Some people just seem to ooze creativity, and my online friend Joanne Seiff is one of them. Besides being an accomplished cook, she’s also a writer, blogger, knitter, spinner, knitwear designer and cook, and now she can add “author” to her titles.
In her new book, Fiber Gathering, she blends her many talents. She writes about fiber festivals, presents 25 knitting, crochet and other fiber projects and provides “color” about the festivals, including descriptions of the food. Happily for me, one such food sidebar includes a recipe for Apple Crisp. Not that I don’t like the fiber information and festival stories. In fact, I love beautiful yarns, hand-knitted goods and lovely fabrics of various fibers. It’s just that I haven’t crocheted in years (and aging hands don’t inspire me to resume), and I never could knit. (It’s inadequately forgiving of my mistakes.)
I do still cook, though, and I tried out the Apple Crisp the other day. The topping, which includes cornmeal, is a little different from others I’ve had, and the optional suggestion (which I took) of lemon rind provides a bright taste note. In line with Joanne’s creative bent, she also provides ideas for variations. Try them, and let me know what you think
- 2 pounds apples (mix a couple of varieties for best flavor) This is roughly 6 apples, but cut up as many as fit in your pan. Core the apples. Peel if desired.* Chop into pieces.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional; I used it)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel (optional; I used it, too)
The crisp/crumbly bits
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn meal
- 1/4 cup oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional – I used it)
- 14 teaspoon ground cloves (optional; I skipped)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (ditto)
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter or margarine
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (350 or 400 degrees is OK if you’re cooking something else at the same time.) Grease an 8- or 9-inch baking pan with a little of the butter or margarine. Put the apples into the pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar and, if desired, the lemon juice and lemon peel. Gently toss apples until coated.
- In a separate bowl, mix all the topping ingredients except the butter or margarine. Melt the butter or margarine, then mixt with dry ingredients until it looks like coarse meal. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples. Bake 30-40 minutes until apples have softened and topping is brown. Makes about 8 servings.
*For increased fiber and extra vitamins, don’t peel. (This book is about fiber, right?)
The book also provides food processor instructions, tips on making the dish in advance and variations. The results were delicious. I really loved the lemon peel addition. Would I make it again? Sure. Just depends on whether I find it or my apple crisp recipe first! Meantime, if you’re a knitter or spinner, check out Joanne’s book. It’s beautifully produced and a nice read, even if you don’t want to make the projects.