Apple crisp is an absolute must as the leaves start to turn - it just screams fall! Easy enough for a weeknight, this classic dessert combines fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg infused apples with a crisp, crumbly oat mixture that gives you the ideal crunch in every bite!
I've always loved apple pie - one day I'll actually share the recipe I've adapted from something my grandmother used to make for us. But let's be real, most of us don't have time to make and roll pie dough on a weeknight so if you still want a cozy dessert for your midweek date night this apple crisp gives you all of the taste of an apple pie with much less work!
Ever fall I say I want to go apple picking, yet I've still never done it. If you can get to an apple orchard and pick fresh apples for this crisp even better, but these days most grocery stores carry a bounty of apple varieties, so take your pick and use your favorite when making this crisp.
Why do you saute the apples first?
I've experimented with this quite a bit and I find that sautéing the apples just for a bit before you bake the crisp ensure they are all well cooked and that the top of the crisp doesn't end up getting too brown while you are waiting for the apples to finish cooking. I also think it gives them a little more depth of flavor.
You'll notice I use a separate skillet to sauté them. That's mostly because sautéing them in the mini skillets would be difficult. I like transferring the apples to the mini skillets because, well who doesn't love cute mini desserts. If you don't have mini skillets or just don't want to dirty multiple pans you can cook the apples in a 9-10" cast iron skillet and then add the topping directly on top and pop the whole thing in the oven without dirtying an extra pan!
Do you keep the skin on the apples?
I think this is a personal preference. I know some people that insist on taking the skin off, which is fine. I happen to like it on so I just leave it - this cuts down on prep time and if you use a red-skinned apple like Galas you get a nice pop of color in your crisp.
To finish it off, I like to top the entire thing with a big scoop of vanilla gelato and drizzle it with a little bit of caramel sauce while it's still warm from the oven. You can either make your own caramel sauce or buy your favorite version at the grocery store. It's also great after it cools off a bit and then served at room temperature. With its great flavor combo, this apple crisp is sure to become your favorite fall dessert!
THINGS YOU MAY WANT FOR THIS RECIPE
Cast Iron Skillet – While you can certainly guess at these measurements, why not grab a set of these cute little measuring spoons so you are always including just the right amount of an ingredient in your recipes.
Skillet Apple Crisp
For the apple filling:
- 3 granny smith or gala apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
- ½ cup regular or candied pecans, chopped
- ½ cup of vanilla gelato or ice cream
- caramel sauce
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Melt the butter in a large sauteé pan. Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes until the apples begin to soften.
- Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir until the apples are well coated. Divide the apples between two mini (6-inch) cast iron skillets.
- Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the butter and used a pastry cutter or a fork mix everything together until a coarse meal forms. Stir in the pecans.
- Divide the topping between the two skillets. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cook slightly. Top with gelato and caramel sauce before serving.
I love little individual desserts and these apple crisps look perfect for fall holiday gatherings. So much better than a traditional fall pie!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
I am the biggest sucker for anything served in a skillet, especially desserts. This looks so good and I can only imagine how lovely the house smells as it bakes!
I know for sure if I show this to my husband, he would want this for dessert tonight. I love cooking with my cast iron skillets...so maybe I will surprise him on the weekend.
I love making apple crisp this time of year! Never tried it in a skillet though..going to have to give that a whirl!
Kelly Anthony says
So perfect and comforting for the fall! Anything apple is my go to! Can't wait to attempt a crisp! YUM!
Jenni LeBaron says
Apple crisp is one of my all-time favorite dessert recipes and this version looks killer! I love that it's made in a skillet because I think that helps everything get caramelized and crisp perfectly!
Marisa Franca says
We used to go apple picking when we had little ones at home. That was so much fun. And I would imagine you sauté the apples first to bring out the flavor. Just like roasting enhances the flavor of the vegetable I would think the apples have a more intense flavor. Apple Crisp is a big favorite of ours -- you've just inspired me to make it tonight.
You're so right - as much as I love to imagine myself as someone who has time to be happily making pie dough mid-week (or ... let's be real ... even on the weekend!), that's just not usually in the cards! This gorgeous apple crisp is a terrific alternative!
Leslie Haasch says
Apple crisp is one of my all time favorite fall desserts, and making them in mini skillets is just so cute!
Goodness, how I love apple season! I've got a huge number of baking apples in the fridge and coming up with ways to use them is so much fun! Trying this next. Thanks!
Perfect for fall! The skillet must get all sorts of good crispiness! The pecans sounds awesome in the topping too.
Sam | Ahead of Thyme says
YUMM, this looks like the perfect fall treat! Just what I was craving. Pinning to try this week!
Eileen Kelly says
I think this is just a perfect dessert! Since we have a semi-empty nest, the hubs and I are alone a lot more for dinner. This is the type of dessert he loves! I have the same small skillets and I think everyone should have them too! The apple crisp is easy , tasty and delicious!
I love those little skillets - so many great ways to use them!
This is definitely one of my favorite apple recipes! I love that you added pecans in the crumble, I usually add toasted hazelnuts, but I'm curious to try it with pecans, will give it a go soon 🙂
It would be great with toasted hazelnuts too. Or maybe a combo of both! 🙂
Noel Lizotte says
I love apple crisp ... it's time to make a batch or two. This recipe looks so close to my family's recipe ... I'd bet we were related LOL !!
I love family recipes!
I have those mini skillets and when I have made apple crisp in them they have given the dessert a v strong iron taste which was quite unpleasant, have u ghad that experience before? Wondering what I can do to my skillets to stop that happening??
Urban Foodie Kitchen says
Hi Jess - As long as you season your cast iron skillets well you shouldn't get a strong cast iron taste when cooking. I don't recommend storing leftovers of the crisp or anything for that matter, in a cast-iron skillet as that can cause an after taste to develop.