Step aside, pumpkins! Nothing says autumn in the northwest more than apples: apple pie, apple bread, apple cider, apple sauce, apple butter, apple slices … apple everything!
I typically find apple crisps a little misleading. Sure, their name says “crisp,” but they’re usually about the consistency of baby-food. Plus, like baby food, they’re often unbearably bland. C’mon, ‘Merica, you can do better!
This weekend, it dawned on me: the Apple Crisp Woes weren’t going to fix themselves. No! I had to take matters into my own hands. I had to make a better apple crisp.
It had to taste like fall, so I started with cinnamony, nutmeggy apple pie filling and topped it off with salted caramel. It had to have a delicious base, so I made a shortbread crust. After a couple of trials and errors, the newest incarnation received a seal of approval from my colleagues and a few students today. As one of the student taste-testers said, her brow furrowed seriously, “Mr. Groen is a very lucky man.”
Here’s the lucky result!
Crust & Topping:
1 cup butter (2 sticks) — at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c. oatmeal
1 tsp. cinnamon
Apple Pie Filling
2 heaping cups sliced apples
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup hot water
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbs. prepared caramel sauce
a pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the apples in a sauce pan. Squeeze the lemon over the apples and stir. Add the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and nutmeg. Stir together until the apples are coated. Pour in the hot water and vanilla. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the water thickens into a syrup.
Meanwhile, in an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add it incrementally to the butter/sugar mixture, keeping the mixer on a low speed.
Pour 2/3 of the dough into an 8×8 baking pan and press it down to make a crust. Spread the apple pie filling over the crust.
Add the oatmeal and cinnamon to the reserved dough. Mix until the oatmeal is just incorporated. Don’t worry about getting the clumps out. Pour the mixture over the apple pie filling.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. When you take it out of the oven, drizzle the apple crisp with caramel sauce and sprinkle the caramel sauce with a pinch of kosher salt. Serve hot with ice cream or whipped cream!
Are you salivating yet? The creamy, cinnamony goodness will not disappoint! You can also download a printable version of the recipe here: Salted Caramel Apple Crisp Recipe!
Copyright Best Coast Living, 2015. May not be reproduced without express permission of the author.
Washi tape clip art by Teacher Karma.