If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, it’s probably abundantly clear that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. All of my recipes are usually things I make for lunch, dinner, or snacks, because that’s primarily what I cook around here. In fact, it’s quite rare that we ever have fresh baked goods or homemade desserts on hand — while I love working with pastries, I actually don’t really love keeping that kind of stuff around the house.
But every now and again, I get a hankering for something sweet and homemade, and then I always regret not keeping a better baking pantry. Fortunately, if you have a few simple staples and whatever fruit is in season, you can always whip up a quick little fruit crisp for yourself. I love making variations of this recipe throughout the year — with cherries in late spring, stone fruit like peaches and nectarines in the late summer, apples and pears in the fall. You can vary the texture of the crumbly topping by adding oats or chopped nuts, and also control how sweet it is by adjusting how much sugar you add (great for people like me who prefer sweet-tart to sweet-sweet). And, you don’t even need fancy baking equipment to make a single serve version of this…just use an oven proof bowl or mug if you’re really in a pinch!
Earlier this week, on a quiet afternoon at home with the weather in the 50s, I grabbed an apple we had sitting in the fridge and created the simplest version of my fruit crisp recipe. It’s funny, I’m not one to munch on an apple most times of the year, but during the fall, there’s something so delightful about cutting through a fresh pomme. It makes a crunching sound that’s not unlike walking on autumn’s dried, crisp leaves. Delicious as it was, I had one single regret: that I didn’t have a scoop of ice cream to go along with it. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
Here’s the easy recipe:
Easy Warm Apple Crisp
Serves 1 or 2, depending on how much dessert you want
For the fruit base:
1 large apple, washed, cored, and cut into large cubes (any variety will do, but I like the tartness of Pink Lady)
1.5 tsp lemon juice (about a wedge of lemon)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp flour
pinch of kosher or sea salt
For the topping:
1/2 cup AP flour
4 tbsp very cold butter, cubed, with 1 of the tablespoons of butter set aside
1.5 tbsp turbinado sugar (can also substitute loosely packed brown sugar, or granulated sugar too. I happened to only have turbinado in the pantry!)
pinch of kosher or sea salt
Preheat your oven to 375°.
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the fruit base. Toss to combine and distribute the spices and flour evenly. (Insider tip: if you pour out the oil into your measuring spoon first, then measure the honey, it’ll pour right out of the spoon instead of slowly drizzling and getting stuck!)
In a separate small bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients, except for the extra tablespoon of butter. Using your fingers, mash the cold butter into the flour until it is well distributed, and the mixture looks crumbly, but still loose (we’re not looking for a dough consistency here).
In a small baking dish, scoop the apples from the bowl and place them in the dish. Then, sprinkle as much of the topping as you want over the top. Place the baking dish on a small baking sheet (to catch any spills), and then dot the remaining tablespoon of cubed cold butter over the top. Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven, until the top is crisp and browned and the apples underneath are bubbly and caramelized. It doesn’t have to be exact — when the crisp looks and smells good, it’ll probably taste good too. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Note: If you don’t have small, individual baking dishes like I do, you can substitute by using an oven proof glass bowl, or even an oven proof mug if you’re really in a pinch!