Fruit Crisps A to Z (Apple to Zucchini)-Winter

Saturday January 14, 2017

Fruit by the Seasons

Food that tastes good and looks appealing will never be out of style and choosing seasonal produce is one of the essential ingredients that make it so.

Since beginning my culinary career, I have been examining the way the seasons affect my cooking and the power that ingredients have in creating good food.  While certain American chefs are touted for being the first tastemakers to advocate a return to eating with the seasons, it is a way of cooking and eating that is as old as the art of cooking itself:  working with the ingredients as they become available seasonally.

The produce section of a supermarket produce department, farmer’s market (often from backyard gardens), or roadside fruit and vegetable stand is a changeable world, often changing daily due to seasonality and availability. Sophisticated farming and shipping techniques give us varieties in an abundance throughout the year and there are an estimated three times the amount of items available today than just 15 years ago.  But an intelligent shopper will still consider seasonality of importance.  For produce in optimum condition, it is best to select vegetables in their prime growing and shipping times. The more delicate a vegetable or fruit, the more important becomes the issue of seasonality and the local growing area.  Most fruits stop ripening as soon as they are picked, and since they are perishable, for example as with peaches or berries, they are picked under ripe for easy transport. This is especially true for long distance shipping. While the vegetables may look good, they did not develop a yummy flavor and appealing texture.

While it is easy to forget the definitions of a season with such a vast year round availability and efficient world-wide transportation bringing food to restaurants and supermarkets, we are, as cooks, always linked to seasonal produce.  It’s all about timing: rhubarb, stone fruits, citrus, and strawberries in the spring.  All must have their due respect.

While some fruits are available year-round–like apples, nuts, and mangoes-many have peak seasons. I encourage you to take the time to seek out the markets that sell really good produce. And unless they look really good, don’t bother. But don’t be so intimidated you feel out of luck if you miss a day at your local farmers’ market–many excellent dishes utilize high-quality frozen staples such as a variety of berries and rhubarb. Every so often I will pick up a bag of frozen for smoothies and crisps.

An appreciation for ethnic cuisines and an awareness of the important role vegetables play in good health and satisfying eating have prompted small-scale specialty farmers and merchants alike to offer us less familiar produce.Careful selection and storage are important if you want the best quality.  Taking time to handpick your produce assures this further. When experimenting with unfamiliar ethnic fruits, take the time to cook them for yourself before serving to guests. That way you can judge their overall character, taste, and texture to see if they fit in your cooking style.

Out of season items are usually very expensive, about twice the regular seasonal price. Respecting seasonality means recognizing that foods are available all year, but recognizing that they are at different stages at different times during that year.

photo an edible mosaic

Creamy Toppings for Your Fruit Crisps

While it is perfectly acceptable to eat a crisp au naturale, to make it special, plan on serving with some sort of creamy accompaniment. Plain, thick, cold heavy cream, vanilla ice cream or gelato, and whipped cream are the natural accompaniments to crisps, but a voluptuous creamy sauce like the Créme de la Créme (reminiscent of tangy crème fraîche), Paradise Cream (a thickened whipped cream), or naturally low-fat mascarpone or whole milk ricotta stirred with some heavy cream to thin it, are easily prepared in advance and give a scrumptious creamy counterpoint to the sweetness of the fruit.  For special guests, consider a pitcher of delectable Vanilla Custard Sauce, made the day ahead, Caramel Sauce on Apple Crisp,or Grand Marnier Whipped Cream (great with Peach Crisp), or the outrageously delectable Maple Créme Fraîche, good with all types of orchard fruits.  If you are concerned about offering a low-fat topping, stir a tablespoon or two of honey or maple syrup into thick plain yogurt, or make the Dieter’s Custard Sauce.

Créme de la Créme

Makes 1 cup

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, or more to taste

1 tablespoon Calvados or brandy, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, powdered sugar, and Calvados. Stir just until well blended (too much stirring thins the sauce). Taste, adding more sugar if needed. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Paradise Cream

Makes 2 1/4 cups

1 cup cold whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

Place the bowl and beater in the freezer for at least 1 hour to thoroughly chill.  Place the cream and sugar in the bowl.  Whip on high speed with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Whisk in the sour cream gently.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Vanilla Custard Sauce

Makes 2 cups

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

5 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a saucepan or a microwave, scald the milk.  In a food processor, combine the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and vanilla.  Process briefly until light colored and foamy.  With the food processor running, add the hot milk gradually into the egg mixture.  Pour back into the saucepan and place over medium heat.

