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Charity’s Kitchen: Mixing up the best apple crisp

When apple season commences in my household the fruit flies shake their heads in disbelief as the apples fly out of the bowl in a feeding frenzy.

My favorite eating apple is the Macoun, and you can buy them now at farmstands all over the East End. Tom Wickham, whose family has farmed Wickham’s Fruit Farm since 1661 once advised me that Macouns will keep three weeks refrigerated or 10 days if not.

They are a good choice for apple pie or apple crisp as they have a lot more body than some varieties and don’t cook down as much.

Wickham says, “When cooking apples, a mixture of varieties is best. The flavors are more complex and the different textures complement each other.” We live in apple country, where a dizzying variety of superior apples from the darkest Black Arkansas, to the palest Golden Delicious are ripening now.

This recipe for apple crisp could use any three varieties, but ideally for cooking try Cortland, Mutsu (aka Crispin) and Jonagold.  I use unpeeled apples, and slice them very thin to get more flavor, texture, and a nice rosy color in the cooked apples.

Three-Variety Apple Crisp
Serves 6

30 minutes prep time
40 minutes baking time

3 to 4 baseball-size apples, preferably a mix of Cortland, Jonagold and Mutsu, cored and sliced thin to make 6 cups of fruit

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

2 ounces softened butter

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8-inch-wide, 4-inch-deep baking dish.

2. Toss the peeled, sliced apples with the lemon juice and put into the buttered dish.

3. Mix the brown sugar, flour, oats, butter, nuts, spices and vanilla together in a bowl, squeezing and rolling with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.

4. Sprinkle the sugar/oats mixture over the apples in a rough layer.

5. Bake about 40 minutes or until the topping is browned and the apples are fork-tender. 6. For dessert, top with whipped cream or ice cream. It also makes a fine breakfast, topped with a 1/4 cup of heated milk.