Before we had to scratch our plans entirely, Judith and Tim invited everyone to their cozy Park Slope apartment (which happens to have a high-definition TV). Judith decided to make macaroni and cheese, Mark threw in his signature meatball subs, Scott was assigned veggies and dip, and just like that, our plans changed from pizza to impromptu potluck.
When trying to come up with a dessert that Daniel and I could bring over, I thought of the enormous bag of apples we'd picked during our anniversary trip in the Catskills last weekend. I first planned on just roasting them, then considered trying out the new cast iron pan I'd bought specifically for tarte tatin, but finally decided on Ina Garten's Old Fashioned Apple Crisp using a mixture of McIntosh, Winesap and Red Rome.
We prepared the crisp at home and baked it for about an hour once we arrived at Tim and Judith's. Though the apples had been bubbling as Ina said they would, they were still pretty firm, not soft and mushy as I had hoped. As I grumpily tried to cut the tough fruit with a spoon, Judith enthusiastically devoured hers. I complained that they needed to be more tender and she pointed out that their crunchier texture made it easier to appreciate the three types of apple. She also loved how the addition of orange zest and freshly squeezed juice added a tangy touch to the crisp. I felt it clashed a bit with the nutmeg and cinnamon. The chocolate chip ice cream we plopped on each piece (Key Foods was out of plain vanilla) was also a bit too unusual for me, but the bursts of chocolate worked well with the citrusy flavors.
I'm much more of an apple crisp purist, but because Judith's such a devoted fan of This Little Piglet, I thought I'd post the recipe, and the not so good pic we took of it, just for her.
I also thought I'd let her know that the next morning, Daniel woke up and immediately starting reheating the leftover crisp she'd packed up for us. I had a date with a 10:15 spinning class, but decided to cancel so Ina's dessert could have one more chance.
After another half hour or so in the oven, the apples finally softened, the orange flavor mellowed out a bit, and the buttery sweet topping became even crispier. It might not be the best dessert in my book, but as an early morning breakfast, it was delicious.
Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp
From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties!
5 pounds McIntosh or Granny Smith Apples
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
½ pound cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x14x2 inch oval baking dish (I use a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish, but any baking dish will do. If it's small, use two).
Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar and spices. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas (about 5 minutes). Scatter evenly over the apples. Place the crisp on a sheet pan (juices tend to bubble over the sides of the baking dish) and bake for one hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.