Cook the sauce gently over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until just slightly thickened, smooth, and the sauce coats a spoon; do not boil, about 5 full minutes. Pour into a storage bowl and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate, covered, until serving time.  Serve cold, pouring around portions of the warm crisp.

Dieter’s Custard Sauce

Makes 2 cups

2 cups fat-free milk

One 1-ounce package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix

3 tablespoons orange juice, dry white wine, or complementary liqueur, or 1/2 teaspoon citrus oil, orange flower water, almond extract, or vanilla extract

In a medium bowl with a whisk or with an electric mixer, combine the milk, pudding mix, and juice, wine, or flavoring; beat 2 minutes.  Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes and stir again. Refrigerate, covered, until serving time.  Serve cold, pouring around portions of the warm crisp.

Maple Créme Fraîche

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups cold créme fraîche

5 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Place the créme fraîche and maple syrup in a small bowl; whisk until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Secret Vanilla Custard Sauce

Makes 2 cups

3 cups good-quality vanilla bean ice cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Allow the ice cream to soften in its container or in a covered refrigerator storage jar, in the refrigerator about 3 hours to become of pourable consistency. The ice cream will lose some of its volume. When ready to serve over warm crisp, gently stir in the vanilla.

Serve immediately, chilled.

Salted Caramel Sauce


6 Tbsp light brown sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

For the salted caramel sauce, combine brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter has melted completely. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt until smooth. Pour sauce into a glass bowl to cool to room temperature.

Classic Caramel Sauce

Please read all these directions a couple times before starting, and get all your ingredients set out before hand.  Caramel is very simple, but it requires good timing. Experience is the best teacher for this.  Give yourself plenty of time,  and don’t be discouraged if it isn’t perfect at first.

3/4 cup heavy cream (make sure it is heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, not regular whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon butter

1.  Measure out cream into a liquid measuring cup.  Stir in vanilla and set aside within an easy reach of the stove.

2.  Stir sugar and water in a medium pot with tall sides.  Set over medium-high heat.  As the sugar dissolves and begins to boil, you may swirl the pot to mix the boiling sugar water.  DO NOT STIR WITH A SPOON.  This will make the sugar crystalize.

3.  As the sugar syrup boils, watch very carefully for the color to change.  You are looking for a nice, warm amber color, about the shade of cinnamon sticks.  Don’t let it get any darker.  (Even if it doesn’t look burnt, it can taste burnt.  If it starts to smoke, you’ve let it go too far.)  On a side note, my candy thermometer did not reach far enough into the pot to get an accurate reading of the syrup, but with such a small amount of syrup, the temperature changes pretty quickly anyway.  It’s best to watch it and wait for it to turn the right color.

4.  As soon as it turns the proper amber color, pull the pot off the heat.  Whisk in the butter, and then pour in the vanilla-cream mixture.  It will now bubble violently.  Whisk carefully but briskly.  The caramel will start to solidify a bit., but keep whisking.   Put the pot of caramel over low heat and whisk carefully for a minute or two until smooth.  Pour into a heat proof jar, and allow to cool.  Can be refrigerated for up to a week.


DECEMBER:  mandarin oranges; tangerines; tangelos; apples; cranberries; navel oranges; first fresh Coachella Valley dates; Figs: Napa cabbage; Persian and Key limes; domestic Manzano and Brazilian bananas from Southern California; imported and domestic sweet chestnut flour

JANUARY:  navel oranges; Red Cuban bananas; Ruby Red grapefruit; kiwi-fruit; papayas; fresh dates; apples; pears; carrots; end of the fresh coconuts

FEBRUARY:  Fairchild and Satsuma tangerines; Minneola tangelos; Ruby Red grapefruit; blood oranges; apples; fresh Barhi, Medjool, and Deglet Noor dates; pears.

