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Apple Almond Crisp

Crisps, crumbles, cobblers or whatever you call them are wonderfully homey desserts that can be made with the fruits of any season. In fall, an apple crisp is a nice ending to a Sunday supper. In summer, replace the apples with an equal amount of blueberries or peaches. This crisp is adapted from Cooking for Comfort by Marian Burros (Simon & Schuster 20003)

Apples

7-8 cups firm, peeled, cored tart-sweet apples, cut in 1-inch chunks

3-5 tablespoons lemon juice

¼-1/2 cup sugar

¼ cup maple syrup (or honey, if you prefer)

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

A few shakes of salt, to taste

Topping

½ cup sugar

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or oatmeal, if you prefer)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut in ½-inch pieces

1 cup sliced almonds

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or crème fraiche as accompaniment

Makes 6 to 8 serving

Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 2-quart ovenproof glass or earthenware casserole that is at least 2 inches deep.

Mix the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, maple syrup, lemon rind, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. (Taste the apples so you know how much lemon juice and sugar to use.) Place the apples in the casserole.

For the topping, stir the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt together. Add the butter and in a mixer or food processor, mix together only until crumbly. Stir in the almonds.

Cover the casserole contents evenly with the topping and bake 50-60 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and the top has browned. Since the back of most ovens is hotter than the front, turn the dish once or twice to brown evenly.

Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or crème fraiche.

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