7 Ways to Completely Screw Up an Apple Crisp

Rachel Johnson
Recipe by Sarah Patterson Scott

You're crisping all wrong!You're crisping all wrong!Somehow, most of the over-abundance of apples each fall finds its way in a shallow baking dish with a crispy crumb topping. When it comes to apple crisp, some prefer the nuts and oats while others prefer their traditional crumb topping. But even for the most apple-crazed baker, the seemingly simple apple crisp can stump.

Senior food editor Dawn Perry dishes on the top tips for avoiding mushy, too-crunchy crisp and shares the secrets for this cozy fall favorite. And whatever you do, don't forget the ice cream.

1. MYTH: Any Type of Apple Will Work

It's always best to use a mix of apples: our test kitchen recommends using a mix of tart and sweet apples. Some blends we recommend: Pink Lady with Granny Smith; Braeburn with Golden Delicious.

2. MYTH: Skin Doesn't Make a Difference

Apples should always be peeled and cored. Don't skip this step: Leaving the skins on the apples only messes with your crisp's consistency and texture.

See more: 7 French Toast Mistakes You're Making

3. MYTH: It's Done When It's Golden Brown

Using a paring knife, test the tenderness of your apples. If you meet resistance with the apples but your topping is still brown, cover the crisp with foil so the apples will bake without your topping burning.

4. MYTH: The Filling Doesn't Need a Thickener

Your topping is crumbly-you don't want your filling to be crumbly, too. Adding cornstarch and flour to the apple mixture will help bring your crisp's filling together.

5. MYTH: You Can't Add Too Much Sugar

You want to make sure you have a nice balance of the sweet and tart in your dessert. Taste your apples for sweetness before adding sugar to your filling. Nobody likes a sickeningly sweet crisp!

6. MYTH: Who Cares About the Topping

Some people prefer a streusel-style topping, and others like a crumbly topping. It's up to you! Seeds and nuts add an awesome unexpected crunch, too. Just make sure you add enough melted butter to coat everything: it brings it all together.

7. MYTH: You Can't Reheat a Crisp

Your day-old mush will turn back into the warm and crunchy crisp once more if you reheat in the oven at 350°. And for the love of autumn, please do not forget the ice cream. Or the whipped cream. Or the mascarpone…

See more: 25 Ways to Use Sriracha

servings: 8-10

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
10 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Pippin or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 3/4 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored
Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Topping: Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small moist clumps form. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Filling: Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir sugar and butter in large skillet over medium heat until smooth sauce forms. Add lemon juice and cook, stirring, until caramel is deep brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in salt, then apples. Toss until apples are evenly coated, about 1 minute. Scrape apples and caramel into 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; spread evenly. Sprinkle topping evenly over. Bake crisp until apples are tender, sauce is bubbling thickly, and topping is golden, about 50 minutes. Let crisp cool 15 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.

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