Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grandma C's Apple Crisp

If you read Tactical Strike, then you met my grandma at the end of the book. And you'll likely never forget her now! That scene is based on a true story of the first time she met one of my sister's boyfriends and it's become family legend. She was such a force of nature, it's weird to think of her not being here anymore, but I know she'd be absolutely tickled pink at being included in one of my books.

I'll never forget when she called me after my first book (Out of Her League) came out. A few of my relatives had bought paperback copies to support me, and grandma, who was an avid romance reader, called me up one day. We didn't speak on the phone often because we weren't super close and only saw each other a few times a year. Still, while I was growing up, whenever she was in town she always made a point of coming out to watch my curling and softball games (sports she played herself, and curling at the national level!).

Anyway, during the conversation about OOHL, she says to me, "I didn't realize you knew so much about sex!".

LOL. At the time I'd been with my DH for 15 years and had a two and a four year old. *g*

Now, as much of a character as grandma was, she was known for having a good time and not for her cooking. In fact, my father still grimaces when he talks about the food he was forced to eat growing up. But there was one dish she made for dessert that's still my dad's favorite and my DH loves it too.

Here it is, grandma C's famous apple crisp recipe!

4 Macintosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced into small pieces
4 large Granny Smith apples, same as above (using the combo of the Grannys with the Macs is awesome because the Macs cook down into an almost applesauce consistency and the Grannys give it texture and tang)
sugar to taste (I don't like mine overly sweet, so I use only a few tablespoons)
cinnamon to taste (we like ours with lots of cinnamon!)
dash salt
zest and juice of one lemon (optional, but I like the zing it gives the filling)
-mix together in large bowl and leave to sit about fifteen minutes until the sugar and salt begins to draw the juices out of the apples
-stir well and pour into an oven safe dish. Remember, a shallow dish will give you a higher topping-to-fruit ratio (the topping's the best part, but you could use a deep dish and get more fruit per serving instead if you prefer)

1 pound of butter (room temperature)
3 cups dark brown sugar
2-3 cups of all purpose flour (will depend on where you live, how humid it is, etc)--start with 2 cups and add more as needed
-crumble all ingredients together with your fingers or a pastry blender in a large bowl until it holds together in clumps when you squeeze it in your hand. You don't want to over mix and make the topping a paste; it should still have texture to it
-you can add a handful of oatmeal or chopped nuts into the topping, but that's a big no-no in our house so I always just keep it plain
-this makes a big batch of topping, so freeze the leftovers in a Ziploc freezer bag for easy use next time
-sprinkle enough topping over the apples to make a one inch thick layer
-bake at 350 degrees for one hour
-cool a little and serve warm with milk, whipped cream or ice cream