BUTTERNUT APPLE CRISP

From Alison Baker and Cedar Circle Farm

At the 2011 Pumpkin Festival the farm was eager to get away from the heavy, cloying desserts most often seen in autumn. The farm’s stores were bursting with winter squash and bushels of apples that looked so good side-by-side, they decided to pair them in this twist on a classic crisp. At the farm, they get their apples from Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, Vermont, or from their own trees. This recipe works well if half of the apples are the type to hold their shape, and the other half dissolve easily when cooked.

Serves 8

  • 1 cup raw whole almonds
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • ¾ cup organic cane sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 cups (about 1¼ to 1½ pounds) Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ⅛-inch slices
  • 6 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into ⅛-inch slices

For Topping

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 200°. Place almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, approximately 40 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, sugars, vanilla extract, tapioca starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a large bowl. Add the squash and apples and toss to coat. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Cover and bake until the squash is fork tender, approximately 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping: Place almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely ground. Add the flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and butter; pulse until crumbly.

When squash is tender, stir apple/squash mixture, remove from oven and spread topping evenly over the squash-apple mixture. Bake uncovered until crisp is light golden brown and bubbling, approximately 30 minutes.

Cool crisp slightly, allowing juices to absorb.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Note: If you use a mandolin, preparation for this dish is very quick and easy. Otherwise, slicing up the squash and apples takes some time, but larger pieces will work just as well.

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