Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rainy Days - Apple Crisp

The rain's been pouring down outside for the past two days. The wind's picked up outside, but inside I've got some homemade chicken soup on the stove, apple crisp just out of the oven, Ray LaMontagne on the radio, and, candles, in lieu of a fireplace. It's pretty cozy in here.

I love rainy days. They make a great excuse to stay in and cook. But they also lend a great moody quality to a road trip. Yesterday found us wine tasting in Dry Creek, just outside Healdsburg. We started the day at Preston Vineyards and ended at Unti. Stopping only for sandwiches, and for quick walk through the dripping vineyards. The valley was positively cloaked in fall, with golden leaves, heavy fog and pouring rain that never let up.

I wanted to stand out in between the vines forever, breathing in the smell of wet leaves, rain and woodsmoke. Simply fall. It's easy to love.

But back to the cozy indoors...where the soup is ready, Ray is singing, and the apple crisp is still warm, steam rising from the bubbling, caramelized juices. And I'm thinking, "This was a good idea."

Apple Crisp

For the apples:
2 Tbsp. lightly packed brown sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cardamom
5-6 large apples, roughly cut into same size pieces. I used half Rome apples and half Honeycrisp

For the topping:
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 egg, beaten well
7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375, with a rack in the middle of the oven.

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Add the apples, and gently combine. Arrange the apples in an ungreased deep 9-inch pie plate, cake pan or a large glass dish.

In a second bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the topping the sugar through the salt. Whisk to blend well and then add the egg. Combine by using your hands, mixing thoroughly and squeezing and pinching the dough together until it creates a shaggy mess. Spread the mixture evenly over the apples.

Spoon the butter evenly over the topping, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is browned and the apples are tender. Cool.

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