crispy crunchy soggy spicy ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

14 November 2007

crispy crunchy soggy spicy

Are you too lazy to make a pie? Me too, apparently, even though I have pie in my title and everything. I can achieve a pie crust if I want; right now I would just prefer to spend my time lying around the living room reading books and trying very hard not to watch someone play Halo 3.

The obvious solution: don't make a pie crust, make a crumble.

You could argue that pie crust and crumble are not that far apart in terms of effort. This is true. I think I just like making crumble. You get to mush crumble up with your hands with far more abandon than pie crust. Then you get a result pretty close to pie anyway: a crisp.

Apple crisp

four or so apples
orange or lemon juice
butter/earth balance
rolled oats
spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves

Get out enough apples to pile in a pie tin. You can really use any apples you have lying around. (Or you can use pears! Or any other fruit!) I had fujis. Don't bother to peel your apples unless you are really thoroughly bothered by cooked peel. I barely noticed mine in the finished product. Core the apples by cutting four straight cuts down the sides of the cores, then cut the chunks into thin slices. Or you can do what I used to always do and just cut chunks off around the whole apple, thus combining the coring and chopping steps in one. Whatever. The shape of the slices doesn't matter in the slightest, unless you have presentation issues. I do like to make the pieces thin, though, so as to avoid big pieces of crisped apple skin.

Stick all the apples in your pie tin and add sugar, lemon or orange juice, and appropriate spices. These depend heavily on you and your tastes. Most people are used to a lot of cinnamon and sugar in their apple pie. I like having only a little cinnamon, so instead I load the pie with ginger, cloves, and a little allspice and nutmeg. Fresh minced ginger would even be feasible. So spice with what you like and toss it all together with your hands. You can also add delicious things from the liquor cabinet if you are so inclined. I had a bottle of Grand Marnier sitting around looking lonely, so I stuck my thumb over the lip of the bottle and shook some of it out over the apples. I can also see delicious results coming from brandy or bourbon.

When the apples are prepped, make crumble. Mix a couple handfuls of oats and flour with some sugar and any of the apple pie spices you like. Then cut a big chunk of coldish butter into fine dice and rub it into the dry mix. You can use a pastry cutter or table knives if you want, but I like to use my hands. Get things roughly mixed together, so most of the dry mix has some butter sticking to it. The coarse cornmeal texture would be optimal, but I don't care that much, and besides, it's not really possible with oats in the mix. Of course, you can also make this with more flour and no oats if you want that kind of result. Just squidge it together until you are satisfied. Then take big handfuls of crumble and scatter them over the apples as evenly as possible.

Bake the whole thing at 350F for about 45 minutes. Check it occasionally, rotating if necessary.

When the crumble is crispy and browned, the apples are dark and liquid, and the whole thing smells like someone threw a spice bomb into your kitchen, you're ready.

The classic side for any hot apple bake is vanilla ice cream. I have never been that into vanilla ice cream in general, so I didn't have any. I did have a big vat of plain yogurt, though.


eatme_delicious said...

A crumble is definitely a great and easy replacement for a pie. :) I don't think you'd have any complaints!

Becky said...

Plain yogurt instead of vanilla ice cream on an apple crisp? Sacrilege!

Brian said...

wow that looked really good up until the moment you put yogurt on it.

what the hell!

Eileen said...

Whoa, comments! Hi guys!

Yogurt is delicious! Especially for sacrilege. I can't think of another sacrilege I like to eat so much.

If you object, you may have your ice cream, however. Or cheddar cheese! Or nothing! I mean, nothing besides the crisp itself. You can have that part.

cj said...

These are great. Where did you learn to cook?