Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Apple Currant Crisp

I made this apple crisp during Sunday's eight hour sleet storm, the last cackle of a wicked winter in Baltimore. Yesterday was the Orioles' season opener, and today I'll watch my own kid play a double-header. Spring is finally here.

But spring produce is still weeks off, so I'll tell you about this winter dessert anyway. It's kind of a funny story.

Every year I vow to clean out my basement freezer for Passover. This year, I mean it. (There's a disgusting, frozen puddle at the bottom from various power outages. Eww.) So many mystery foods, some with labels only in cyrillic. 

Do I speak Russian? No, I do not. So where did this stuff come from? Good question.

I found a bag of tiny red fruits. I assumed they were gooseberries, but when I opened the bag, they looked more like red currants. They were about as sour as cranberries, which you can easily substitute if you're not randomly tossing stuff in the cart at the Russian grocery store.

And don't waste delicious apples on this dish. Just use those mealy, end-of-season ones your kids are going to throw out when you pack them in lunches. 

Apple Currant Crisp
8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

Fruit Filling
7-8 medium sized apples
1 1/2 cups frozen currants/gooseberries/cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch

2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish

Mix together all topping ingredients except butter. Cut the butter into half-inch chunks and use your hands to squish it into the dry mix. Squeeze the mixture into handfuls, then put it in the fridge while you chop the apples.

Peel and core the apples, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Mix with the sugar, corn starch and berries, then transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Crumble the topping into pea-sized bits on top of the fruit, put the dish on a cookie sheet to catch any drips, and bake for 70 minutes at 350 (325 convection). Rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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