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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Apple and Blueberry Crisp with Hard Cider

For me, the best thing about fall is the huge variety of apples that arrive in grocery stores. Green apples, red apples, pinkish apples.  There are so many different varieties, I can't help thinking about what to bake. The problem is, with so many different types of apples, it can be difficult to know which are best suited for cooking, such as Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Winesap or Granny Smith and which are best for eating as a snack, such as Red Delicious or Honeycrisp.

I picked up a few bags of sweet and juicy Golden Delicious apples and the slightly more tart Granny Smith apples at the store, and that's where my dessert project began.  Combining the two varieties makes a delicious apple pie, but I wanted to turn these into more of a crumble-type dessert.  Something that could be prepared and served in the same pan, but would also be suitable for a casual dinner with guests.  So with the apples in hand, I got to work on this recipe.

I decided to begin with a bottle of Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple Hard Cider.  Why cook with water when you can cook with hard cider, right?  Thanks to the good people at Angry Orchard, we got the chance to experiment with their spicy cinnamon cider and it is amazing.  By itself, the cider offers a tart apple flavor with just the right amount of cinnamon and a not-too-sweet flavor, which would be the perfect base for my crisp.  But I wanted to add a touch more sweetness to the crisp without adding more sugar.  And then I thought ..blueberries!  The berries added just enough sweet flavor and they tasted great combined with the cinnamon.

Although I don't usually cook a lot of dessert-type recipes, this one was an instant family favorite, and something we will make often in the future. It's also a great way to get your kids to eat more fruit.  (Our picky eater asked for seconds!)  This is a really easy dessert to make and can be ready to serve in about an hour.  Be sure to buy some vanilla ice cream to scoop on top.  Enjoy!!

4 TB  Unsalted Butter Butter
4  Large Apples, cored and sliced, we used 2 Granny Smith and 2 Golden Delicious
Lemon Juice
2 cups  Frozen Blueberries
1 cup  Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple Hard Cider (drink the rest of the bottle - yum!)
1/4 cup  Sugar

In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced apples and sprinkle the apples with a splash of lemon juice so they do not discolor.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring to coat the apples with butter and lemon juice.  Add the frozen blueberries, stir and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the cider and sugar to the skillet, and stir to combine.  Heat the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until the apples are tender.  While the apples are simmering, prepare the crumb topping.

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup  Flour
1/4 cup  Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
4 TB  Unsalted Butter, melted
1/4 cup  Old Fashioned Oats

In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and oats and stir until the mixture is crumbly.  

When the apples are tender, and the sauce has reduced by about half, lightly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the apples and blueberries.  (Since there will still be liquid in the pan, try not to press the mixture into the fruit as this can make the crisp mushy.  The crumbs should rest loosely on top of the fruit.)

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes or until the topping is golden and the sauce has thickened.  Serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cool to room temperature before serving.  (p.s. If you are lucky enough to have any leftovers, this also makes an incredibly good breakfast the next day.)  Enjoy!!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers.  All opinions are mine.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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