Apple picking is an annual event for my extended family. Every fall, we gather at an orchard near one of my sisters. (I have seven, but one always hosts the affair since she, her husband, and two daughters live near an orchard). Our routine is always the same: We head out early, gather huge sacks of McIntoshes and Honeycrisps, and head back to the house to enjoy a lunch for which each one of us has contributed a dish. Then we make—and devour—our apple pies and apple crisps and, of course, no one’s very hungry for dinner.
As is our custom, we usually ask another apple-picking family to snap a picture of us just before we leave the orchard. But this year we forgot. So after lunch, we assembled on and around my sister’s living-room couch and waited while she struggled to take a picture. Four tries later, she got her camera to work.
Meanwhile, my mom’s apple-crisp recipe was perfect! Sometimes I double the topping so it is really loaded with sugary crumbs, but it is absolutely delicious made the way that my mother used to make it, too.
What You’ll Need
- Softened butter for the baking pan
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup softened butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 5 large apples
What to Do
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Give your helper a piece of wax paper or a paper towel and let her rub softened butter on the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan.
- Encourage your child to measure the sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Show him how to rub the mixture with the tips of his fingers until all the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.Teachable Moment: What Your Kids Don’t Know About Sugar
Sugar has some awesome connections to some of the biggest names in history:
- Alexander the Great's troops first encountered the ingredient in India in the early 300s BC.
- Christopher Columbus introduced sugar to the New World in 1493.
Sugar also has some uses you don’t hear about often:
- Poured into a vat of water, sugar extends the life (and beauty) of freshly cut flowers.
- Some people believe that a teaspoon of sugar consumed dry can cure the hiccups—possibly, some say, by easing spasms in the diaphragm.—Domino Sugar
- Set the mixture aside—this will be your topping.
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into thin slices. If your budding chef has mastered knife skills, she can cut some of the apples into slices. Once the apples are sliced, ask your helper to transfer them to the baking pan. She can then crumble the topping all over the top of the apples, making sure it is nice and even.Teachable Moment: 5 Awesome Apple Facts
- Apples belong to the rose family of plants, as do pears, peaches, plums, and cherries.
- The science of growing apples is called pomology, and a pomologist is someone who cultivates fruit trees.
- Apples come in many colors, including shades of red, green, and yellow.
- President George Washington used to prune his own apple trees.
- Most are picked by hand, so picking apples is hard work.—New York Apple Association
- Place the pan in the oven. Set the timer and check on your crisp at 40 minutes. The apples should be soft, and the topping should be crisp and golden brown. If not, put the pan back into the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove when done and allow the crisp to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating. Add a surprise topping. Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream make this great dish even better!