Crisp Autumn Days with Andre
By Cal Orey
This fall I’ve noticed my liking for apples as well as others who seem to jump on the apple bandwagon. After all, this fruit is wholesome and very versatile in cooking and baking. Let me take you back in time to when apples played an unforgettable scenario for me.
My birthday is in October. That reminds me of one particular year money was tight due to the Great Recession. A former neighbor had a real job (unlike me, a past freelance magazine journalist) but he was frugal. Still, come the night of my special day he and my sibling surprised me with a gourmet store bought French Apple Pie. I was moved because a cake wasn’t on my wish list but pie—well, who doesn’t like pie, right? It’s the feel-good food, especially when the air is crisp and leaves are turning color in the Sierra. I was moved by the good-neighbor gesture.
This comforting apple crisp made from scratch was inspired by my neighbor, the dog-loving man (like my dad, another Libra) who shoveled snow off the deck, brought me sweets from Poland, and walked my former beloved Brittany on black ice, and suggested I write books about Lake Tahoe (I have used the mountains as a muse in my Healing Powers series). He was a good neighbor to love, appreciate--like a good apple dish!
2 cups, 4-5 Granny Smith apples, washed, peeled, cored, sliced
½ cup apple juice
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons European style butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup oats
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons European style butter
Whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl put fruit. Add juice, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, combine oats, sugar, and butter. It should be moist and form crumbled balls. Dish fruit high into two or three ramekins (depends on if they are 6, 8, 12 ounces). Top with crumble topping. Place in a pan filled half with water. Place in oven for about one hour. (Turn the oven up to 425 degrees for the last 20 minutes.) Once the crumble is light brown and fruit bubbly, it’s done. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 2-4.
This easy to make apple crisp aka crumble is worth the effort of peeling the apples. I tried making it with Honeycrisp apples but it’s Granny Smith that works like a charm. Also, unlike some dishes, this one is best served fresh out of the oven. The scent of apples, cinnamon, and the flavor plus light crunchy texture of the crispy topping and juice apples will make you and yours smile. A serving of this apple crisp has my late dog-loving, sweet neighbor’s name on it.
Motto: Fences make good neighbors but so does dishing out autumn foods like good apples and sharing the season's delight.