Apple Crisp for One

Filling

1 small Fuji apple, cut into 1/8″ slices, then each slice cut in half
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. flour
1 tsp. water

Topping

1 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp. flour

Vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce as accompaniments

Steps

  1. Mix apple slices, cinnamon, flour, and water in a small bowl. Place apple slices in a small 1 cup ramekin (~4-1/2″ diameter); gently pat down to flatten.
  2. Mix brown sugar and flour in another small bowl. Melt butter for 20-30 seconds on HIGH in microwave (until totally melted); mix with sugar and flour. Should be lumpy; scatter on top of filling. Gently flatten so there are no peaks to burn.
  3. Place ramekin on foil-covered cookie sheet, and place cookie sheet on oven rack two positions from top. Bake for 35 minutes in pre-heated 375° oven.
  4. Stick immediately in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce.

Notes

  • The flour and water is to help prevent the filling from getting too watery from the apple’s natural juices.
  • To measure the flour for the topping, gently spoon the flour into the measuring spoon instead of scooping the measuring spoon itself into the flour, before leveling with knife.
  • 35 minutes baking time will leave the apples still firm and crispy, the way I like it!
  • 15 minutes in the fridge will still keep the crisp very warm, but will be cool enough to handle the ramekin.

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. ;)