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Grandpa’s Apple Crisp

nic’s apple crisp

I always looked forward to eating apple crisp when I was little. Not only is it a tasty dessert, but it was a dessert that only my grandparents made, so I only got to have some when they came to dinner and brought a fresh batch with them. My strategy was to eat one serving when everyone else did, then snag any leftovers for myself later.  My grandma always told me that my grandfather made the crisp, that it was his special dessert. Years later, now that I have finally pried the recipe away from her and gotten a few tips on how they got it to come out so well, I found out that my grandfather’s role consisted of peeling the apples while my grandmother made the crisp.

In fairness, the dessert is so easy to make that peeling the apples is the most work-intensive part of the process. Once they are layered into the pan, they are topped with the “crisp” mixture. This particular topping is somewhere between a very, crispy crumbly topping and a biscuit-like one. The dough for it is too wet to roll it out, but not dry enough to just sprinkle it on. It must be broken up into pieces and arranged. It results in a topping that is pleasingly crispy on top and soft underneath, where it comes into contact with the apples. The flavor is very mild and cinnamon is sprinkled on top before baking, not mixed in with either the apples or the topping.

These days, my favorite way to enjoy this dish is a generous scoop served plain and still warm from the oven. My familiy likes to eat it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Leftovers should be stored in the fridge and the crisp tastes great even when chilled. When we had leftovers, we tended to eat them for breakfast, with a bit of warm milk poured over the top.

Apple Crisp
6 medium apples (braeburn or other pie type), peeled and sliced*
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.
Arrange apple slices in an even layer over the bottom of an 9×9 inch baking dish (8×8 will also work).
In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in egg and melted butter. Using your fingers, drop batter in small clumps over the top of the apple slices. Try to create a roughly even, if rustic, layer. It does not neet to be smooth. Sprinkle evenly with ground cinnamon.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until apple slices are tender when pierced with a fork. Topping will be lightly browned.
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Serve warm and store in the refrigerator.

Serves 6-8

*I tend to slice each apple into 10 or so slices, depending on the size of the apple. If your slices are thicker, you might need a few extra minutes to get them tender. If they are thin, you might need a few less. Either way, the thickness of the slices is personal preference.

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  • cybele
    October 19, 2007

    I don’t bake much, but Apple Crisp is one of the easiest “fresh desserts” ever. I actually prefer it to pie.

    I like to do my crumble with brown sugar, just because I like the darker flavors combined with the apples.

  • Sophia
    October 19, 2007

    This looks delicious! Could you please post a recipe for a red velvet layer cake? I am in desperate need of one for my mom’s birthday.

  • Nicole
    October 19, 2007

    Sophia – I have a red velvet layer cake recipe posted here: http://bakingbites.com/2007/07/red-white-and-blue-velvet-cake/ (just make the blue layers red, as well)

  • Deborah
    October 19, 2007

    Mmmmm…Apples. Apple crisp is almost a reason in and of itself to have an orchard. 🙂

  • Kat
    October 19, 2007

    Can you suggest the best apples to use for apple pies? I have had apple pie where the apples have tasted tangy and others where the apples have been super sweet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • JEP
    October 19, 2007

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane–apple crisp was a dessert my kids just loved!

  • ohiogirl
    October 19, 2007

    Wow – this looks great!

    But I have to say, maybe I’m silly, but this looks more like a cobbler topping. (Which I’ve never had with apples, so that’s pretty exciting!) The crisps I know of, the topping has much less flour, and a higher proportion of oats and nuts.

    But, as my name hints, I am originally from Ohio, so what do I know? : )

    Anyway, I look forward to trying this soon – way easier than chopping nuts!

  • eastmeetswestkitchen
    October 20, 2007

    Yum! I’ll simply have to make this tonight.

  • Vallih
    October 20, 2007

    My mom used to make crisps on Sundays. Whatever was in season or sometimes a Bumbleberry Crisp. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I love crisps so sometimes have them even as a breakfast food!

  • EvilScienceChick
    October 20, 2007

    I have to say, when I read this yesterday, I eyed the apples in our fruit basket that were starting to show their age, and thought “PERFECT!”

    I made a batch of your apple crisp, and it is WONDERFUL! My husband and I managed to eat the whole thing in two days – just polished off the last of it. Couldn’t help ourselves. Warmed up, with a little milk poured over it – divine! Thanks for the recipe!

  • mooncrazy
    October 20, 2007

    Oh I do like a bit of that the next morning for breakfast. I think the addition of the egg sounds quite different but tasty.

  • Cakespy
    October 21, 2007

    I am extremely in love with the fact that you give a suggestion for the best way to eat it for breakfast. Baked goods in the morning…sweet!

  • Alicia
    October 22, 2007

    I never had an apple crisp, but it certainly looks delicious. I’ll give this a try once is finally starts to feel like fall!

  • Rain
    October 29, 2007

    Best apple crisp ever! I loved this recipe. The topping really made the difference – yummy!

  • casin bonus italiano
    March 1, 2008

    Thanks for a lovely site, I am very impressed 🙂

  • vegas red
    March 1, 2008

    So very glad I found this truly great site 🙂

  • marion/south africa
    May 8, 2008


  • Connie
    November 11, 2008

    This is exactly the same recipe I was raised on – from grandmother to mother to me to my children. It’s simple and down-to-earth with pure autumn flavors – no oatmeal, no granola, no nuts. Just lovely sweet apples and cinnamon with a crispy, buttery top. I’ve loved this yummy dessert all my life. Try using Granny Smith apples. They hold their shape well and add a lovely tartness to balance to sugar. If you haven’t made this yet, what are you waiting for? Cheers!

  • Krissy
    March 12, 2009

    Hi! I made this last night and it was great, but I agree with ohiogirl — it did taste more like a cobbler. The topping was like a biscuit topping, instead of the crumbly top I’m used to. But hey, I’m not complaining, it still was a great dessert!

  • Marsha
    June 22, 2009

    Thanks for the recommendation of Braeburn apples. I’d been using Empires, and it just didn’t come out quite right.

    With the Braeburns, it was perfect.

  • cool cars hot chicks
    May 18, 2010

    keepp it up

  • well done, really nice website!

  • loveallah
    August 21, 2010

    This apple pie recipie is very easy to make and dosnt make alot of mess.
    Mine is in the oven right now and i can smell the apple with the cinnamon from where im sitting…..mmm smells good.
    Thanks for the recipie i hope itll be just as great. 😉

  • Charlotte from AZ
    January 19, 2013

    This is fabulous!! Always like to try different versions of the recipes that I have gr

  • Charlotte from AZ
    January 19, 2013

    Fabulous!! I, too, had this in my childhood! I will be making it your way this evening!! Thanks for sharing and great site by the way!!

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