This is the apple crisp from my childhood (there is no oatmeal in the topping). If I could only pick one dessert to make the rest of my life, this would probably be it. Mom always made this in her beautiful copper au gratin pan. I bought the same pan when I got married, just so I could make this dessert. Originally from the 1966 version of the "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery", Mom adapted it slightly over the years (with a little help from Cooks Illustrated I think). Cutting the apples into "cubes" (instead of slices) helps the apples keep the apples firm throughout. I have made this with pecans or walnuts. I have also made it without nuts. I like it best with pecans, but all versions are yummy!! I love it warm or cold. You can serve it with ice cream, but I usually only do that for dinner parties.
- Cut cold butter into small cubes. Place in freezer to chill further.
- PREPARE APPLES.
- Peel apples.
- Cut an apple into quarters. Cut out core. Cut each apple slice one more time so that there are 8 slices.
- Cube the apple by cutting each slice the "short" way 2 or 3 times. Apple chunks should be no smaller than 1 inch (or they will get too mushy when cooking).
- Cube the remaining apples.
- Put apples into an 8 1/2 x 12 inch au gratin casserole dish, or an equivalent baking dish (it's pretty forgiving).
- Pour water over apples.
- PREPARE TOPPING:.
- In the food processor put the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and flour. Pulse until combined.
- Remove butter from freezer and put into food processor.
- Pulse to blend. Topping should be smaller than peas but not as fine as cornmeal.
- Add 3/4 cups chopped pecans pulse too mix.
- Sprinkle topping over apples evenly.
- Cover dish with foil.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
- Bake for 30 more minutes.
- Cool before serving.