The Ultimate Apple Crisp

by Holly on October 23, 2011

in dessert,fall,family,recipes

You know how there are those random things in life that always remind you of certain people?

Like for instance, the George Michael song, “I Want Your Sex.” Every time I hear those opening raspy lyrics or see that dangling crucifix earring, I am reminded of my sister Katie and the time she made me perform to that song in a sisterly dance competition.

Jagermeister will always be linked to my best friend Megan and the time I got drunk at her family friend’s cabin on the 4th of July and fell asleep peeing on the toilet.

And when there’s apple crisp, I think of my mother, the one and only Mama Everythingtarian.

I think of the countless fall afternoons we spent at the orchard picking Haralson apples as kids.

I think of the mega drawer of apples overflowing our refrigerator with pounds upon pounds of this most crunchy, tart variety.

I think of how Mama E loved her Haralson apples, and by default, it’s my favorite apple now too.

But mostly I think of how every year without fail, Mama E would patiently let us assist her in the kitchen as she crafted the much-anticipated, yearly pan of apple crisp. Apples…flour…cinnamon…brown sugar…oats…peeling…cutting…mixing…pouring…baking…slicing…devouring.

I have yet to find any apple crisp better than Mama Everythingtarian’s or anyone who doesn’t agree¬†my gregarious, big-haired mama’s recipe is in fact, the ultimate apple crisp.

Now that I’m nearly 27 years old, venturing to the apple orchard is more likely to occur with friends than with my parents and three sisters. The passing of time has made disappear the matching outfits…hair pulling…cartwheels through rows of apple trees…fighting over that one perfectly shiny, unmarred apple on the branch…and communal cups of apple cider.

But as soon as I step into the kitchen and begin following the simple instructions written on a stained piece of scrap paper, I am again an eager 10-year-old perched over the kitchen counter wanting to help her mom.

I steal secret bites of the sugary crumble topping.

I inhale the intoxicating smell of cinnamon, brown sugar, oats and butter.

I add way more cinnamon to the apple mixture than necessary.

I feel the child-like anticipation of seeing the bubbling, golden brown result coming piping hot out of the oven.

And I am reminded that not only do I have the most caring, patient mother in the world, but that I should probably tell her that more often. Say thank you for putting up with my penchant for the dramatic. Tell her I love her more than I do. Shut my loud mouth when she’s trying to give me advice, because like it or not, she’s always right.

Because when she is gone, I’ll want to tell her all of these things.

But when that inevitable day comes, I won’t be able to. Instead, I am going to need to pull up my skirt, tease my hair to Texas-size heights and make a pan of apple crisp to remind myself of her.

The Ultimate Apple Crisp
courtesy of Mama Everythingtarian’s best friend, Cindy¬†

8 large apples, cored and sliced*
1 cup sugar
2 T flour
2 t cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

*preferably Haralsons, of course

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, toss apples, 1 cup sugar, 2 T flour and cinnamon together. Set aside.

In a another bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, oatmeal, 1 1/2 cups flour, soda, powder and salt with your fingers. Cut butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.

In a greased 9×13-inch pan, pour apple mixture into an even layer. Top evenly with crumble topping. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Makes 12 to 16 slices


emily (a nutritionist eats) October 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

What a sweet post Holly – beautiful. And beautiful pictures too!

Erica October 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Love me some crisp-my favorite dessert! So jealous of your orchards-none down here. And you know i adoreeee your relationship with your family

Jenna October 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm

This makes me miss my mom! Such a heart-warming post. :) This also makes me want to bake up this apple crisp… I’m DROOLING over the fork photo. Must pick up ingredients tomorrow!

Lauren October 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Lovely post my dear! I love your mom too :)

Lauren October 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I was craving apple crisp this weekend. Real apple crisp, just like this! I settled for a mock version but definitely not the same.

Hillary October 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm

My great aunt made what I always considered to be the best apple crisp in the world. Just like you mentioned, the taste of that crisp (made from her recipe, which is also on a stained index card) brings memories of her flooding back to me. It’s one of my favorite truths about food: our sense of taste, above anything else, is inexplicably connected to our oldest and dearest memories.

Beautiful post, lady : )

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List October 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

You know …one day you’ll be making this with YOUR children. That just made me smile.

Mackenzie @ Whatever, Gatsby October 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm

okay, that’s it. i am moving into your apartment tomorrow. GET READY FOR A FELLOW BIG HEADED LADY WHO LOVES APPLE DESSERTS. we will need loads of hair mousse. :) xo

sofia October 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm

aww, love this post. funny how our parents are so impressionable and shape our memories and associations we have with certain things. for me, anything exotic grain-related makes me think of my mom. as for my dad, rice dream non-dairy dessert. yeah, i had a weird childhood.

Brittany October 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm

This was such a sweet post! Nothing like mom’s cooking :)

Katie October 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Okay, there is nothing better than apple crisp in the fall. Except this sweet tribute to your Mama. Love.

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga October 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I love crisps and crumbles of all kinds. This looks…so good. Love the love you have for your Mama.

Lauren October 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm

You’re adorable and a good daughter :) That looks so good by the way and I will need to make it ASAP!!

Kathryn October 24, 2011 at 3:17 am

Mama’s definitely know best and this apple crisp looks so awesome. Absolutely delicious!

Meister @ The Nervous Cook October 24, 2011 at 8:13 am

<3 this post, and <3 apple crisp. This makes me want to call my mom and thank her for everything she's ever done and everything she's ever cooked for me. Thank you.

Sarah@The Flying ONION October 24, 2011 at 8:49 am

Beautiful post, beautiful memories. :D

And I adore apple crisp. It’s my favorite fall dessert. This recipe sounds fabulous. :D

Mammaeverythingtarian October 24, 2011 at 9:00 am

Theres nothing like the love of an overbearing mother to her dramatic, eccentric but funny & compassionate daughter. I truly have to shout out to my BFF Cindy whose passion for baking inspired me to step in to the unknown territory called the kitchen. My children would still be eating jello, twinkies or chips a-hoy cookies for dessert. Sweet post Hol :)

Elizabeth October 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

yum yum YUM!!! I’ll be making this SOON!!!

Shannon October 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

That sounds amazing! I am not a crisp type gal but I would try that one! It looks great!!!

Megan (Braise the Roof) October 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Apple crisp reminds me of my mom, too! Now, top that crisp with Cool Whip and it totally reminds me of my dad. ;)

Madeline - Greens and Jeans October 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Papa Jeans makes a MEAN apple crisp too. Obviously, this means we have to get our families together and have a bake off

Sissy #1 October 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

You forgot to mention the apples have to be Haroldson! haha jk Loved it…except when you referenced our mother’s future death. that was weird.

Liz @ iheartvegetables October 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Yummmm I’m supposed to go apple picking this weekend! Now I know what to do with them! haha

Erica Dagley October 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

gurrrrrrl, why you be postin’ all these yummy things I want to make. I haz no time.

(yeah I said it like that.)

amanda October 25, 2011 at 8:15 am

aw, mama E! what a doll.

yummm…apple crisp. that looks delicious! i need a piece in my belly right now!

Heather October 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I stumbled onto your blog today – love it! Nicely done. Crack Brownies are def. on my to do list!

Linda October 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Awww….I got teary eyed reading this post. Beautiful.

And thank you for the recipe! I LOVE apple crisp and can’t wait to make this!

Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel October 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

From the way you’ve described it, I actually believe that that’s the ultimate apple crisp. It just sounds so so so good. MUST MAKE.

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