MARCH:  Hawaiian pineapples; carambola star fruits; blood oranges; grapefruits; pomelos; the first purple passion fruits from New Zealand; violets; Vermont maple syrup harvest.

Karen Barker’s Apple Crisp with Pecans & Orange

Serves 8

About 1 tsp. softened butter for the baking dish

For the topping:

4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. lightly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

4 oz. (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

1 cup lightly toasted, coarsely chopped pecans

For the filling:

3 lb. Granny Smith apples (6 large or 8 medium), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbs. fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)

1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

1-1/2 tsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9x9x2-inch pan or other 10-cup ovenproof baking dish.

Make the topping:

In a food processor, pulse the flour and the oats until the oats are finely ground. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt and pulse until just combined. Add the butter and pulse in short bursts until the mixture just starts to form crumbs and has a streusel-like consistency. When squeezed together with light pressure, the mixture should just clump. Add the pecans and pulse just to blend; you don’t want to chop the nuts further.

Assemble and bake the crisp:

In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients and gently toss until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Press down to compact slightly into an even layer. Sprinkle the topping in a thick, even layer all over the filling.

Bake until the topping is golden brown, the juices are bubbling around the edges, and the apples are soft when pierced with the tip of a knife, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. The crisp can be served warm or at room temperature, but it’s best served the day it’s made.

Amaretto Apple Crispetti



1/2  cup  all-purpose flour

* 1/4  cup  granulated sugar

* 1/4  cup  packed light brown sugar

* 1/4  cup  chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces

* 3  tablespoons  slivered almonds, toasted


* 7  cups  sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 3 pounds)

* 1/3  cup  amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur) or apple juice


Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and sugars in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Add almonds; toss well.

Combine apple and amaretto in a bowl; toss well. Spoon apple mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Quintessential Apple Crisp

Recipe adapted from “Tested, Tried and True” by Flint (MI) Junior League



1 c. light brown sugar

1 c. white sugar

1 c. flour

1/3 c. melted butter

1/2 tsp cinnamon


7-9 apples and at least 2-3 varieties

Option: Abt 5 TBL of butter dotted on top


Slice apples, leaving on peel. Mix white sugar, cinnamon and sprinkle this over the apples and blend well.

Pour the apples into the 8″ by 8″ pan. Just heap them up and don’t worry, the apples will cook down and will not overflow into your oven.

Mix brown sugar, flour and butter. Crumble this over the top. I add tiny dots of extra butter too.

See how perfectly it cooked down and look at how much apple there is!

Bake 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Le Meilleur Crumble aux Pommes

Facile à faire et absolument délicieux : une pâte croustillante et parfumée à la cannelle sur des pommes enrobées de sucre roux.

Recette de Allrecipes. I couldn’t resist including this recipe for apple crisp in French.

4 pommes, pelées et tranchées

100 g de sucre roux

125 g de farine blanche

150 g de sucre en poudre

1 cuillère à café de cannelle moulue

1/4 de cuillère à café de sel

1 œuf battu

2 cuillères à soupe de beurre fondu

Méthode de préparation

1.   Faire préchauffer votre four à 190°C (thermostat 6/7).

2.   Dans un plat carré de 23 cm de côté, mélanger les pommes avec le sucre roux. Dans un grand bol, mélanger la farine, le sucre, la cannelle et le sel. Dans un petit bol, mélanger l’œuf battu et le beurre fondu et verser sur la farine. Bien mélanger, puis en recouvrir les pommes.

