As a kid, I was not a huge fan of cooked fruit, and I wouldn’t say I liked apple sauce. It may seem strange that my dad’s apple pie was one of my favorite desserts as a kid. This was not a double-crust pie; oh no, this was a crumb-topped apple pie. The crumbs made it so good to me and almost everyone who enjoyed eating it.
I can remember sneaking pieces of the crumb top off the pie before it was served, and my cousin and I always fought over the piece with the biggest crumb on top. To me, the crumbs were simply perfection and made the apple pie what it was.
When I met my husband in college, a true cooked apple in every way, loving guy – he thought I was ridiculous when I told him I would only eat my dad’s apple pie. He still thinks I’m a little crazy now about only eating my dad’s apple pie, but after eating his fair share over the years, I think even he’ll admit my dad’s is the best.
Once I had a family of my own, started trading holidays, and attended my first Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law’s, I knew I had to bring some of my traditions to the table. Knowing I would miss my dad’s apple pie, I wanted to replicate it and share it with my new extended family.
As a less experienced baker, the idea of making a pie crust was a little bit scary to me. As many people do, I thought about buying a frozen crust, but I knew my dad would be disappointed. He’s a straight-up, make-it-from-scratch guy, and I grew up with that. Although I don’t disparage anyone who would instead buy than make it themselves, cooking and baking from scratch is part of my bones. I knew I needed to figure out another way.
Then I thought, why make a pie when I know everyone’s favorite part (especially mine!) is the crumbs? That is when I began making my family tradition with apple crisps, and no one has complained.
I started with my dad’s recipe for apple pie and pretty much prepared the apples as he did. I get them sliced and tossed with a little lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. And even though his crumbs are perfect, I decided to change them up a bit and add my own spin by mixing in a little rolled oats. I love all things oats, along with flour, sugars, cinnamon, and butter.
Although nothing beats my dad’s apple pie, I have to say my apple crisp is pretty good. And saving a few calories by skipping the crust means no one needs to feel guilty about topping their warm apple crisp with a big scoop of ice cream.
Follow my recipe here.