Remember when I told you that when I get homesick I make (and eat) American food? Today was New England apple crisp.
I saw a photo on Facebook yesterday of my son, my one and only darling son who is older than most of you. He was wearing a squid hat on his head. Yes, I know, I’m luckier than most. Not everyone gets a surprise like this on Facebook.
It made me homesick for his sense of humor and his pure love of everyone around him. He has three children. His eldest is a sharp cookie who left high school at 16 to go to college. Three weeks later, happily into empty nesting, Al called to tell me that they were pregnant. So I have a grown grandson and two littlies 6 and 8. Al is a hands-on dad who had the brilliant sense to marry a terrific woman. Al wrote a post for me a while back about how to do Southern BBQ, Georgia style. If you read that, then I don’t need to tell you about his sense of humor.
While wishing I could be there wearing a squid hat too, I was preparing for John’s dad’s return home. He’s been in Melbourne for a week to celebrate his 93rd birthday. Rob’s a New Year baby and he has always celebrated his birthday in Melbourne with the family. This year would be no different. He loves flying – who wouldn’t? They put him on a wheel chair, whisk him on to the plane, cater for his every whim and deposit him at his destination.
There are heaps of cookbooks on our shelves and one was “Tastes of New England” and I began flipping pages. I turned over page after page, going through one state after another and then I saw Apple Crisp and I didn’t have to turn one more page. That recipe tweaked my memory and I went to my mother’s recipes. There were apples in the crisper begging to be used and I had vanilla ice cream. Done.
I knew Rob would like apple crisp and I was pretty sure he would say, “It’s a crumble.” I gave a little eye roll and said, “Yes, it’s a crumble.” No sense arguing. Since this is my memory food and I’m from Maine, it’s a New England apple crisp recipe. If you’re in a part of the world that likes to call it a crumble, go for it.
This is a dish most everyone loves and was a major comfort food in our family. There are few ingredients and almost no preparation. Slice the apples.
Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and ground cloves and sprinkle over apples, then toss to coat.
Make the topping while the oven is pre-heating and place over the apples.
Then 45 minutes later bring it out of the oven. Everyone in the house and half the neighborhood will have enjoyed the aroma coming from the kitchen. Waiting for it to cool just a bit is the most difficult part. The topping was crunchy and the apples meltingly soft.
Do you ever cook memory food when you’re missing someone?
- 6-8 tart apples, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ (scant) teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon plain / all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons cold butter cut into cubes
- ¾ cup plain flour
- 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup oats
- Preheat oven 180C/350F
- Place apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice.. toss to coat.
- Mix sugar, flour and spices and add to apples. Toss to coat.
- Place apples in a baking dish and cover with topping.
- In a food processor or use a fork, two knives or a pastry cutter, add the flour, sugar and butter. Process until it begins to come together.
- Place in a bowl and mix in the oats. Mixture will be crumbly.
- Put the topping over the apples and bake for 45 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling.
- Serve with cream or ice cream (or both if you're feeling naughty)