3.   Faire cuire 30 à 40 minutes jusqu’à ce que la pâte soit bien dorée et croustillante.

Apple, Date and Ginger Snap Crumble

To me, this homey date and apple crumble is like autumn in a bowl. Rich Medjool dates pair wonderfully with sweet-tart Fuji apples and plump golden raisins. The topping, made from crushed gingersnaps, shredded coconut and crunchy pecans, is just what the fruit needs. Some vanilla ice cream on top wouldn’t hurt either. Though dried dates could be used for such a dessert, I prefer the softness of fresh ones. If you do use dried, then I recommend softening them for a couple of minutes in some hot water before adding them to the apple mixture. I used six individual ramekins (5 inches wide by 2 inches deep), but this can easily be made family style in a 9-inch pie plate or baking dish.Susan Russo for NPR

Makes 6 servings


For the topping:

8 gingersnap cookies

1/4 cup pecans

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/4 cup butter (4 tablespoons), chilled and cut into small pieces

For the fruit filling:

5 to 6 Fuji (or Gala) apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (about 4 1/2 cups)

1 cup fresh Medjool dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces (about 10 to 12)

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coat the ramekins with cooking spray, and place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet to catch any drips.

To make the topping, add the ginger snaps and pecans to a food processor and process until coarse crumbs form. Pour gingersnap-pecan mixture in a large bowl and add brown sugar, flour, coconut and butter. Using a pastry blender or fork, blend until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

To make the fruit filling, simply toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well by hand. Transfer the fruit to the ramekins (or pie plate) and add an equal amount of topping to each. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crispy.

(Frozen) Peach and Almond Crisp French Revolution


For the peaches:

30 ounces of frozen peaches

3 tablespoons corn starch

¼ cup granulated sugar

A pinch of salt

½ – ¾ teaspoon of almond extract (depending on how much you love marzipan) (optional)
For the crisp topping:

¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup almond meal

½ cup granulated sugar

A pinch of salt

1 stick of unsalted butter, straight from the fridge, cubed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup sliced almonds


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a buttered baking dish, toss the peaches with the cornstarch, ¼ cup sugar, pinch of salt, and almond extract, if using. Set the baking dish on a baking tray lined with foil (it makes cleanup easier), and set aside.
In a food processor, whiz together the flour, almond meal, sugar, and salt until combined. Then add the butter and olive oil and run until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the sliced almonds and pulse a few times until just distributed, but not broken up. Pour the mixture evenly over the peaches, and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the crisp is golden – an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, or crème fraiche is encouraged.

Apple and Pomegranate Crisp Recipe

* 4 medium apples – peeled, cored and sliced

* 1/2 pomegranate, skin and light-colored membrane removed

* 1/2 cup brown sugar

* 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


* 1/2 cup rolled oats

* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/2 cup white sugar

* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, pomegranate seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. In the same bowl, stir together the oats, flour and sugar. Rub in the butter between your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the fruit.

3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until the apples are soft. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cran-Apple Crisps with Coconut Streusel

For the topping

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup (packed) light brown sugar

½ cup old-fashioned oats

½ cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces

For the filling

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch chunks

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, don’t thaw)

½ cup moist, plump dried cranberries or raisins (dark or golden)

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Getting Ready:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter eight ovenproof cups or bowls, each with a capacity of about one cup. Pu the cups on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

To make the topping:

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms big curds, about 1 minute. (You can make the topping up to 3 days ahead and refrigerate it in an airtight bag.)

To make the filling:

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Divide the fruit evenly among the cups then spoon an equal amount of topping over each portion of fruit. Bake the crisps for 40-45 minutes or until the topping is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling up around it. Transfer the cups to a rack and let them rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.Baking From My Home To Yours – Dorie Greenspan

Apple, Cranberry, and Pineapple Crisp

Servings: Makes 6 servings.



* 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

* 3/4 cup all purpose flour

* 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature

* 1 cup old-fashioned oats

* 1 cup chopped pecans


* 1/2 cup sugar

* 1/4 cup all purpose flour

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

* 1 1/4 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 3 medium), peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

* 2 cups fresh cranberries

* 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled cored fresh pineapple

* Vanilla ice cream


For Topping

Whisk sugar and flour in medium bowl. Add butter; cut in with back of fork until mixture is crumbly. Add oats and pecans; blend until clumps form. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

For Filling

Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Add apples, cranberries, and pineapple. Stir until fruit is evenly coated. Let stand until juices form, tossing occasionally, at least 30 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread filling in 11×7-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over. Bake until filling is bubbling thickly and topping is brown and crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes. Spoon into shallow bowls. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.

