I declare this to be the best homemade dessert in the world. It’s easy, and comes together in about 15 min from ingredients you likely already have in the house. It’s flexible, and can be made in all kinds of shapes and sizes, whether you have just 1 apple and a ramekin, or you’re serving 25 people at a buffet. You can make it with any type of apple — or use pears! — or a mix of the sad apples left in the crisper.
And best of all, it’s delicious. The butter and brown sugar meld together into caramelly crunchiness while the apples soften but retain enough tartness to offset the topping. Prepare to fall in love.
This is another recipe from my grandmother, Ethel Bebbington Sutherland.
- ¾ cup (packed) brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
- ⅓ cup toasted almonds or walnuts, very finely chopped (optional)
- ½ tsp salt (or just a pinch if you're using salted butter)
- ½ cup butter, cold and cubed
- 6 - 8 medium-sized apples
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Find an oven-safe dish that's between 2 and 4 inches deep. A pie plate is great, as is an 8-in. square baking dish
- Stir the brown sugar with the flour, chopped nuts and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to squish the butter into the flour mixture bit by bit. You should end up with some pea-sized lumps of butter as well as some lima-bean-sized lumps too.
- Peel and slice the apples. Put the slices into a bowl and add about ⅓ cup of the topping mixture. Stir well then transfer the slices into the baking dish. Add the rest of the topping and smooth it into an even(ish) layer.
- If the dish is filled right up to the top, place it on a baking sheet (in case it bubbles over) then bake 35 to 45 min or until it's bubbly at the edges and beautifully golden brown. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.