little more on top of the golden crust.  For me, it is all about the apples, and the more caramelized, the better.

The other month Cook’s Illustrated experimented with a Skillet Apple Crisp – one that was made in a pan on the stove, then finished off in the oven.  I read the ingredients, and knew that I could not go wrong with this recipe – the combination of the brown sugar and oatmeal would make a fantastic topping, and starting it on the stove would definitely give it a caramelized flavor.

Boy was this recipe fantastic – the apples were so tender and golden, and the topping baked right in – there was plenty for every bite.  This was definitely the best apple crisp I have ever made.  I highly recommend this recipe (which I have adapted slightly below to allow for more cinnamon).  I suggest putting it into the oven as soon as you sit down for dinner.  Once dinner is over, you will have the best apple crisp, warm enough to melt the ice-cream you serve it with, that you have ever tasted.

Ingredients

Topping

  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped fine (optional)
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled outs (see note)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 3 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation

Make the topping:  Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine flour, pecans, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir in butter until mixture is thoroughly moistened and crumbly.  Set aside while preparing the fruit filling.

Make the filling:  Toss the apples, granulated sugar, and cinnamon (if using) together in a large bowl;  set aside.  Bring cider to a simmer in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.  Transfer reduced cider to a bowl or liquid measuring cup; stir in lemon juice and set aside.

Heat butter in a now empty skillet over medium heat.  When foaming subsides, add apple mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until apples begin to soften and become translucent, 12 to 14 minutes.  (Do not fully cook apples.)  Remove pan from heat and gently stir in cider mixture until apples are coated.

Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit, breaking up any large chunks.  Place skillet on baking sheet and bake until fruit is tender and topping is deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack until warm, at least 15 minutes, and serve.

Note:  If your skillet is not oven-safe, prepare the recipe and transfer the cooked apples into a 13×9 inch baking dish.  Top the filling as directed and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Do not use Granny Smith apples for this recipe, but you could use other apples such as Honey Crisp or Braeburn.  While rolled oats are preferable in the topping, quick oats may be substituted.  Serve the apple crisp warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream – or just by itself.

Serves 6-8

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Skillet Apple Crisp

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