Cybele Pascal’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cranberry Apple Crisp

Serves 6

Cranberries and apples pair perfectly in this delicious, old-fashioned recipe by cookbook author Cybele Pascal. Homey, fruity and simple to make, it’s the ideal dessert for an autumn day.

6 firm, tart apples (like Granny Smith)

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

1 cup brown sugar, divided

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 ½ cups whole berry cranberry sauce

¼ cups gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend of choice

¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats or quinoa flakes

½-¾ cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening(such as Spectrum)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 7×11-inch pan or an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.

2. Peel, core and slice apples into ¼ inch-thick slices. Toss with ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ cup brown sugar and cornstarch. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Spread cranberry sauce evenly over top of apples.

3. Measure flour by spooning it into a dry measuring cup, leveling it with a straightedge or back of a knife and then pouring it into a mixing bowl. Add xanthan gum, salt, oats, the remaining ¾ cup brown sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Mix to combine.

4. Melt shortening (30-60 seconds in the microwave usually does it). Drizzle it into the flour mixture, a little at a time, tossing until you have a large crumb. Spread crumb evenly over top of fruit. Use your fingers to clump it together as necessary. 5. Place in preheated oven and bake 40 minutes until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling up around edges. Let rest about 30 minutes before serving.

*TIP For a slightly drier crumb topping (and for those watching calories), use ½ cup shortening. For a “buttery” crumb topping, use ¾ cup shortening.

Simple Bites Cranberry-Orange Pie with Cornmeal Streusel


1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, chilled.
for the filling:
4 cups fresh cranberries, washed
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
1 cup Turbinado sugar or brown sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted

for the streusel topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal or polenta
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, cubed and cold


Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, toss cranberries with orange zest, orange juice, sugar and melted butter. Pour into pie shell.
In a food processor, combine flour, cornmeal, brown sugar and butter. Pulse for a minute or so until combined. Scatter cornmeal streusel evenly over the top of the cranberry pie filling.
Place pie on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) and place on the middle shelf of the oven.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pie is bubbling around the edges and the topping is a dark golden brown.Remove cranberry pie from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Everyday Food Apple Crisp Cake


2 cups flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 pounds (about 12) tart apples, such as Granny Smith
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Using an electric mixer or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until the mixture forms pea-size pieces. Press 2/3 of the mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel apples, cut into thin slices, and place in a bowl. Pour off any accumulated liquid. Toss apple slices with remaining teaspoon cinnamon and lemon juice, and put them in the prepared pan, pressing down gently as you pack them in (they will mound above the edge of the pan). Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top. Put the pan on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Run a knife around  the edge of the pan, and let the cake cool in the pan to set. Serve at room temperature. Serves 8

Maple, Apple, and Dried Fruit Crisp

Serves 6



3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2/3 cup rolled oats (quick-cooking or old fashioned)


2 1/2 pounds (8 large) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 3/4-inch thick

1/2 cup golden raisins-tart cherry mixture

1/2 cup minced dried apricots

1/4 cup maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 375º (350º if using Pyrex).  In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and  flours with your fingertips until blended with no lumps. Add butter and rub it into the flour mixture to the consistency of very coarse meal. Stir in the oatmeal. Set aside or refrigerate in a covered container.  Can be made the day ahead.

Place the sliced apples, raisins, and apricots in an even layer in an unbuttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish or 12-inch ceramic oval gratin dish.  Drizzle with the maple syrup and then sprinkle the fruit evenly with all of the topping.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a lower oven rack to catch any fruit juices that might bubble over.  Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown and the fruit is bubbling and tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Caramel Apple Crisp

* Apple Filling:

* 5 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

* 1/2 cup white sugar

* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 2 tablespoons lemon juice

* 1/4 cup water

* Crumble:

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 cup brown sugar

* 1 cup quick cooking oats

* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

* Caramel Sauce:

* 1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped

* 1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk

or jar caramel sauce, ¼ cup or ½ jar.


1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 degree C).

2. In a medium size bowl, toss apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice, and water; spread evenly into a 9 x 13 inch pan. In another bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, and butter; spoon mixture evenly over apples.

