Sweet caramel apple crumble

photo: Alexander Lyubavin
photo: Alexander Lyubavin

I love this recipe. I learned it as a very young child and have grown up making it. It’s a staple part of our Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s really one of those desserts  you can enjoy any time of year. I find it so quick and easy to throw together, and there’s no need for precision on this. You need more sugar if you like it sweet – less sugar if you don’t. Either way, it’s still pretty sweet as you need the sugar to caramelize.

Word of warning – you’re going to get the recipe the way my mom taught it to me – with pinches and handfuls instead of cups and teaspoons, though I’ll try to give some approximation. Do not be scared off of making this. It’s an easy recipe with only a few ingredients and it really can’t be ruined regardless of the varying amounts. Seriously. Just fine tune it to make it your own.

photo: Jessica Rossi
photo: Jessica Rossi

What you need:

– 3 to 4 handfuls of quick oats
– 1 cup butter
– 6 to 7 nice apples – I like a mix of gala, empire, mac, spy – peeled, cored and sliced thin
– 4 to 5 pinches cinnamon
– dash of vanilla
– 3 handfuls brown sugar
– 2 handfuls white sugar
– 3 pinches salt
– flour as needed

What you do:

Preheat oven to 325°. In a big bowl mix half of the sugar, 3 to 4 pinches of cinnamon, 2 pinches salt, apples, vanilla and 3 to 4 pinches of flour. Toss it all until the apples are well coated. If your apples are very juicy and you find there’s a lot of liquid, add a few more pinches of flour until the mix is a bit dryer – but not to the point where all the liquid has become a paste.

Put the mixture into a 9 by 13 baking dish or a deep, large pie dish.

In a fresh bowl: Add the butter, a pinch of salt, a pinch or two of cinnamon, three handfuls of oats and the remaining sugar. Get in there and start pinching and twisting the butter into the other ingredients. This delicious buttery sugary mixture will start to clump up. Keep going until all the butter is broken in. The friction that you create with the pinching helps the butter melt into the oats and gets the whole mix combined. If the mixture seems too buttery you can add more oats. More buttery or more oats – you can’t really go wrong.

Cover the apple mixture with the oat mixture and put it into the oven. It takes 45 minutes to an hour, your nose will tell you it’s done. But you can leave it longer. The longer it sits in the oven the more the butter and sugar will caramelize. That caramelization is sooooooo delish.

Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

photo: Jessica Rossi
photo: Jessica Rossi


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