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Chef's Hat: Sweet fall desserts call for apples

Apple crisps, crumbles or cobblers are all easy to make and delicious

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Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent
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Although apples are available year-round, there is something special about the fall harvest that gets people putting apples into their shopping carts.

Crunching on a crisp apple is always a culinary delight, but who can resist those delicious baked apple desserts topped with a hefty spoonful of whipped cream?

Apple pie is an enticing treat, but for some reason seems daunting to make. Perhaps it is the complexity of making that ever-perfect flaky crust that seems to put it out of reach for most cooks.

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However, there is no reason not to delve into the world of apple crisp, crumbles or cobblers. All of these are easy to make and not only tasty, but they are desserts that many people prefer over the traditional apple pie.

Is there really any difference between a crisp, a cobbler or a crumble? Yes and no.

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All three have an apple base and some kind of cooked topping. The apple filling may differ slightly in recipes, but the main difference between the three is the mixture that is placed on top of the apples.

A crisp is a fruit dessert (you can use fruits besides apples) that has a topping made from a combination of oats, flour, butter and a few spices.

Some cooks also call these desserts crumbles. But a crumble generally doesn’t have oats in the topping.

And the lonely cobbler is a fruit dessert that has a biscuit-style or cake-like topping.

You really can’t go wrong with a basic apple crisp. But adding another type of fruit - usually a berry, such as blueberry or raspberry - transforms your dish from a plain apple crisp into a Blueberry-Apple Crisp with Whipped Cream and Mint.

The unique aspect of this dish is putting the crumb topping in the freezer. This gives the crisp a really nice crunch.

If you’re craving more of a cake type dessert, then a cobbler is the dish that suits the bill. This sweet dessert comes together quickly and is great with or without a scoop of ice cream on top.

It’s a great time of year to stock up on fresh apples and try a twist on some of those old standby recipes. Happy Eating!

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Apple-Blueberry Crisp with Whipped Cream and Mint

Chefs Hat apple crisp recipe.jpg
Add blueberries to apple crisp to come up with Apple-Blueberry Crisp with Whipped Cream and Mint.
Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

Topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter melted

Apple base:

  • 3 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Also:

  • Whipped cream
  • Mint leaves

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the crumble topping: In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and butter. Mix with a spoon or your hands until the mixture forms into large crumbles. Place the mixture in the freezer.

For the fruit mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the apples, blueberries, flour, vanilla, melted butter and cinnamon. Mix well and then place into the prepared pan.

Top the fruit mixture with the crumble topping. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly, golden brown and the apples are tender. Cool for about 10 minutes.

Place large portions onto individual serving plates. Top with a hefty spoonful of whipped cream and then sprinkle shredded mint leaves over the top of the whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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Sweet Cinnamon Apple Cobbler

Filling:

  • 6 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch chunks (Granny Smith, Pink Lady or other baking apple)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • Cinnamon for dusting

Other:

  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, add the brown sugar, apple juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Stir until well combined. Add the apples. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, just until the mixture slightly thickens. Pour it into the prepared pan.

In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until well combined. Slowly stir in the milk and melted butter, and mix just until all ingredients are combined.

Pour the mixture over the apples in the pan. Dust them lightly with additional cinnamon.

Bake for about 38-42 minutes. A toothpick or fork inserted into the middle should come out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the cobbler cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Place large portions onto plates and serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream.

Donna Evans is an Echo Journal correspondent.

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