Recipe and photo courtesy of Kyla Winchester.
My dad was the one who cooked in our family, and I can only conclude he didn’t like making pies. For Thanksgiving, he made apple crisp, or occasionally ‘pumpkin pudding’—which as an adult I now realize is an easy way to get sweet, creamy pumpkin filling and vanilla ice cream without the fuss of making a crust. (Yes, pumpkin pudding was just pumpkin pie without the crust—sneaky, huh?)
Apple crisp is a great fall recipe, and an easy, less-fussy but still delicious dessert for Thanksgiving—and simply modified for various diets. It’s also easy to delegate to eager but less-experienced cooks who can help with peeling and coring apples. My dad’s recipe was of the ‘some of this, some of that’ variety: light on amounts and heavy on winging it. So if someone offers to make it while you and/or others are taking care of the rest of the meal, let them take it on—it’s pretty easy to have delicious results.
Portions: 6 to 8
Difficulty level: Easy
Time: 30 to 40 minutes active, and up to 1 hour passive cooking
Note – For vegans, use non-dairy margarine. For gluten-free folks, use rice flour or another gluten-free flour mix. If cross contamination is an issue (such as with celiacs) be sure to get gluten-free oats.
6 large or 8 mediums apples
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour (You can use whatever flour you have on hand: white, whole wheat, pastry, whole wheat pastry, spelt, etc. or substitute with rice flour or other gluten-free flour.)
½ cup sugar
½ cup margarine, room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch nutmeg, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and core apples. Slice apple 1/8”- to 1/4”-inch thick. Put in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, add oats, flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; stir to combine. Add margarine and use the back of a fork to ‘cut’ the margarine in, until the mixture comes together and has a ‘crumbly’ texture.
Pour out half the oat mixture onto the apples and stir to combine. Add this to an oven-safe dish around 10” square.
Pour the rest of the oat mixture on top of the apple-oat mixture and spread out evenly on top. (Don’t press it down; part of what makes it delicious is the uneven texture and the crispy bits.)
Cook 45 to 60 minutes, uncovered. Check the tenderness of the apples in the middle after 45 minutes by testing with a fork. Make sure the top is crispy before removing—if it’s not, turn on the top element in your oven, place the dish on the top rack and brown for a couple minutes. (But set a timer so you don’t forget!)
If there are any leftovers, cover the dish and refrigerate.
Note – you can modify this recipe to your preference, e.g. add dried cranberries to the apple mixture, or add chopped nuts to the oat mixture.