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Any time there is a new season of fruit, crisp is the first thing I make. And why is that? Well, a crisp is really the best way to enjoy seasonal fruit quickly. So what makes it so quick to make? It’s all about the filling.
When you break it down, the filling of an apple crisp is nearly identical to that of an apple pie: sliced apples, sugar, spices, and some cornstarch to thicken it all. The difference between the two is that instead of rolling out a crust, the filling is poured into a baking dish and topped with a streusel topping.
I’ll admit: there are numerous ways to make a crisp, but in my book, a simple recipe is the best way to truly taste the apples.
Are crisps, cumbles and cobblers all the same?
Each of these fruit desserts is distinctively different. Let’s run through each of them:
- Cobblers have a biscuit topping.
- Crumbles can be similar to a crisp but should not contain oats.
- Crisps will always have oats in the streusel topping and usually bake with a slightly crisper streusel.
This crisp has one variation with the addition of toasted pecans. And while it may seem like an optional step, the pecans need to be toasted first and then chopped. They provide a perfect texture and flavor to the topping while keeping the traditional oat lovers happy as well.
Do the apples need to be peeled?
I win some friends and lose some friends over the issue of peeling. I’m team “leave on the peel.” No matter what I’m cooking or roasting, if the texture of the peel does not impede on the dish, I leave it on.
Here’s the great thing: no matter what team you’re on, this crisp will be perfect whether you peel the apples or not. I know plenty of people who prefer no peels on their baked crisps and I completely understand. I opt to leave them on (less work for me!) and once baked hardly notice if that they’re even there.
The baking time on this is long. Like a pie, the crisp needs to be bubbling throughout to make sure that the added cornstarch is fully activated. In that baking time, the apples become soft along with the peels. Whether you peel or not, either choice is correct.
Watch how to make this easy apple crisp recipe
Easy Apple Crisp
For the filling
- 3 lb apples cut in quarters, core removed, and sliced into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp Calvados (apple brandy) (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the streusel
- ¾ cup flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup pecans toasted and chopped
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter cut into ½-inch cubes
For the apple filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9 baking dish and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the prepared apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and Calvados. Stir to combine and dissolve cornstarch. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon.3 lb apples, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp salt, ¼ cup white granulated sugar, 2 tbsp Calvados (apple brandy) (optional), 1 tsp cinnamon
For the streusel
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Stir to combine, then add in the pieces of butter. Coat the pieces with the dry mixture. Use thumb and forefinger to work the butter into the mixture until the pieces of butter are no bigger than the size of a pea and the consistency is like wet sand.¾ cup flour, ¾ cup rolled oats, ¾ cup pecans, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, 1 tsp salt, 12 tbsp unsalted butter
- Sprinkle all of the streusel over the apple filling and bake in the preheated oven until the filling is bubbling throughout and the streusel is toasted, 55-75 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool to just warm before serving, 30-40 minutes.