I’m going to graduate this spring. I filled out the application and paid the stupid fee. (Seriously, I have to pay a fee to graduate? What the hell is my tuition for then?) Barring a giant screw-up, I’ll be entering the “real world” soon. I’m scared shitless.
See, I’ve had this magnificent plan since I was 9 years old: go to college for a journalism degree and proceed to be badass reporter lady. Except now, I’m a senior, and I have to figure out where I want to go. I have no clue. After living in California for a while, I know for damn sure that I do not want to go somewhere that is warm year-round. That’s right, I want winter in my life. Know why? Because drinking a nice microbrew while baking apple crisp on a cold night is possibly my favorite thing in life. Yes, I want to stay in the Northwest for the carbohydrates. It’s as good a reason as any.
So, this is the best apple crisp recipe ever. I will brook no argument on this. Using walnuts makes the topping achieve and maintain perfect crispness (heh heh). If I have ginger on hand, it adds a nice kick to the apples. Apple crisp makes a tasty breakfast if you have it with yogurt, and a lovely dessert served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
There’s No Place Like Home Ginger Apple Crisp
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
4–5 apples peeled, cored and cut up into chunks (granny smith work best, but Macintosh from the Bitterroot valley are a great local option)
2 tablespoons finely diced fresh ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Beer! (Crucial for baking mojo)
Begin with a cold, empty house. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Open a tasty local ale. First, make the topping: Whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl except butter and walnuts. Add the butter and squish it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand, then add the walnuts. Put the bowl in the fridge and lick the delicious sugar and butter off your fingers. While the topping chills, chop up the apples and ginger. Mix the filling ingredients together in a baking dish — preferably a 9-inch pie plate. Evenly distribute the topping over the apples. Bake about 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. You’ll find your house is suddenly warm and bright and your friends have been lured in by the aroma. Let the apple crisp cool a bit before serving. Have a lovely evening in sweet home Montucky.
This originally appeared in the Montana Kaimin on Nov. 3, 2010.