Apple Crisp with Browned Butter, Vanilla, and Bourbon

by Food Hound on December 6, 2013

in Desserts

Post image for Apple Crisp with Browned Butter, Vanilla, and Bourbon

Dear My Usual Apple Crisp,

I know you’re good.  I know you’re the Old Reliable of the family.  You’ve made me happy for years.

But I found someone new.

I know you felt crowded when Pineapple-Ginger Brown Sugar Crisp joined the group.  I know you were suspicious when I made THE BEST Peach-Pecan Crisp and you saw your peach counterpart suffer rejection at the hands of the new favorite.  You were hoping I would never actually make this new apple crisp from Ambitious Kitchen I found last year, right?

Well, I did, and it’s true love.  This one has bourbon and browned butter.  The topping is thicker than yours.  There’s a gooey richness you’ll never have.

It’s not that you’re not delicious… but now I’ve tasted what is probably the only apple crisp I will ever make for eternity, so there’s no point in stringing you along.  My mom still loves you, but once I make this one for her, well, you might want to just retire from the game.

Thanks for a great run. We’ll always have the memories.

xoxo, TFH

Apple Crisp with Browned Butter, Vanilla, and Bourbon
 
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen, a blog I LOVE!
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • For the topping:
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (better texture than quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped almonds or pecans (I choose pecans always!)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted** butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • For the filling:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 (generous :))Tbsp bourbon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9x9" baking pan with butter. You can also use 8x8" but it will be a little tight till it bakes, when the apples shrink.
  3. To make the topping: Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and pecans in a large bowl until well-combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. This might take a little longer than buzzing everything in a food processor, but you do get a lovely texture in return. Still processing is totally an option.
  4. Once finished, place topping in the fridge and begin making the apple filling.
  5. To make the filling: Place butter and seeds from the vanilla bean*** in a medium saucepan, and turn heat on medium. After a couple of minutes the butter will begin to crackle and foam—make sure you whisk consistently during this process! Another minute or two, and you will notice the butter turning a slight brown (caramel) color on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to give off a nutty aroma. Browned butter turns into burned butter faster than you can say 'bourbon.' Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent it from burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  6. While the butter is cooling, place apples, ⅓ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and bourbon in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the brown butter to this apple mixture and toss again to combine. It will smell like magic, I promise.
  7. Take a heaping ½ cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Place the apple mixture in prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping. It may seem like a lot of topping, but the apples will cook down and the topping will provide an excellent crunchy exterior. And really, can you ever have enough topping for crisp? No.
  8. Bake the crisp on a baking sheet (just in case the filling bubbles over!) for 55-60 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream, if desired. You will be in heaven, I tell you.
Notes
**I use salted butter in anything involving browned butter because the salt brings the nutty flavor out ten-fold. But I know it's not something you usually have on hand (I routinely buy both salted and unsalted, but I'm a little crazy. If you're using unsalted butter, just increase your added pinch of Kosher salt to about ¼ tsp each for the topping and filling. ***Extracting the seeds from a vanilla bean is super-simple. Just run a very sharp knife down lengthwise down the center of the bean, then open the seam a little bit and run the flat back of the knife down the seam (end to end to make sure you don't miss any) to scrape out all the seeds. If you like, you can place the leftover bean pod in a container of sugar for a few days and *poof* vanilla sugar!!

 

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