21 March 2012

Hazelnut Apple Crisp

This past week we had some friends and their two daughters visiting from Santa Fe.  This winter has been unusually dry in California, with hardly any rain or snow and long stretches of sunny blue skies.  We had weeks where you really felt like you’re livin’ the dream.  So wouldn’t you know, the day our friends arrived we received the worst storm of the winter – a solid week of gray drizzly rain. 

While I couldn’t do anything about the weather, I could make sure they ate well.  On Friday we hosted a group dinner for our guests.  The kids were excited by all the new food they had tried in San Francisco, but were looking forward to some “normal food”.  My husband was responsible for the tortilla soup main course (a “normal” dinner for New Mexicans), while I focused on the salad and dessert.  

It’s a tough part of the year to try and eat seasonally, even in the Bay Area.  I’m sick to death of citrus, kiwis are on their way out, and at this point the apples have been in storage for months.  We had a bag of cheap organic apples sitting around that were a bit soft and tasted somewhat …… end of the season.  Not bad, just not like the apples you get in October.  An apple crisp seemed like a good way to use them up.
7 medium apples, sliced lengthwise
2 tsp lemon zest (if your apples are very tart, 1 tsp should be fine)
juice from half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup (or substitute ¼ brown sugar if you don’t have maple syrup.  If your apples are already very sweet, you may want to use a bit less sweetener)

Crisp Topping
½ cup oats
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
1 stick of butter, room temperature
¼ tsp of salt

  1. Slice apples lengthwise and place in 8x12 casserole dish.
  2. Add lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  Mix until apples are well coated.  Evenly arrange in dish. 
  3. Toast and chop the hazelnuts.  While they are toasting, add the oats, flour, salt and brown sugar to a mixing bowl and give it a stir until the ingredients are combined. 
  4. Add the maple syrup, hazelnuts and butter.  Mix the topping until it is clumpy.  It shouldn’t look as smooth as dough, but you don’t want any loose flour or oats. 
  5. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the crisp.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until apples are bubbling and soft. 
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Variation: You can omit the crisp topping and just bake the apples.  This would make a delicious topping to vanilla ice cream or yoghurt. 


  1. Can't wait to make this.

  2. How did you get your sliced apple looking so perfect? Great Pic.