This week has been a blur of work, jet lag, and not very much baking or cooking. I did manage to squeeze a few homemade meals in between the naps and the trying not to nap so I can kick the jet lag.
As soon as I left the airport, I could feel autumn upon me. Sure the nights had been cooler before I left for Thailand, but this was different. The leaves had really started to change, and this week the trees have exploded into a gorgeous palate of color. There's a different feel in the air too, something about the way the wind blows and the air smells. I love it.
I am not a native New Englander, nor do I consider myself a New Englander (although I admit the place is growing on me). I come from a place where the changes of season don't really happen reliably or at all - South Florida. The first time that I recall seeing snow was when I was interviewing for grad schools.
Maybe I'm more attune to the change since it's relatively new to me. Or maybe not.
I love the change in flavors too. Pumpkin, apples, pears, sweet potatoes - yum! I went apple picking with some friends before I left for Thailand, but was so busy I couldn't get around to using my peck of Gravenstein and McIntosh apples. So I stored them in the fridge and dreamed of homemade applesauce, apple butter, and tarte tartin on the flight home.
One of my favorite desserts growing up was my mother's apple crisp, but I never tried my own until a few years ago. I've since lost that recipe and decided last week to look for a new one. I was preparing Roti with red curry sauce for dinner and thought that would be the flavor for my first blog post back from Thailand.
Apparently it was not meant to be. I have not yet mastered the art of Southern Thai/Malaysian cooking and actually ruined the Ghee I was trying to make. Casualties included 3 Tbsp butter and a plastic measuring cup (can we just blame that on the jet lag?).
In the midst of the cooking disaster I managed to prepare 4 delicious individual Apple Crisps based off of a recipe from Joy of Baking.
Dessert saved the day!
Individual Apple Crisps
adapted from Joy of Baking Apple Crisp
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/8 c white sugar
1/8 c light brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 heaping Tbsp rolled oats
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
3 cups of sweet and tart apples (I used Gravenstein and McIntosh and like to always use a combination when baking with apples), cored and cut into 1 inch chunks. Peel if you wish, I prefer unpeeled.
1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
Garam Masala to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter 4 individual ramekins.
For the topping, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, rolled oats, and walnuts in a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture is crumbly.
In a medium to large bowl combine apples, lemon juice and white sugar. Divide apple mixture equally among 4 ramekins. Spoon crumble topping over apples and spread so it is mostly covering apples. Add 2-3 dashes of Garam Masala to each ramekin.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the crumble top is golden brown and the apple mixture is sizzling. Let cool slightly before serving.