Happy Apples: Apple-Blueberry Crisp
Yeah, I know, you’re not supposed to use food for solace or a substitute for love. But this foolproof recipe might take the edge off of reading countless, heartbreaking stories of sexual assault and harassment arising from the Harvey Weinstein scandal. (Weinstein’s horrific behavior has dredged up many an unhappy memory for me, but we’re keeping this blog light – today it’s motherhood and apple pie – crisp, actually, which is even better.) I have some happy apple memories from childhood. When I walked into my grandmother’s farmhouse kitchen, the first thing I would see was a long, wooden table and two windows framed by her homemade, white lace curtains. Through the window were apple trees, trees that bore tart green fruit that my Hungarian grandmother would bake into apple strudel.
I’d sit at the kitchen table and watch her roll and roll the strudel dough until it was paper-thin. “See?” she’d say, gently lifting the diaphanous dough and holding it up towards the light. “Now you know it’s ready.” It had been transformed into something else, seemingly a living thing, a beautiful new skin. Is this why I’m thinking of apples today – of how when we hold things to the light and see them for what they are – the truth of a thing – a transformation can take place?
Once baked, the strudel was both crunchy and soft, tart and sweet. There was my grandmother in that pastry, there was her love and the tradition of our family, a thread going back through time, of other little children watching their mothers and grandmothers making that very same recipe and I felt that connection.
I want my daughter to have happy apple memories of her own. While our Connecticut yard doesn’t have its own trees, in late summer or early autumn we get in the car and drive to an apple orchard to pick our own. And when we get home, this Apple-Blueberry Crisp is what we make. Usually we double the recipe, so that it lasts for several days, and my girl likes to eat it for breakfast (without ice cream, so then technically it’s not dessert!). It’s healthy-ish. But so much better warm, with ice cream.
- 4 c peeled, cored and sliced apples (Granny Smith or other tart apples recommended)
- 1 c fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¼ c granulated sugar
- 1 c flour
- 1 c brown sugar
- 1 c quick-cooking oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ c butter, at room temperature
Mix apples, blueberries and granulated sugar in a two-quart casserole.
Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. With a fork or your hands, blend butter into flour mixture to form coarse crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and think happy thoughts. No bad apples. Enjoy!