Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Apple Crisp with Apricots and Ginger from Leslie Budewitz

LESLIE: Who doesn’t love apple crisp? Yummy, gooey spiced apples baked with a topping? Mmm. Most include oats in the topping; this one doesn’t, but adds hazelnuts for crunch and mixes the sliced apples with chopped dried apricots and crystallized ginger. I’ve adapted it ever so slightly from A is for Apple by Greg Patent and Dorothy Hinshaw Patent (Broadway Books, 1999). Greg Patent is a well-known chef, cookbook author, and columnist; his Baking in America (2002) won the James Beard Award. Dorothy is a well-known illustrator, mainly of children’s books. They live in Missoula, and Greg and I shared a panel, with Sara Bir and Seabring Davis, on recipes as story telling at the Montana Book Festival in Missoula last month.

So when the bears kindly left us enough apples to harvest this fall—it’s always a question whether they’ll strip the trees before the fruit is ripe—I dove into the book, which I’ve had for ages but haven’t used much. This crisp takes a fair amount of chopping and slicing. If you’ve got a helper, or an apple-corer-peeler, put them to use! But the results are terrific.

We baked this in a 9X13 glass pan. Next time, I’ll split it into two smaller pans and freeze one. If you make a single dish, let me assure you it makes excellent breakfast!

Our apples were a mix of Red Delicious and Macintosh, and both baked beautifully. I always try to use more than one variety of apple when I bake with them, to deepen the flavors. Greg advised peeling the apples; I always debate that step and skipped it here. The apples were thoroughly baked and soft, including the peels, so if you trust your apples, I'll let you off the hook. Or blade. But if you buy commercial apples, you might consider peeling--that's reportedly where many of the pesticide and other ag chemical residue resides.

Apple Crisp with Apricots and Ginger

½ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped (see note below)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter


3-1/2 pounds apples (about 7 large), cored and thinly sliced
zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts in a shallow baking pan and toast 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until they turn a light brown. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel; when they’re cool, rub them vigorously to remove the skins, or as many as you can. Some leftover skins are fine. Chop roughly.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Cut in the butter, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the hazelnuts.

Slice the apples into a large bowl, adding a bit of lemon juice as you go, stirring well, to prevent browning. Add the zest, apricots, ginger, white sugar, and vanilla, and combine well. Pour the apple mixture into your ungreased baking dish, either a 9X13 glass pan or two smaller pans. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples.

Bake about 45 minutes, until the top is browned, the juices are bubbling, and the apples are tender when tested with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife. Cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 10 servings.

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and is now nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

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  1. This sounds delightful! Perfect for an autumn treat.

    1. All the flavors of the season! Except pumpkin. :)

  2. Recipes as story telling sounds like a fascinating discussion! I'm going to make the recipe. I love apples, apricots & ginger so the combination should be wonderful.