Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chou's Party - Mason Jar Apple Crisp

Chou is a pastry chef who doesn't like or crave sweets at all. He's incredibly picky about desserts and there are few that he'll eat for his own enjoyment (as opposed to because I want to split one or a friend wants an opinion). Apple pie is probably his favorite dessert and one of the few that he might even go back for a second piece. I wasn't up to the task of baking enough apple pies for 40 people for Chou's birthday party, so I thought crisp would be a decent alternative. Perhaps we'll make a pie on his actual birthday next month. 

For the crisp I pulled a few ideas off pinterest and decided I wanted to bake it in mason jars. They came out great! I love how the cranberries add so much color in the jars! I used Ida Red apples which held up great while baking. They aren't as tart as some baking apples so they complimented the cranberries well, while allowing me to cut down on the sweetener. I purchased them from a local farmer, so the skins were nice and soft and I was able to leave some of them on without negatively affecting the final product. The coconut oil added a subtle coconut flavor (I used raw oil) that I really liked, but next time I'll cut back the amount because some of it settled out after baking.

To finish them off, I topped the cooked crisps with a cupcake liner held on by a canning rim. This added a splash of color and a little fun without being too frilly.

I modified this recipe.

Apples with Maple Walnut Crisp

8 medium sized baking apples (as I said, I used Ida Red) 
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
4 teaspoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 cup maple syrup, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel 4 of the apples and leave the remaining 4 unpeeled. Core and cube all the apples.

In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberries, orange juice, vanilla, half of the maple syrup (1/16th to 1/8th cup, depending on how tart you want it), and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Spoon mixture into pint-sized mason jars. Pack jars fairly tight as they will settle once cooled. Leave about an inch of headspace (measured from top of apples to the lid) for the topping. You should have enough for 6 pints.

In a small bowl combine remaining maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, walnuts, oats, and coconut oil.

Spoon mixture over the apples, dividing evenly between the pint jars.

Place jars in 9x13 baking dish and place in oven.

Carefully pour water into the bottom of the baking dish, enough that it comes about 1/2" - 3/4" up the outside of the jars.

Loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over all the jars to keep the crisp from burning.

Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is browned and apples are tender.

Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. 

The Lancaster County in me also enjoys this with a splash of milk instead of the ice cream. It makes a great breakfast that way ;)

Packed jar ready to go in the oven

Jars before baking

Cooked jars just as they came out of the oven

Set up with the cupcake liners

Apples with delicious crisp!

this post has been entered in Real Food Wednesdays

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