I can never imagine having reached where I have in my culinary journey without having simple and effective recipes like this one, in my arsenal. My Brown Butter Apple Crisp has been labelled an apple crumble, has been made with peaches, with almond & strawberries, and with mixed fruit. It’s gone through a bevy of avatars, adding some cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, brown butter, almonds, hazelnut, walnut, raisins. You get the gist.
The reason I love this particular version is not only because it is simple (it is, really simple!) but also because I adore crumbles/crisps that use oats in the topping, and not only flour. The texture and wholesomeness of flavour that the oats adds, is rather lovely, and needless to say, it is a whole lot healthier than flour. For the gluten intolerants out there, I would also be tempted to swap the flour for oat flour, and see whether that works just as well! (or even almost as well).
Why this sudden urge to mention ‘gluten’ on a blog that adores baking, and not just any kind of baking — baking with the good stuff! Well since Monday (yeah, I do know it’s only Thursday, but thats still 4 full days!) I’ve made a concerted effort to steer clear of wheat, like, you know, totally. And yes, that was well before I made this brown butter apple crisp. To be quite honest, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be, also because I can still eat a lot of my favourite snack foods like popcorn and roasted foxnuts. I think the one time it may kill my soul is when my body calls for pizza (yeah, my body does that – don’t pretend like yours doesn’t! :P). But, I am hoping this happens here, soon! In the mean time, imaginary pizzas will just have to do! On a side note, how amazing does this look?! Time to seriously re-start my Locavore series.
Back to my apple crisp heaven.
Since you might have been introduced to my Sprig obsession, I used some of their cinnamon and vanilla demerara sugar here, along with the standard one from BlueBird. Some almonds and oats for texture, and then good old butter. A lot of people like using unsalted butter, which works extremely well in deserts, but I don’t mind minimising the fuss and using regular salted butter for the crisp. And for the brown butter.
Brown Butter + Apple = BOOM!
We got a winner.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (see text above on the sugars I used)
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup butter, softened and cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 180*c. Generously grease an lovely clear baking dish.
- To make the topping: Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and almonds in a large bowl until well-combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. Once finished, place topping in the fridge and begin making the apple filling.
- To make the filling: Place butter and seeds from the vanilla bean (plus the pod) in a medium saucepan, and turn heat on medium. After a couple of minutes the butter will begin to crackle and foam—make sure you whisk consistently during this process! Another minute or two, and you will notice the butter turning a slight brown (caramel) color on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to give off a seductive and nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to another bowl to prevent it from burning, and discard the pod. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- While the butter is cooling, place apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the brown butter to this apple mixture and toss again to combine.
- Take a heaping ½ cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Place the apple mixture in prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping. It may seem like a lot of topping, but the apples will cook down and the topping will provide an excellent crunchy exterior.
- Bake the crisp on a baking sheet (just in case the filling bubbles over!) for 55-60 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
- Can be made up to a day prior and stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped.
- The topping and brown butter filling can be made and stored separately up to 3-4 days in advance, and just tossed with fresh fruits when ready to bake!
- I would definitely attempt this with oat flour next time, in place of all purpose flour.