One of the easiest of apple desserts is tender fruit with a crisp topping of buttery oats, nuts and brown sugar. Choose tart apples such as Granny Smith, but mostly you want to balance out the tartness of the fruit with any added sugar, so adjust accordingly. If you’re into pie dough, include your favorite store-bought kind or try this all-butter crust, which is my go-to for pies and galettes. If you want to feature apples in all their glory, feel free to totally omit the bottom crust. As for the filling, up the ante with a splash of calvados or bourbon. I really like a generous amount of cinnamon in both the filling and the topping, but try adding other warming spices such as nutmeg, ginger or cardamom.
Cinnamon apple crisp pie
For the filling:
3 pounds firm, ripe apples (about 6 apples) such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or tapioca flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons calvados or Bourbon (optional)
For the topping:
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or oat muesli
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or almonds or walnuts)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
For serving: lightly sweetened whipped cream; crème fraîche; ice cream; vanilla custard sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel apples and cut in half; remove and discard cores. Thinly slice the apples and place in a bowl with the juice of one lemon. Add sugar, flour, melted butter, salt, and cinnamon and, if using, a splash of Bourbon or calvados; toss to combine. If using a pie crust, line a 9-inch glass pie plate with crust and crimp edges. Layer with apples, piling high in the middle. If not using pie crust, pile apples into a 9-inch pie plate or a similar-sized baking dish. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine oats, nuts, sugar, salt and cinnamon and stir or pulse to combine. Process butter and pulse (or mix with fingers or pastry blender) just until mixture comes together. Top apples with oat-nut mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, until apples are tender and juices bubbling and top is crisp and golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream, crème fraiche, ice cream or vanilla custard sauce.