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Apples of Our Eye

November 20, 2020
apple crisp

Back in July we wrote about the three apple trees on our front lawn bearing abundant fruit, and were looking forward to a good harvest come autumn. But between hungry squirrels and crows and, for the first time this year, yellowjackets, only a half-dozen apples survived in an edible form. Next year we’ll double down on yellowjacket traps; there’s not much we can do about other critters, though if not for the insects there would still have been a good crop.

In the past, Wayne has baked a succession of apple crisps which were doubly satisfying for being made with our own apples. This year we had to drive an hour to Windy Hill Farm in south county to buy two bags of their freshly picked honeycrisps. Those are gone now, but our Big Y supermarket had bags of organic Fuji, so apple crisp has been on the menu again. Here’s Wayne’s recipe:


Peel, core, and slice 5 or 6 apples, medium or large size (they cook down). Grease a pie plate or the like (Wayne uses a 9-inch ceramic quiche dish, as in the photo). Add the sliced apples in layers, with 1/4 cup raisins (Wayne uses golden raisins). Add a sprinkling of granulated sugar and ground cinnamon (or apple pie spice) per layer, more or less sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit. (The topping of course will add sugar. This recipe on the whole minimizes sweetness to allow the taste of the apples to come through.)

Combine in a medium bowl 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/8 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, a dash each of cinnamon and cloves (or apple pie spice), and a pinch of salt. Rub or cut in 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; the result can be rough. Spread this mixture evenly over the apples.

Preheat an oven to 375° F (190° C or Gas Mark 5). Put the dish with the combined apples and topping in a shallow pan, cookie sheet, or the like, to catch any spill-over, and bake for about 45 minutes, until the topping is a golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

  1. Hanneke permalink
    November 20, 2020 12:34 pm

    Known over here as apple crumble and so delicious! I add oats to the topping. Thanks for the recipe!

    • November 20, 2020 12:56 pm

      It’s also called apple crumble in parts of the U.S., or apple brown betty (or just apple betty). Definitions vary. We’ve tried oats in the topping — which some say go into a crisp, others into a crumble — but found them a bit too chewy for our tastes. We want to try this also with peaches, once peach season comes around again.

  2. Lee Warne permalink
    November 23, 2020 12:28 pm

    Apple pie looks fantastic. So much better when you grow your own ingredients.

    As an aside, I’m a Tolkien Fan from the UK and I really appreciate your work in this area and wondered if there was a way to purchase copies of your Tolkien Collector at all?

    Your website suggests the last issue was 33 back in 2013, but I’m more than happy to purchase whatever back copies you may have, if any do actually still exist.

    • November 24, 2020 3:18 pm

      Lee, back issues 1, 11, and 20-33 are currently available; see for ordering details.

      • Lee Warne permalink
        November 25, 2020 10:03 am

        Hi, many thanks for this. I did read that but wasn’t sure if it was up-to-date or not. I’ll be in touch – apologies for hijacking the apple pie post. (I hope it was delicious!!)

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