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.