An apple a day keeps the doctor away! If that’s true, then Tai should be a very healthy boy. The apples are still flowing daily at our house; this recipe I’ve made three times now (in smaller, half-sized batches that I bake in a tart dish or small pie pan) and Tai is thoroughly enjoying it.
This crumble is simple, relatively quick, and can be easily assembled while you are putting together dinner and popped into the oven in time for the dessert course. The filling is kept as simple as possible so the flavor of the apples really shines through, and the topping is a nice twist on the traditional apple-cheddar cheese pie that is popular in the South. With a minimum of sugar, whole wheat flour, and farm-fresh organic apples, this is a healthy, easy and delicious dessert that you’ll be happy to serve to family and friends again and again.
Apple Parmesan Crumble
- 3 lbs baking apples, about 4 large apples (I used Stayman Winesap and IdaRed from Fishkill Farms)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup grated parmesean cheese (or other hard grating cheese)
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp butter, diced to 1/4-inch cubes and frozen for at least 30 minutes
- a few dashes of cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Peel, core and slice the apples. Toss the apple slices in lemon juice as you go, to prevent browning. Add brown sugar, honey, salt, and nutmeg to the apples. Toss to combine and allow the apples to macerate in the sugar while you are preparing the topping (at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours).
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, black pepper and frozen butter cubes. Pulse 3 or 4 times, or until the butter becomes the size of small peas. (Alternatively, you can rub the butter-flour mixture between your fingers to achieve the same result). Transfer to a medium bowl and add the brown sugar and cheese. Mix well, and work a bit with your hands to create a ‘crumbly’ texture. Set aside.
- Drain the exuded juices from the apple slices into a small saucepan. Add the 1 tbsp butter and cook over medium heat, swirling the pan, but not stirring the sauce, until the juice is reduced, syrupy and thickly bubbling (about 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, toss the cornstarch with the apple slices until it disappears.
- Pour the reduced juice/syrup over the apple slices. Toss to mix. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch pie dish.
- Sprinkle the topping over the apple slices evenly.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour, or until juices are bubbling and the topping is nicely browned. I recommend baking on a rimmed baking sheet, or a large sheet of tinfoil, in case of bubbling over.
- Allow to cool at least 1 hour prior to serving. Garnish with vanilla ice cream or a thinly sliced sliver of parmesean cheese.
Yields 10 servings (or, you know, 2).
- The original recipe called for a bottom pastry crust. There is so much flavor in the topping, that I don’t think it’s necessary, but feel free to add a bottom crust if you like.
- If you are pressed for time, you can skip the maceration of the apples and reduction of the juice. The crumble will definitely be more watery, but since there is no bottom crust this is not a huge issue.
- When I made the filling entirely with honey, it was quite watery; tasty, but watery. The topping really needs some form of sugar, so this would be difficult to make 100% local.
At room temperature, 2 days. Refrigerated, up to 5 days, although the topping will become increasingly soggy.
Apple season (fall through winter) but with a frozen or canned apple pie filling, you can make this all year round.