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Sep 6, 2008 03:51 PM

Apple Crisp for a Crowd

Every year we have a big BBQ (upwards of 100 guests) but it's usually in the summer. It's a real southern BBQ with pulled pork, brunswick stew, ribs etc, and in the summer I usually make some sort of peach dessert. Since the peaches should be on the decline by the end of the month, I thought that I would make apple crisp instead. I make a large variety of desserts (pecan tassies, cupcakes, various brownie/bar cookies), so the crisp doesn't need to feed 100; it just needs to be big enough to fill out the dessert table. Does anyone have a well-loved apple crisp recipe that would be easily expandable?

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  1. Isn't apple crisp just sliced apples with sugar baked with a topping made from oats/flour, sugar, and butter? I'd fill the pan with as many sliced apples as I could stand to process, and make as many batches of the topping as I need to cover them. A half sheet pan (commercial 'jelly roll') should feed a good crowd.

    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Well, yes, but I've always followed The Best Recipe's method, but I've been less than 100% thrilled, so I was hoping that someone had a great recipe that made the topping more crunchy than I've been able to get it...

      1. re: roxlet

        When I make apple crunch (as it's called around our house) I've found the key to crunchy topping is how you mix it. If you cut the butter in and have crumbly topping, you won't get the crisp you are after. My sister (ever the better baker than I) shared that the secret is to smear the butter into the dry ingredients. You will actually have more of a stiff oat dough. Then you place the dough by clumpfuls over the top of the apples. The sugar and butter combined with the cinnamon, flour (and just a pinch of salt and splash of vanilla) make a wonderful crispy crunchy topping that everyone loves to snitch by the pinchful off the top of the apples when it is done.

    2. This recipe from Ina Garten works very well. We usually make it at work for our employee holiday party of 300 people. The only time consuming part is peeling, coring, and cutting the apples.

      The two things that make this recipe stand out, I think, are the notes of citrus in the apple filling and the bit of salt that really gives the topping a nice flavor contrast. And, yes, the topping bakes up fairly crunchy.

      1. Some one gave me a recipe which if not pc, is very good. The topping was 1 cup flour, 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar,1 cup oats 1 cup chopped walnuts and a pinch of salt.
        I would also suggest that you use more than one variety of pie apple. Since I have no idea where you live, I would just suggest you check out what you have available

        9 Replies
        1. re: The Old Gal

          I've used this topping in the million times I've made apple crisp. And, I put a layer of the topping on the bottom and blind bake it for 15 minutes. The apples are sliced but not peeled, and I cook the slices to remove some of their liquid. The apples are poured over the bottom crust and the topping is packed down over that. Bake, then cool. Cut into squares -- each serving looks beautiful with both the crust and topping. To gild the lily, I have served this with ice cream and homemade caramel sauce.

          My preference is for not-too-sweet apple crisp -- and with just the slightest touch of cinnamon. I agree that a good dose of citrus keeps the apple flavor intact and prevents browning.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            This sounds really interesting -- and I love the part about not peeling the apples since I am making a ton of the stuff. I guess that you are talking about 'The Old Gal' recipe above your post. So the questions I have are as follows:
            How much does this recipe make?
            What size pan do you bake it in?
            How many pounds of apples?
            How thinly are the apples sliced?
            How long are the apples cooked prior to being put in the pan and are they cooled first?
            Even though you are dividing the topping into two parts, are you making the same amount?
            Thanks. This sounds great and even better since it can be made ahead!

            1. re: roxlet

              This sunds like my Mom's old recipe. You don't have to cook the slices if you toss the apples with cornstarch (NOT flour; the cornstarch allows the juices to congeal nicely, but flour just makes it gummy.) My trick after assembling is to pour about 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water into the crisp, only enough so that if you roll the pan from side to side, you can just see the water.

              Don't worry about thinly slicing the apples: I core them, and sixteenth them (cut in half, cut in quarters, cut in eighths, cut one more time.)

              1. re: roxlet

                Old Gal's recipe for streusel topping isn't a recipe -- it just represents a proportion of ingredients. I double the amount of topping when I use it for both top and bottom. Check other recipes for pounds of apples per pan size, approximate amount of topping, etc. I think cooking the apple slices ahead of time to draw off extra juice is critical for success and concentrates the flavor. I've made this in a hotel pan and also in a 13x9x2pan, and of course, there's a huge difference in quantity there.
                It's a very satisfying, old-fashioned dessert. Good luck.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  Exactly right, Maria, those are proportions.
                  I never precook my apples, but my daughter always does. How thick to cut the slices. If you cut them very thin I would not precook them. I use slices about 1/4 inch thick because I want to bite into an apple, not apple sauce.
                  You can double, triple quadruple the amounts I gave you for the topping. How much you need depends on how thick you like the topping. Some people just sort of scatter it. I really like to cover it thickly This is your judgement.
                  Cornstarch is a good thickener as is tapioca flour which is what I use. I don't use all purpose flour to thicken; I find it gets cloudy and gummy.
                  I suggest you make an 8" square "sample" try it, see how many that feeds and if it is done the way you want. That way you can adjust the amount of apples, topping, or sugar you want when you go for the finals.
                  By the way, a little squirt of lemon juice on the apples will not go amiss and/or a drop or two of vanilla helps too.

                  1. re: The Old Gal

                    Making the 8" sample is a great idea!

                    BTW, roxlet, you can bake these ahead of time, and refrigerate them. Reheat before serving. I don't freeze my crisps because it compromises the apple texture and the whole thing becomes a little watery and the crust gets soggy. But reheating works great.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      In your opinion, is this more of a bar cookie or an apple crisp? Maybe making a trial run this weekend would be a good idea.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        It's apple crisp. Not in any way a bar cookie.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          I can see taking the same basic ingredients, and making either. If it is mostly fruit with a thin crust it is apple crisp; if crust dominates, and fruit becomes more of a filling, then it's moved into 'bar' territory.