apple-crisp

Well, yesterday I had a horrible time thinking of new and innovative recipes.  After deliberating for the whole morning and most of the afternoon, I finally decided on a caramel sauce I had been wanting to try.  I thought how nice and simple that would be—apple slices and caramel.  And it will take only ten minutes!

It did not take ten minutes.  My first batch burned, and I had to send my husband out  to buy more cream.  Then I wasn’t happy with the photography.  I was very stressed out and pathetically dramatic.  (Now my kids’ teachers will know how close to the tree the apple lands around this house.)

apple-crisp-6

When I could see that a new post for yesterday was impossible, late last night I made some apple crisp to pair up with some ice cream and the improved batch of caramel sauce.    I hope you like it.

apple crisp

For the apple part:
6-7 seven small Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup (55g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the crisp:
1 cup (150g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (70g) almond flour (or 1/2 cup slivered almonds chopped up in a food processor)
1/4 cup (55g) brown sugar
3/4 cup (165g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons, or 170g) cold, unsalted butter, cut in pieces

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius).

2.  In a large bowl, combine apple chunks, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Place in a medium sized casserole dish.

3.  In a separate large bowl, whisk all ingredients besides butter.  Add in butter, and using your fingers, break up until mixture is well combined, and clumps together.  Form into a ball, and crumble over the fruit.

4.  Place on a cookie sheet to catch drips, and bake for one hour, or until a knife inserted to the bottom of the dish meets little resistance.  (In other words, the apples should be soft and cooked through.) Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce (recipe follows).

caramel sauce

Please read all these directions a couple times before starting, and get all your ingredients set out before hand.  Kick all other family members out of the kitchen, and best of luck.  Caramel is very simple, but it requires good timing.  Remember, I burned my first batch, so you might want extra cream on hand in case that happens.  Experience is the best teacher for this.  Give yourself plenty of time,  and don’t be discouraged if it isn’t perfect at first.  Once I got the hang of it, I made an extra batch which came out as well as the one before it.

3/4 cup heavy cream (make sure it is heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, not regular whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (220g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (65g) water
1 teaspoon butter

1.  Measure out cream into a liquid measuring cup.  Stir in vanilla and set aside within an easy reach of the stove.

2.  Stir sugar and water in a medium pot with tall sides.  Set over medium-high heat.  As the sugar dissolves and begins to boil, you may swirl the pot to mix the boiling sugar water.  DO NOT STIR WITH A SPOON.  This will make the sugar crystalize.

apple-crisp-1 apple-crisp-2

3.  As the sugar syrup boils, watch very carefully for the color to change.  You are looking for a nice, warm amber color, about the shade of cinnamon sticks.  Don’t let it get any darker.  (Even if it doesn’t look burnt, it can taste burnt.  If it starts to smoke, you’ve let it go too far.)  On a side note, my candy thermometer did not reach far enough into the pot to get an accurate reading of the syrup, but with such a small amount of syrup, the temperature changes pretty quickly anyway.  It’s best to watch it and wait for it to turn the right color.

apple-crisp-3 apple-crisp-4

4.  As soon as it turns the proper amber color, pull the pot off the heat.  Whisk in the butter, and then pour in the vanilla-cream mixture.  It will now bubble violently.  Whisk carefully but briskly.  The caramel will start to solidify a bit., but keep whisking.   Put the pot of caramel over low heat and whisk carefully for a minute or two until smooth.  Pour into a heat proof jar, and allow to cool.  Can be refrigerated for up to a week (Well, I think. Mine never lasts that long.)

apple-crisp-5