3. In a heavy sauce pan over very low heat, melt the caramels with the evaporated milk. Heat slowly, stirring frequently, until mixture has a smooth consistency. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the apples. Then sprinkle top with crumbs.

4. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes (apple mixture will bubble and topping will be golden brown). YUM!YUM!! From St Matthews First Graders.

Harvest Pear Crisp with Candied Ginger



* 1/2 cup all purpose flour

* 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

* 1 cup old-fashioned oats

* 1/2 cup coarsely chopped whole raw almonds

* 1/4 cup 1/4-inch cubes crystallized ginger


* 1/2 cup sugar

* 2 tablespoons cornstarch

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

* 4 pounds firm but ripe pears (6 to 7 large), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)


Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add butter. Working quickly so butter does not soften, rub in with fingertips until moist clumps form. Stir in oats, almonds, and ginger. Chill while preparing filling. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Add pears; toss. Transfer to 13x9x2-inch oval baking dish. Sprinkle topping over pear mixture.

Bake until topping is crisp and golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 50 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10. Recipe by Carolyn Beth Weil

Orange Coconut Crisp

This is one of the most elusive and different winter crisps. It is made with ever-so-delicious navel oranges and there is no sugar in the filling, just the topping. Coconut extract is like a luscious elixier so don’t skip it. It is adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

4 l/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut

6 large navel oranges

1 1/2 tablespoons raw quick-cooking tapicoa (such as Minute)

1 teaspoon coconut extract

Preheat the oven to 375º (350º if using Pyrex).  Grease or spray the bottom and sides of an 11- by-7-inch shallow baking dish or 2 quart gratin dish with a butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Cut in the butter pieces with your fingers, a pastry blender, or pulse in a food processor until the mixture just holds together and looks crumbly.  Toss in the coconut. Set aside or refrigerate in a covered container.  Can be made the day ahead.

Peel and section the oranges over a medium bowl, reserving any juice that drips off. You will have 1/4 to 1/3 cup juice and add the tapioca and coconut extract. Add the orange sections and toss with the tapioca.  Let stand 20 minutes at room temperature; stir once to keep the tapioca evenly moistened.

Place the fruit in the baking dish and sprinkle the fruit evenly with all of the topping. Bake in the center of the oven until lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6

Tropical Crumble

Makes 6 servings

For The Filling

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2-1/2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar

2 ripe but firm mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 ripe but firm bananas, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick on the diagonal

1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

grated zest of 1/4 lime

For The Streusel

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped pecans


Melt the butter in a wide nonstick skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter, and when it bubbles, add the mango cubes. Cook the mango for about 2 minutes, without stirring, then turn the cubes over and add the banana slices. Cook for another 2 minutes, turning the bananas after a minute or two, until both the mangoes and bananas are browned. Keep the heat high and don’t move the fruit around too much – you want the fruit to hold its shape and its texture.

Butter a 9-inch pie pan (regular or deep-dish)and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Transfer the fruit and whatever juices remain in the pan to a heatproof serving casserole. Gently stir in the chopped ginger, ground ginger, and lime zest. Set aside while you make the streusel.


You can make the streusel in a food processor or with a mixer, but I like to make it by hand. Toss the butter into a bowl and, using a rubber spatula, work it until it is smooth. Work in the brown sugar and salt, and then, when the mixture is smooth, stir in the flour, followed by the pecans. Spread the streusel mixture on a pieces of wax paper, fold over the paper and freeze for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven.


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spoon the fruit and its liquid into the pie pan. Remove the streusel mix from the freezer and, using your fingers, break the mixture up into topping-size chunks. Don’t make the pieces teensy and don’t try to make them even – higgledy-piggledy is the way to go. Scatter the pieces over the fruit.

Slide the baking sheet into the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the crumble for about 35 minutes, or until the topping is richly golden and the fruits are bubbling steadily. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and allow the crumble to cool to your preferred serving temperature – just warm or at room temperature.


Set out spoons, rather than forks, spoon out portion of the crumble into dessert bowls and top with whipped cream, runny creme fraiche, sour cream or vanilla ice cream. (adapted from “Baking From My Home To Yours” by Dorie Greenspan)


This is best eaten the day it is made. If you do keep it, cover it, stow it in the fridge and serve it slightly chilled.


