Why I’m obsessed with apple crisps

Sandy and I love apple crisps.

Our very favorite version is the one at California Pizza Kitchen. Served warm in an individual ramekin, it is topped with a fat scoop of vanilla ice cream and then drizzled with caramel sauce. It is the perfect dessert.

Perhaps the most important characteristic of CPK’s apple crisp, though, is its topping. You see, it is not the traditional apple crisp topping made with rolled oats. It is made with just three ingredients: flour, brown sugar, and butter. Which, in essence, is a shortbread.

I have tried making many crisps with varying quantities and types (old fashioned, quick cooking) of rolled oats, and have not liked any of them. I just do not like apple crisps with oatmeal topping!

And so, I set out to make a version of CPK’s crisp that was healthier, which meant for me, less sugar. What did I discover? — it can’t be done. There’s that special interaction between equal amounts of flour and sugar that gives the topping its moistness and crunch; lessen the amount of sugar and the topping stays “flour-y” and doesn’t cook. So what is the magic combo? — 3 tbsp. flour, 3 tbsp. brown sugar, and 1 tbsp. butter per ramekin.

If this doesn’t demonstrate my obsessive compulsive tendencies, I don’t know what will. ;)

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