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Grandma Mary's Apple Crisp

Grandma Mary’s Apple Crisp
20 votes, 4.40 avg. rating (87% score)
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My grandma Mary made this buttery, cinnamon-scented crisp every fall, and to me, it’s the flavor of home. This is her adaptation of a recipe from the November 1945 issue of Country Gentleman magazine; I still have the original, now tissue-thin and torn at the creases. I make it in summer or fall, filling it with whatever’s fresh: apples, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, raspberries, or pears. But it really is best with apples.

This is probably a different sort of apple crisp than you’re used to. It has a simple, sweet biscuit topping made with flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and eggs. That’s it. Just drizzle with the butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. In flavor and texture, it resembles a cross between a biscuit and a sugar cookie and I love it. You can serve it with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of heavy cream, or no topping at all.

You can cut your prep time in half by using an old-fashioned apple corer/peeler, which makes short work of cutting the apples into perfect, even slices.

IMG_20130926_151028 (637x800)
An old-fashioned corer-peeler cuts prep time in half.



Grandma Mary’s Apple Crisp

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes; hands-on time: 30 minutes

Notes: For the perfect texture, I like to mix tender-tart apples, such as McIntosh or Jonathan, with firm-sweet ones, such as Jazz, Pink Lady, or Jonagold. The tender apples cook down and create a sort of thick sauce, in which the firmer slices are suspended—a mixture of smoothness and texture.

  • 1o large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into1/4-inch-thick rings or slices (see Note)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350°F, and set a rack to the middle position. Arrange the sliced apples in an even layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (no need to grease it); set aside.



In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs and, using a fork or a pastry cutter, work in until crumbly. The mixture will look like streusel, with a mix of wet and dry bits. Have no fear; the eggs provide enough liquid.

If your topping looks like this, it's ready to go.
Photo/Art by Amy Traverso
If your topping looks like this, it’s ready to go.

Spread the topping evenly over the apples, then drizzle all over with the melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Ready for the oven.
Photo/Art by Amy Traverso
Ready for the oven.

Bake until the topping is golden brown and apple juices are bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes, then serve warm from the pan.





Amy Traverso


Amy Traverso


Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !
Updated Thursday, September 26th, 2013

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One Response to Grandma Mary’s Apple Crisp

  1. Julia Marks August 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    Oddest note about cutting up apples I’ve ever read.

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