The cinnamon-rich flavors of old-fashioned apple crisp meet the convenience of a slow cooker.


6 medium-size crisp tart apples (Granny Smith or Braeburn), peeled if desired, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup toffee bits

Ice cream, if desired


1. Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix apples and cinnamon to coat. Place in slow cooker.

2. In medium bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, flour and butter with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Stir in pecans and toffee bits. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over apples.

3. Cover; cook on LOW heat setting 4 to 6 hours. Serve apple crisp with ice cream. Serves 10

Apple Pecan Crisp with Calvados for A Crowd

Calvados is an apple brandy made in Normandy, France. You will need a large ceramic roasting pan for this crisp.

Serves 16

1 1/2 cups pecans

6 pounds (about 18 to 20 large) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 3/4-inch thick

1/3 cup Calvados

Juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons cornstarch

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups rolled oats (quick-cooking or old fashioned)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 large eggs, beaten

1 gallon Vanilla Bean Gelato, for serving


Toast the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet in a 350º oven for about 5 minutes; just enough to take off the raw edge and the nuts slightly begin to color.  Cool and coarsely chop.  This can be done the day before.

Preheat the oven to 375º (350º if using Pyrex).  Place the apples in a 12-by-18-by-2-inch ceramic baking dish.  Drizzle with the Calvados and lemon juice.  Sprinkle with the sugar-cornstarch mixture; toss the mixture with your hands.

Place the flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor.  Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top and process until the mixture just holds together and looks crumbly.  Add the eggs and nuts, stirring with a large spoon until evenly moistened.  Sprinkle the fruit evenly with all of the topping.

Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown and the fruit is bubbling and tender, 60 to 70 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with tiny scoops of vanilla gelato.

Yankee Magazine’s Apple Crisp for 60

“McIntosh apples have a dandy flavor, but Cortlands keep their color best after peeling and are the best choice when you’re cooking for a lot if people and the apples may have to stand for a while before cooking.”

* 25 pounds Cortland apples, cored

* 2 quarts flour

* 10-2/3 cups sugar

* 10-2/3 sticks butter

Pare the apples, and slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Pack into four 13×9-inch pans or ceramic roasting pans. Mix together flour, sugar, and butter or margarine until crumbly. Pack on top of apples. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour 15 minutes. If desired, cinnamon and nutmeg may be added to the flour mixture.

For 8-10 people:

* 4 to 6 apples

* 1 cup flour

* 1-1/3 cups sugar

* 1-1/3 sticks butter or margarine

* 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

For 8-10 people bake in a 12×8-inch pan.

Orange Praline Yams

This recipe makes THE BEST yam casserole I’ve ever eaten


Two 2-lb 8oz cans of yams, drained, or 4 lbs. cooked, peeled fresh

2/3 cup orange juice
1 T grated orange rind
5 T. brandy or rum
2 t. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 t. ground ginger
4 T. butter, melted
1/3 c. light or golden brown sugar, packed
3 egg yolks

Praline topping:
2/3 cup light or golden brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 c. chopped pecans
1 t. cinnamon


Beat yams till whipped smooth. Add rest of ingredients and beat till smooth. Place in greased casserole and smooth top. Use a 12″ shallow quiche dish. The night before, make sweet potato part. Recipe may be doubled or tripled, but do not make in a deeper dish or the ratio between potatoes and topping will be off.

Praline topping: Mix and spread evenly over top of casserole.
Bake 350F for 45-50 min. till golden brown and bubbly. Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Pumpkin and Apple Crumble with Cranberries

(Makes about 8 servings)


1 lb. butternut squash (or pumpkin) cubes (just over 4 cups cut squash cubes)
4 apples, chopped (I used 2 gala apples and 2 granny smith)
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or sweetener of your choice; use sugar if you prefer and don’t care about the low-sugar part)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or use a bit more cinnamon)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (or use regular white flour)
1 cup rolled oats (use regular or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or sweetener of your choice)
3-4 T butter


