Apple pie-style desserts are beloved throughout the world. In Germany, sliced apples are boiled with water, cinnamon, and sugar until soft, then piled into puffed pastry and baked into an apple pocket known as Apfeltasche. Biting through the shatteringly crisp pastry into tender, spiced apples is sheer pleasure, especially when dipped in a thick custard first.
In Italy, apples are celebrated in a crostata di mele, or apple tart. The base is a rich pate brisée, a short cut pastry that does not rise when baked. This is topped with frangipane, which is almond paste mixed with sugar, butter, and eggs and, if you fancy it, thinned with liqueur. Thinly sliced apples are added next, arranged in beautiful concentric circles. The whole luscious concoction is baked in the oven, then brushed with an apricot glaze before serving.
In France, French Apple Cake, Gâteau aux Pommes, is simple divinity. Peeled and diced apples are folded into a tender batter flavored with lashings of dark rum, baked until the surface caramelizes, then served warm with a hearty dollop of crème fraiche.
Arepas Dulces con Manzanas, Sweet Arepas with Caramelized Apples, is an exquisite dessert from Columbia. Pure comfort food, it is essentially made of cornmeal crepes spiced with cinnamon and sugar and deep fried until crispy and fragrant. These delectable morsels are then topped with apples that have been cooked in butter, sugar, and cinnamon until soft, tender, and beautifully browned.
And of course, we must not forget American apple pie. Sturdy cooking apples are cored, peeled, and sliced into thin wedges, then layered into a pie pan lined with a flaky, buttery pie crust. The filling is dotted with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon, and encased in another layer of pie crust. At this point the crusts are pinched together securely to seal the edges, pierced on top to allow steam to vent while baking, and, sometimes, decorated fancily with pastry leaves, pastry flowers, or the pastry initials of someone special. Brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with white sugar to give added sparkle and crunch, the pie is baked to perfection, then served warm with vanilla ice cream.
One of the easiest apple recipes is apple crisp, and it is simplicity itself to serve up the best apple crisp recipe in the world.
I start with good apples, crisp and ripe, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced. I fry them up in a generous amount of salted butter with cinnamon and dark brown sugar or honey until they have taken on the first hints of caramelization. Then I pour them into a baking dish, sprinkle a mixture of rolled oats, walnuts, salted butter, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon, and bake until the topping is toasted beautifully. It's best served warm with vanilla ice cream.
Best Apple Crisp Recipe in the World
- 6-8 cooking apples
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Peel, core, and thinly slice cooking apples. Set aside.
In large frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add honey or brown sugar and stir until melted. Add all the apple slices. Stir gently until apples are coated with butter mixture, then leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until apples are slightly browned and beginning to soften.
In small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.
Remove apples from heat and pour into heavy-bottomed casserole dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples. Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until apples are tender and the topping is lightly toasted.
Serve warm with custard, heavy cream, or ice cream.