I have been going through an insane amount of apples lately. The empire and honeycrisp apples from upstate NY are just so good right now, I eat one for every snack and include them in so many salads and entrees and I decided it was time to make an apple dessert.
Thinking that I had a huge bag of rolled oats in the cabinet, I sliced up a bunch of apples and prepared them to make a crumble, but when I went to make the topping, I discovered that there were no oats. I was not satisfied with eating the apples as they were – tasty as they may have been on top of a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream – so I had to improvise.
Instead of oats, I used pecans. I put a few handfuls of them in a ziplock and crushed them up and mixed the topping out of that instead. I had actually bought about 2 lbs of pecans earlier that day with the intention of making pecan pie (which I still intend to do very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the recipe!) which is why I had them on hand. I am so glad that this accidental dessert came about. The pecans became all candied and the apples sticky and sweet. On the scale of desserts, this ones not so bad for you!
Apple Pecan Crumble
6-8 crisp apples, peeled and sliced
2 large handfuls pecans, crushed or chopped
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
Put oven rack in the middle and preheat oven to 375°. Grease a pie dish with butter. Peel, core, and slice apples. Toss with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Add them to the pie dish, then bake until apples are crisp-tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, crush or chop the pecans, then stir them together with cinnamon, salt, and the remaining brown sugar. Massage butter into mixture until it is evenly distributed and there are no large chunks. Sprinkle topping over apples and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until pecans begin to brown and apples are tender.