Sunday, October 7, 2012

Skillet Apple Crisp

I'm not an apple pie kinda girl. I could take it or leave it.

I have somewhat of a beef with pie crusts in general. Don't know how it happened, because my mom thinks it's the best part of the pie. Blasphemy! It's without question the ooey gooey inside. Am I right?

What I do go gah gah over is an awesome apple crisp. And this is it folks. This is the apple crisp that trumps all others. It involves tender (but not mushy gushy) apples enveloped in a dreamy syrup and covered in a perfectly sweet and crispy crumble.

Ice cream is not optional here! If you're a whipped cream kinda person you can substitute that. Drizzle a little caramel on top and prepare to be delighted beyond all reason.

The iron skillet is the secret to perfection here. I'm starting to think my iron skillet has been my best investment ever. I use it weekly. If you have yet to discover the wonders of the iron skillet, please go and get one! I got mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond for like 15 bucks. And it has repaid itself 100 fold by now I'm sure.

But back to this blessed crisp. I made this when my dad-in-law came to Cville all of the way from Utah last week and he couldn't get enough! In fact, all of us ate so much that we got sick off of it and spent the remainder of the night moaning and groaning in pain. So just make sure you have a few others to share this with, or you'll end up with a stomach ache. It's just so easy to keep scraping a little bit more out of the pan until well, it's all gone.

Skillet Apple Crisp
Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker & Cooks Illustrated
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

For the Topping:
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
  • 3 pounds Golden Delicious apples (or any sweet variety like crisp, pink lady, gala, fuji—do not use granny smith in this recipe) peeled, cored, halved, and cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Start with the Topping. Combine the flour, pecans, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is moistened and crumbly. Set aside.

For the filling, toss the apples, granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set aside. Bring the apple cider to a simmer in a 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium heat. Cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer the reduced apple cider to a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside.

Heat the butter in the now-empty skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the apple mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the apples begin to soften and become translucent, 10-12 minutes. (Do not fully cook the apples) Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the apple cider mixture and toss to coat the apples.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool until warm, 5-15 minutes, and serve with a big scoop of vanilla (or in my case cookie dough) ice cream. To. Die. For.

Grades and I had the most marvelous couple of days spending time with his dad. We saw all of the sights, from Jefferson's Monticello, to Oriole Park, to Washington, D.C. It was a bit exhausting--we must have walked a million miles in D.C., but I wouldn't trade any of it! We're so delighted that he made the trip. It was an unforgettable experience having him here with us. 


  1. This looks like a keeper! I will try this soon. I'm not that big on crumby apple crisps, but this looks terrific with the ice cream for moisture. Loved the pics and happy memories of a great weekend, but the exception of the subway pic which got my stomach a little queasy at just the sight of it. Btw, the sweet potatoes were fabulous, though her topping ingredient amounts were much too skimpy. Or maybe it was those gynormous mutant potatoes. Can't believe how many potatoes we got from one stinking plant. You must plant some next year!

    1. I told you that you should double it! Triple it even. Roasted sweet potatoes are good even with barely anything on them anyway. Haha you shall never need to endure the subway again. We should plant some sweet potatoes. They are soo delicious! Glad you'll try the apple crisp. Seems like something daddy would especially love!

  2. Just wanted to vouch that this crisp is SOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have the actual magazine, so I made the original; the only difference is that Cook's Illustrated calls for just 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon in the filling. The author of the recipe is Yvonne Ruperti. Also, if you haven't yet, you have GOT to try the other two variations on the same page of the magazine article - the Skillet Apple Crisp with Vanilla, Cardamom, and Pistachios is crazy good with all these extra flavors going on, and the Skillet Apple Crisp with Rasperries and Almonds is delicious; I've made them both twice already! If you have an online subscription to, the online extra Skillet Apple Crisp with Maple and Bacon is obviously also really good :) For some reason, I'm not a big fan of apple crisps normally, maybe they just don't always have enough topping for me, but these four apple crisps from the Cook's Illustrated September & October 2010 issue are all AMAZING!!!

    Speaking of that issue, I also made the Rosemary Focaccia from the previous page for Easter this week, and that was also really really really good! OK, now I'm wanting to look through some more...ah, the Easier Fried Chicken; Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce; Steamed Chinese Dumplings (Shu Mai); and Bruschetta with Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan were also super loved in our house! Great issue ... but then, they always are good recipes from Cooks Illustrated!

    I will have to try it in a skillet - must say the 6 crisps I've made from this page have all turned out delicious in a regular skillet as well, but the cast iron sounds fun to get some good browning on those apples! Great idea! Christopher Kimball is so enamored with cast iron that I have a feeling he makes his in a cast iron skillet too!