A buttery crumble of oats and walnuts atop a bed of tart, syrupy apples. This apple crumble is a perfect blend of comfort and flavor.
A few years ago, my mother and I went to pick apples at an orchard. I had never been before, and had no idea what I had gotten myself into.
I breathed in the late summer air as we walked up to the small rustic wooden shop. A small tinkling bell chimed our arrival. Large woven baskets lined the store. They held apples of all colors, bright green and crimson, soft gold and blushing rose. A churning machine in the corner boasted “Apple Cider, Freshly Made”. A sun-browned woman in a flannel shirt emerged from a side door.
“Hi, there! Have y’all been here before?”
“Nope. This is our first time,” Mom said.
“Well then, what can I help you with? We have several apples picked and in the cooler. We also have a few berries left. Or we have some apple varieties for u-pick. What are ya thinking?”
“Oh, we’d like to do the u-pick,” Mom said. She smiled at me.
“Alrighty,” the attendant said, reaching for a sheet from a stack of papers by the register. “Here’s your map. The jonagolds are great pickin’ right now. You might find a few of these right here, too,” she said, pointing to a couple rows along the map. “And the golden russets. That’s this long row along the edge. They are ready for picking, too.”
She led us out to an open barn and handed me an apple picker. I had never seen one before. It looked like a rake, except that the prongs formed a cylinder at the end of the pole instead of a flat fan.
She drove us up to the top of the orchard on a little cart and dropped us off at the first row of trees with two large buckets. “Taste as many kinds as you want,” she said. “Have fun!”
And we did.
That day we brought home three enormous bags of apples.
Then Mom and I began to process the apples for freezing. We peeled and sliced and diced until our fingers were sticky and our hands sore.
We processed apples again the next day. And again a few days later. We laughed and talked and watched movies while we worked. We likely froze at least 20 bags of apples that year. Many we marked for pies or crisps. Others for dumplings. Still others for breads or coffeecakes. And we saved some just to eat.
It was an exhausting, tasty, wonderful week.
Any time I peel an apple, I think back to our orchard trip and the following days of processing apples with my mom. I’m already looking forward to this fall when apples will be ready for picking once again.
In the meantime, I baked an apple crumble.
Apple Crumble (makes one 9×9 baking dish)
- 7 medium apples, peeled and diced
- a couple splashes lemon juice*
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 TBSP flour
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. walnuts, finely ground**
- 1/4 c. instant oats
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. salted butter
*Depending on the tartness of your apples, you may want to adjust the amount of lemon juice. This recipe was made with Gala apples.
**Once ground, the walnuts should measure about 1/3 cup, lightly packed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, stir together apples, lemon juice, sugar, and 1 TBSP flour. Pour into a greased 9×9 baking dish.
- Stir together 1/2 c. flour, ground walnuts, oats, and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a crumbly cookie dough.
- Sprinkle the topping mixture over the top of the apples evenly.
- Bake in preheated oven 45-50 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the filling is bubbly.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!