Saturday, April 7, 2007

Apples and Almonds--A Perfect Pair

There they were, a basketful of apples sitting on my kitchen counter. They were Granny Smith's and I bought a bunch of them a couple weeks back with the intention of making some fabulous dessert. The only problem was, I couldn't decide on a recipe. Days went by and still, what to make? I perused the stacks of cookbooks I have in my dining room bookshelf, the endless cooking magazines piled high on my bedroom floor, and even sought out other bloggers hoping to find "it". But nothing sung out to me. Finally, one Friday night I opened up my Bon Appetit magazine and found something that sounded so scrumptious and yet simple to prepare. Plus, I had all the necessary ingredients on hand. Twelve hours later, the apple almond crisp was born.

Yea, it's got a lot of butter in it and no, it's not low-fat by any means, but boy was this good! I love almonds and the fact that there are lots of them made me eager to make it and of course, consume it. Don't forget, almonds have a lot of heart-healthy benefits and we all know how good apples are for you, right? I shared this dish with my brother and his family and they all thought it was pretty yummy too. This is best eaten warm, with lots of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top.

Apple-Almond Crisp (courtesy of Bon Appetit, February 2002)
10-12 servings

1 and 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 tspn ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) chilled salted butter cut into 1/2 inch pcs (I used unsalted butter)
1 cup sliced almonds

3/4 cup sugar
3 tblspn AP flour
1 tblspn grated lemon peel
1 and 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
3/4 tspn ground nutmeg
8 small Granny Smith apples (about 4 and 1/2 lbs.), peeled, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1 and 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
3/4 tspn almond extract

For the topping:
Whisk flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl and blend well. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture holds together in small, moist clumps. Mix in almonds; cover and chill until ready to use. (can be made up to 3 days ahead).

For filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to blend well. Mix in apples, then vanilla and almond extracts.

Spoon filling into prepared dish. Sprinkle topping over. Bake until apples are tender and topping is golden and crisp (about 1 hour). Cool at least 10minutes and serve warm.

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