Mom’s Apple Crisp

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It’s 4th of July! And nothing says ‘Merica like an apple crisp recipe from a mom who taught you to cook and spends her days playing jazz and volunteering at her church. My mom is the reason I cook. When we were young, every night for dinner we had a choice between doing dishes or helping mom cook. My siblings chose cleaning for the lower time commitment aspect, and I chose cooking because it was more fun. My siblings are smart, but no one in the family can boil water better than I can.

This recipe is one of my mom’s favorites. It’s delicious, crowd-pleasing, easy, and can be made ahead and frozen for later. I’m pretty sure my mom always has a rotating frozen apple crisp in her freezer. The only thing you really need to know about this recipe before we get started is that it’s really addicting. Really. And you will, somehow, justify eating this with each meal including as your morning breakfast (it’s apples!). You’ve been warned, now let’s get cooking!

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Moms are the BEST cooking buddies! And yes, you do need this Apple Peeler – Corer from Williams – Sonoma to make this recipe much easier to make

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Apples galore!

Ingredients
1 1/2c flour
1 1/2c sugar
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
2tsp nutmeg
2 sticks COLD butter
3-4lbs apples (fuji or gala)

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl, sift or fork-mix together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut butter into small squares. Crumbling the butter in your fingers into the dry ingredients  until it resembles a crumbly texture (see photo below).

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Yup, you actually do need to measure

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Make sure to mix your dry ingredients before adding your butter

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Here’s the right consistency for your crumble top

Use apple peeler-corer (I like this one from Williams Sonoma) to peel and core apples. Cut up apple into 1/3 or 1/4 pieces and place them into a large, 16 3/4″ x 10 1/2 glass rectangular bake, piling the apples in until rounded (see photo below).  Smoosh the crumble topping on top of apples (see photo below). Place the glass baker on a cookie sheet. This helps catch any drippings when you put it in the oven.

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Make sure your apples are nice and piled up – they cook down about 1/3 in the oven

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Smoosh the toppings down on your apples so it’s nice and compact before baking

At this point, you can wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for an easy make-ahead meal. I swear, my mom always has this in her freezer for a last-minute dessert!

Bake in 375 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, letting cool before serving. I serve this with vanilla ice cream and (shhhh) I also eat this as breakfast!

Ta-Da! ‘Merican apple crisp!

Blackberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Glaze: aka totes cheating on my Paleo

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

I totes cheated. I totes cheated badly. I didn’t want to, but I had exactly 3 reasons I cheated on my dairy-free, no refined sugar life.

  1. I wanted to

Because honestly, you only need one reason to make Blackberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Glaze: because you want to. But you really get pushed over the edge if 3 things happen on Sunday:

  1. You realize it’s blackberry season and find the freshest blackberries from JSM Organics in Monterey County, CA
  2. The shop that sells aged balsamic vinegarWe Olive, just happens to be on your walk home (if you walk 0.6 miles the other way and then come 0.6 miles back)
  3. Those two ingredients BEG to be set up on a Sunday night double date with your friends, cream & sugar

And so, I cheated. Blackberries are in season and they pair amazing with fresh, organic cream. Aged balsamic vinegar reduced with sugar provides an unexpected salty topping for your fresh ice cream. Get ready to cheat and like it, because here’s the delicious recipe.

Simple ingredients for the entire recipe: vanilla, sugar, fresh blackberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh whipping cream

Simple ingredients for the recipe: vanilla, sugar, fresh blackberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh creams

Blackberry Ice Cream with Aged Balsamic Glaze

A few notes before I start, since I’m digging the bullet points today (product of a successful Monday at work).

  1. Ice cream generally has few ingredients, so make those ingredients count: buy the best and freshest. If you are buying your blackberries from Costco (Mom!), you’re doing it wrong
  2. Your ice cream maker, unless you are blessed to have the $300 version, must be pre-frozen and your ingredients must be cold. Give yourself time to do both properly
  3. Drink a Coyote Canyon Sangiovese while you make this recipe. It pairs perfectly and I needed 3 bullet points to feel valid about this whole bullet point thing
Fresh blackberries from JSM Organics and aged balsamic vinegar from We Olive

Fresh blackberries from JSM Organics and aged balsamic vinegar from We Olive

Ingredients

For Ice Cream:
2 1/2 quarts     blackberries
1c                      sugar
2c                      whipping cream
2c                      half & half
2tbs                   vanilla
1tsp                   salt

For balsamic glaze:
1/2c                  aged balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbs              sugar

Make the Ice Cream
In a medium sized bowl, smash or partially puree blackberries. I keep mine partially chunky, but you can opt to puree and strain if you prefer a smoother, seed-free ice cream. Macerate berries with sugar, which is just me using a fancy, chefy word to explain the process where fruit is broken down, sugar is added, and then naturally those berries further break down to release juices and their natural sugars.

Lookit me, I'm maceratin'

Maceration: not a dirty word

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the whipping cream and half & half. Add vanilla, salt and macerated berries. Simmer on low until flavors meld, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Half & half, whipping cream and vanilla makes pretty saucepan art

Half & half, whipping cream and vanilla makes pretty saucepan art

Add berries to the mixture and watch everyone make friends

Add berries to the mixture and watch everyone make friends

Cool in the refrigerator overnight (best) or in the freezer 1 hour. Follow ice cream maker instructions to finish ice cream. Here are my photos from the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. The bowl has to be frozen overnight, then the recipe must be split and made in 2 batches. Simply put, add base and run ice cream maker for about 20 minutes, then freeze for an additional hour. From start to finish on the ice cream:

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Ta-Da! Perfect, summery, fresh blackberry ice cream. Now to make the perfect salty topping…

Make the Aged Balsamic Glaze
In a small sauté pan over medium high heat, gently boil the balsamic vinegar until reduced to about half the original liquid remains. Add sugar to taste (careful, it’s sticky and hot). After sugar has dissolved, turn down low and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Original amount of balsamic vinegar

Original amount of balsamic vinegar

Reduced vinegar

Reduced vinegar

A tip on thickness of your glaze: the more you reduce and the longer you simmer, the thicker the glaze becomes. However, it will further thicken when cooled. 10 minutes seems about the right amount of simmer time to slightly thicken and then cooling will take care of the rest. Drizzle cooled balsamic glaze on finished ice cream and enjoy, noting all bullet points of the reasons you like this:

  1. Because you made it
Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze