Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stovetop Apples with a Crunchy Topping

Too many apples? No way, that's not happening in this galley. I slice a lot apples for snacks, add them to salads, and bake scores of applicious breads and desserts. But... there hasn't been much baking happening this month since the galley oven died. While I'm searching for a suitable replacement this quick, skillet-on-the-stovetop version of apple crisp took care of recent dessert cravings. Good? oh yes, it even scored a two-thumbs-up rating from chief taster, Capt. Ron.

Read on for some rambling notes on apples, or skip to the end for the recipe that follows. I won't judge.

Ever since a chance tasting, a sample handed out by a vendor at Seattle’s Pike Place Market many years ago, Honeycrisp apples have been our favorite eating apple. Developed at the University of Minnesota in their search for new cold-hardy cultivars with high flavor, the Honeycrisp were first released in 1991. The sweet-tart balance and distinctive crunch brought early, widespread acceptance. Known for an “explosively crisp and juicy texture”, Honeycrisp quickly nudged aside the iconic Red Delicious, Washington State’s long-standing classic and traditional favorite. While we love Honeycrisps, they are typically the most expensive apples available, so I opt to use cheaper varieties for baking.

And then in October, while shopping at the marina's grocery, we happened upon a worthy Canadian competitor, the Ambrosia. Named after the “food of the gods” in mythology, this amazing apple delights multiple senses. It's unique appearance features a glossy, bi-coloured skin with a bright pink splash on a creamy-yellow background. Then there's its distinct perfumed aroma. Bite into an Ambrosia and revel its sweet, juicy and crisp-textured flesh. Mmmmm, no wonder this delicious, low-acid apple rates high in taste tests. Born from a chance seedling and finally registered in 1993, the Ambrosia has grown in popularity and is now available worldwide. Ambrosia is a low-acid apple making it easier to digest, is slow to brown and is great fresh or baked. 

Stovetop Apples with a Crunchy Topping

Streusel Topping:
1 stick (8 TBS or 4 oz) butter
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are favorites)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice* (or ground cinnamon)

Fruit Filling:

2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar (more if using tart apples)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
3 to 4 large apples; peeled, seeded & sliced

For the topping:
  1. Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet (cast iron or nonstick) over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine until the mixture is moist and "clumps".
  2. Place the skillet back on the burner and cook over low heat until the mixture is golden brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning! 
  3. Remove the streusel to a large plate or cookie sheet to cool; it will crisp up as it cools. Set aside if using soon, or store in an airtight container at room temperature if making a day or two ahead.

For the fruit:
  1. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar, cornstarch and spice; heat and stir continuously until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the apples, tossing carefully to coat each slice.
  3. Cover the skillet and cook over medium to medium-low heat until apples soften, roughly 7 or 8 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices. Uncover and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes more. Don't overcook the apples into applesauce!

To serve:
Top with streusel and offer ice cream or softly whipped cream to accompany, OR dish up individual parfait-style servings, alternating fruit with toppings.
Delicious served warm, this is also quite tasty at room temperature.

 *Penzey's Apple Pie Spice contains a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and cloves (link)

1 comment:

  1. ...and now sound the trumpets! WSU has announced a new premium Washington State apple, the Cosmic Crisp. Check out the Seattle Magazine story about this recent development.


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