For Sunday dinner, friends were bringing over wine and ice cream, so I wanted to make something… who are we kidding, we still have apples left! Apples, apples, apples! With no frozen pie dough rounds, I made a skillet crisp instead.
The recipe comes from the Sept 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. On paper, it sounds like more work, since you cook it on the stove and finish it in the oven. But, in a traditional crisp, you’d have to cook the apples separately somehow, possibly pre-bake the topping, then bake the two together.
Our Cortland apples, after being in the fridge for so many weeks, had started to lose a lot of their moisture. So when they were cooked in the pan, the apples got softer a lot faster than I thought they would. They also didn’t completely fill the 12” cast iron pan I was using, so I microwaved a few more apples cut in chunks, and added them to the pan. In a significant deviation from the recipe, I didn’t bother to reduce any cider to boost flavour in the filling.
For me, the best part of this crisp is the topping. It had the perfect balance of flavour and texture: nutty, chewy, crispy, and buttery, all at the same time. Unfortunately, my filling resembled a chunky applesauce. I would cut my apples thicker next time, and keep a closer eye on them so that they don’t fully cook in the first step.