Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Recipe of the Week: Neighbor-Gift Apple Crumble
I have the pleasure of living across the street from the sweetest, liveliest, kindest old man. He and his wife are Japanese and I stand almost a head taller than the both of them. I often find that when I'm in close proximity to this couple I have to mentally restrain myself from hugging them. It must be the combo of the perfect-hug-height and the fact that they are a pair of the nicest people in the world. The husband cares for his ailing wife, who is blind, but he manages to have the most impeccable yard and apple trees. So, like I said, he really is the sweetest man on the planet...or at least the block.
A week or so ago, as I screeched my car to a stop in front of my house, he bolted out into the middle of the street saying, "Do you like apples? Would you like some apples? Here are some apples for you! But wash them off really well and I apologize if there are any worms!" I had barely gotten out if my car and he heaped a HUGE bag of apples into my arms. He laughed and said if I needed any more I knew where to find them.
So this gluten-free recipe came to existence because of necessity and guilt: necessity because I had 10 lbs. of apples chilling in my kitchen and guilt because I knew I would hate myself for letting my neighbor's gift go to waste if I let them spoil/find their final resting place in the garbage can.
Neighbor-Gift Apple Crumble
Heaps of peeled, cored, and sliced apples, about 5 lbs. pre-peeled
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 - 1/2 granulated sugar
3 t cinnamon, divided
1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks), cold and chopped into cubes
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
Couple pinches of salt
Optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Throw all of the prepped apples into a big bowl with the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and granulated sugar. I like my crumbles to be tart, so add more sugar to taste if you like it sweeter. Let that sit until the juice from the apples has dissolved most of the sugar. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, butter, oats, and salt. Combine with a pastry cutter or your hands until well combined and clumpy. It doesn't have to be completely mixed together, just well combined. Add the nuts, if using and give the mixture a few stirs.
In a buttered 9x11 glass dish, dump in the apples with all of their juices. Top the apples with the oat mixture, making sure it's no thicker than an inch. It's ok to have the apple filling poking through in spots. Put the dish on a cookie sheet to guard against spills and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.
Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Invite your neighbors over. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy the company and the crumble!