This is quick and easy to make, and then you can throw it in the oven right before you sit down to dinner and then have delicious warm crisp a civilized time after, if you want.
- white sugar
So, what I do when I’m going to make this is put something like a quarter or a third of a cup of sugar in a 1 cup measuring cup and a healthy couple dashes of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. When you shake it to mix it all together, you still want it pretty visible that you’ve added spices. Put that beside your work space.
Then start cutting up apples. For this one I used 8 smallish ones, but it pretty much doesn’t matter. Keep cutting apples until you’re happy with how many you have or you run out. I’ve used like 12 before, and it’s still delicious, just deeper. You can cut the apple just in eighths and that’s fine, but I like cutting them into smaller pieces, because then you can get apple and crust and ice cream in every bite. If you’re super fast, this isn’t really a concern, but I work at normal human speeds and usually get distracted, so after I’m done an apple I sprinkle a bit of the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the cut pieces. It stops them from browning – which wouldn’t change the end taste, I know – and also makes sure the sugar’s gonna be evenly distributed throughout.
At some point you’ll want to start preheating the oven to 350°F, but probably not right at the start or you’ll end up like me, telling it to shut up as it beeps its readiness and you’re still not done.
When you’re done with the apples, it’s time for the topping, which takes this from ‘nice healthy fruit thing’ to delicious indulgence.
- rolled oats
- brown sugar
- 1 egg
Okay, so the only ingredient there that’s not optional is the oats. You want something to hold the oats together, but it’s a really versatile recipe. For the most recent version I made, I skipped the egg (we were out), sugar (it was all hard in the cupboard and I wanted to get back to work, not fight it), and vanilla (I didn’t want any more liquid, since there’d be no egg to hold the whole thing together), and it didn’t stick together well, but still tasted good. And for the oats – steel-cut. The kind that takes forever to cook and has no flavoring. The stuff that’s meant to cook in half an hour or five minutes or whatever gets distressingly soggy. Steel-cut oats take like a week of forgetting about the leftovers in the fridge before the texture goes weird and awful.
Melt the butter! Add the brown sugar, and make sure it’s all moistened and amenable to mixing. Add like a cup of oats or however much it’ll take to cover the dish you’re cooking it in. I use a 9×13 casserole dish, so if you’re using something substantially larger, maybe grab another egg. Add the egg, nutmeg, cinnamon, and just a splash of vanilla to the oats, and stir with a fork just until the ingredients are pretty mixed: you don’t want to break the oats. It should be damp but not wet and drippy: it’s a crust, not something to mix all up in the apples. Spread it over the top of the apples, trying to get full coverage. Whether or not it’s a big deal if you don’t get full coverage is all based on your preference: generally it’s fine.
Pop it in your preheated 350°F oven for 50 minutes, then serve hot with ice cream and caramel sauce.
If you’re making it ahead of time for something, let it cool completely before refrigerating: condensation dripping on the topping will make the texture gross. When it’s completely cool, though, it refrigerates quite well.