Cut butternut squash into same-size cubes about 1/2 inch square. (Here is how to peel and cut up a butternut squash if you haven’t done it.) Melt the butter in large non-stick frying pan and start to saute squash over low heat while you cut up apples. As you peel and cut apple into small pieces add it to frying pan, then add 1/3 cup sweetener, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and cranberries. Cook the mixture until squash is fairly soft, about 10 minutes. stir constantly

While mixture cooks, combine flour, almond meal, oatmeal, and 1/2 cup sweetener in a plastic bowl. Remove butter from freezer and using the large side of a metal grater, grate pieces of butter until you have 3-4 T, as measured by the markings on the side of the butter wrapper. (I used somewhere between 3 and 4 T of butter.) Then use a pastry blender or fork to combine the mixture until the butter is well distributed and the mixture looks crumbly.

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Pour cooked squash/apple mixture into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch casserole dish. (a crockery or glass casserole dish) Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of apple/squash mixture in an even layer. Bake 30 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly bubbling and lightly browned on top. Serve hot with whipped cream, creme fraiche, custard,  or ice cream on top.)

Holiday Gingerbread Pear Crumble From OATrageous Oatmeals

This is a wonderful way to keep your holidays healthy, and it takes less time to make than a batch of cookies. If you aren’t a huge molasses fan, you can use half the amount or even replace it with another sweetener. Depending on what you have on hand, use either apples or a combination of pears and apples.


Topping Ingredients:
1 cup (96 g) rolled oats
1 cup (132 g) whole wheat pastry flour (*use a gluten-free baking mix)
¼ cup (60 ml) agave nectar
2 tablespoons (40 g) molasses
11/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon cloves
Filling Ingredients:
5 cups (805 g) chopped pears (peeled if not organic)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) agave nectar,optional
pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with oil. (**You can also line with parchment paper or use a nonstick pan to make it oil-free.)
Combine all of the topping ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
If your pears aren’t very sweet, add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of agave nectar and a pinch of salt. Spread out the pear mixture in the casserole dish. Crumble the gingerbread topping over the pears, then bake for 30 minutes.

Banana Crisp


9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons light brown sugar (or dark), divided
7 medium bananas, sliced 1/4-inch thick
5 to 6 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup (5 ounces) all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup walnuts, chopped


1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat to 375°F. Pour 3 tablespoons melted butter into bottom of an 8″ by 8″ baking dish and swirl to coat. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons brown sugar over butter. Scatter bananas into dish and pour bourbon over the top. Give one or two quick stirs to distribute bananas into mixture.

2. Using fingertips, toss flour, salt, oats, walnuts, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter until moist crumbs form. Scatter over bananas. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve warm, not hot. Serves 4 to 6

Salted Caramel Bars

In case you have no fruit and need a dessert similar to the crumble. There are many variations of crumb bars with different fillings, jam or thickened fruit withe the streusel topping and a bottom crust.

serves 12-16



4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pound (4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract


50-60 caramel candies, wrappers removed (14 oz. bag)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch dish with non-stick spray.
For the crust, cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl for 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy and lightened in color. Mix in vanilla extract, then gradually beat in flour until just incorporated, when smooth dough comes together.  Take 1/3 dough and gently press it into the greased baking dish, then place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Wrap remaining dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until further use. Remove crust from oven when golden brown and let cool.
For the filling, Place unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a large, microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir vigorously, or until smooth. If not melted after 1 minute, microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract, then pour caramel over cooled crust, sprinkling sea salt over the top.
Remove chilled dough from fridge and crumble pieces evenly over caramel-topped crust.
Once you’ve used all dough, place baking dish in oven and bake for 26-28 minutes, or until top crumble is light golden brown.
Remove baking dish from oven and let cool completely, then cut into squares and enjoy!

text copyright Beth Hensperger 2017

Recipe copyright  Dorie Greenspan, Pillsbury, Susan Russo for NPR, Carolyn Beth Weil, St Matthew’s First Grade, Nami Nami blog, Simple Bites blog, Recipe Diaries blog, OATrageous oatmeals blog, Cooking Light, Yankee magazine, French Revolution blog, Cybele Pascal blog, Everyday Food, 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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