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Somewhere in the pit of my storage room is a blue binder with Cook Book written in scraggly, child’s printing — possibly in silver crayon. There are a handful of pages of three-hole punched, lined paper inside and a series of dividers labelled with things like “dinner” and “dessert.” And on one of those pages is a recipe for Apple Crisp. For some reason I can even remember misspelling the recipe title and then making a doodle out of the error so the A in Apple was a little house with a chimney. Because, you know, that’s the kind of stuff I remember.

Apple Crisp was not necessarily a staple in my house growing up, but it is a dessert that conjures up memories of home and family. (For the record, we did have a fair share of this homey dessert.) There is comfort in the smell of cinnamon and apple cooking together in the oven, in the taste of the golden crumbly topping and the soft, sweet apples underneath, and the intermingling of hot dessert and cold vanilla ice cream. It’s no wonder I view it as the security blanket of desserts.

It’s equally no wonder that when I find myself with a plethora of apples that there is only one recipe I turn to.


It’s relatively fast, doesn’t take much prep and offers up the best kind of aromatherapy — a house that smells of apples and cinnamon.

I’m sure most people peel their apples first, so you get nothing by smooth apple goodness when you bite into a spoonful of crisp. But I am:

a) lazy

b) aware that there are many good nutrients in the peel

(The answer is A.)

So, I just cut chunks of apple off the core and then slice into uniformly sized pieces before dumping them all into the pie dish where I then toss them with the spices and sugar.

I found several recipes online where the cinnamon and nutmeg were designated for the topping, but that makes no sense to me. I want to flavour the apples and let the simplicity of the brown sugar-oat topping to stand on its own.

Spiced Apples

Apple Crisp before baking

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 6 cups sliced apples
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375. Slice the apples and toss with white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg before pouring into pie dish (or a casserole dish works just as well). In separate bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, salt and rolled oats. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly. Pour over apple mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until topping is golden and juices are bubbling up at the edges.