Do you ever order apple crisp in restaurants? I always think homemade apple crisp tastes better, but one thing I do love about restaurant versions is the presentation. It usually comes to the table perfectly portioned in its own ramekin, with a crown of crunchy, crumbly topping and a dribble of apple filling running down the side. When I bake my tried-and-true apple crisp it’s unfailingly delicious, but it looks a little homely. I use my battered, trusty old 8×8-inch baking dish, and after the first serving is scooped the rest of the crisp collapses and the filling oozes out into the pan.
Not anymore. Here is a recipe for apple crisp so stunning, it’s practically worthy of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. (Well, maybe not quite, but a girl can dream!) In researching this recipe, I borrowed one important tactic from the great site Sally’s Baking Addiction, which was incorporating a little cornstarch. It gives the filling a wonderful gooiness, and helps hold everything together once the apples have been sliced open.
Added bonus? These are pretty healthy! I made them with whole wheat flour, oats, raisins, and only a small amount of fat. I like to serve them topped with a giant scoop of coconut sorbet.
I used two tart Granny Smith apples for the filling, and four of the prettiest apples I could find for the “cups,” which were the red Jonathan variety. You can use whatever apples you prefer.
This is a vegan variation of a recipe I developed for weewestchester.com.
Apple Crisp-Stuffed Apples
Makes 4 very generous servings
For the apples and filling:
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons apple juice or water
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan shortening, diced, or coconut oil (unmelted)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and dice 2 of the apples. Combine them in a saucepan with the brown sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and apple juice or water. Add to the pan with the apples and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the apples have softened but still hold their shape and the liquid is thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the raisins and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, slice the tops off the remaining 4 apples and use a melon baller to scoop out the core and enough flesh to make a hollow cup (be careful not to puncture the sides or bottom).
To make the topping, combine the oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the Earth Balance or coconut oil and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together.
To assemble the apples, arrange the apple cups in an 8-x8-inch baking dish. Divide the filling evenly among the apple cups. Sprinkle with the topping (press down a little to make it stick). Carefully pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the dish. Transfer to the oven and bake until the topping is crisp and beginning to turn golden-brown and the apple cups give slightly to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes.