Toffee sauce adds richness to this tart autumn-fruit crisp. While nicely gooey, the slightly bitter undertone of "burnt sugar" makes the toffee sauce subtly but not overly sweet.
Blatantly stolen from Marilyn Bentz Crowley, with thanks!
For toffee sauce: Measure water into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan.
Add sugar and butter; do not stir!
Measure out whipping cream, set near the stove along with vanilla.
Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil without stirring. Let bubble briskly for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sugar begins to change colour. Swirl pan gently on the unit until the colour becomes deeply golden.
Avert your face (as hot steam rapidly rises) and near the side of the pan, pour in whipping cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Remove pan from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool until lukewarm before pouring into a container; sauce thickens as it cools. (Once cooled, sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to a week.)
Warm sauce in a small saucepan or briefly in the microwave before serving.
For crisp, evenly spread fruit in a 9 x 13-inch (3-L) baking dish or pan.
Stir brown sugar with flour and cinnamon; mix in oats. Pour in butter; stir until crumbs form and topping is evenly moistened.
Spread over fruit and bake in preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven 40 minutes, or until fruit is soft when tested with a skewer. Crisp is delicious warm or at room temperature.
To serve, pour about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of toffee syrup onto each serving plate, cover with a portion of the crisp and drizzle a bit more sauce over top.