One of my favorite breakfasts is a big, crisp Fuji apple with some peanut butter slapped on it. Well…actually, I just sit with a spoon and a jar of that delicious, salty natural peanut butter and take alternate bites of apple and peanut butter. Heavenly.
So a few years ago, when Justin and I had just started dating, he was living in this crazy old rock house with what seemed to be about half a dozen roommates at any given time and a rotating assortment of farm animals. The set up was like something out of an indie film. My dad remembered driving past this house when he was in college in the 70s; at that time, it had been abandoned and there was no roof. Fast forward to 2014: Roof? Yes. Insulation? Yeah, not really. And this was the winter when Fayetteville got so much snow that school was cancelled for weeks. Literally. The house hadn’t come with a stove (!), so one of the roommates had moved in an old Detroit Jewel gas stove from the 1930’s. And for some reason, this crazy set-up with its cobbled together nostalgic elements and the unusually harsh winter weather caused us to gather in the kitchen pretty often. It was usually the warmest place in the house, and the cold made us crave things like hot apple cider and warm biscuits and apple crisp. Anything that would warm the tummy and gird the soul against the unrelenting wind and snow outside.
One of those winter days, likely buoyed by the brandy in the hot apple cider, I had a stroke of genius. We should make an apple crisp BUT we should put PEANUT BUTTER in it. I know. Someone should award me a Nobel Prize. It was a huge hit among the roommates (and farm animals). I haven’t baked an apple crisp without peanut butter since. And frankly, I don’t intend to!
This apple crisp is full of warm autumn and winter flavors. The base is pretty much what you would expect: apples, cinnamon, clove, and brown sugar. The crumble on top has the crunch of oats and butter and sugar. What makes this crisp special is the acid from a splash of red wine over the apples to give it the taste of a winter cider and a sprinkle of ginger to make you feel like it’s a holiday. Then, of course, there’s the peanut butter. It’s amazing how much more sinful this dessert becomes with just a few dollops. It goes from “yum” to “ohmygodisthislegal” pretty quickly. And trust me when I say that you’re going to want to put some vanilla ice cream on top. Because obviously.
for the filling
- 3 large Fuji apples, sliced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp clove
- 1/4 cup of red wine
for the crumble topping
- one stick of butter, cubed and cold
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 cup of oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place sliced apples into baking dish and pour wine over them. Mix to make sure they are all coated. Combine with sugar and spices and mix well to ensure even distribution.
- In a separate bowl, mix all the topping ingredients together with your hands (get ’em nice and messy!) until the ingredients are evenly distributed and the mixture is crumbly. Pour the topping evenly over the filling mixture and pat down a bit to make sure all the crevices are filled.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is browned slightly and the filling is bubbling on the sides.