Happy fall, amici! How ’bout a new twist on Nanny’s crisp? One you might even consider adding to your holiday dessert table, what with the pretty colors and all. Mind you, Nanny wouldn’t have sprinkled alcohol over crisp, but it’s a mighty fine idea. And I like to think she’s smilin’ down on me in my kitchen regardless.

When it comes to apples, I’m a Macoun girl all the way. They’re tart, sweet and easy to find in the fall here in the Land of Steady Habits. Though my favorite farmstand buddy at Berruti’s reminded me today with a rhyme, “Northern Spies for pies.” Support your local orchards and farmstands, find your favorite apples and follow me to the kitchen to make this crisp!

APPLE CRANBERRY CRISP WITH ALMONDS

For Fruit
5 cups Macouns, cored and cubed (4 BIG apples yielded 5 cups for me)
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For Crisp
1 stick (8 tablespoons salted butter)
1 cup quick oats (not instant oats, mind you, QUICK ones!)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark* (I thought I was fancy and used cognac once–did my kitchen smell AMAZING, too! You can’t taste it, of course. This time, I used Maker’s Mark. You can also use water.)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Butter an 8″ x 8″ baking dish. In a bowl, combine fruit with sugar and cornstarch to coat. Place fruit in dish.

Melt butter in skillet. Add quick oats and almonds and saute, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or a little more to get the oats ‘n almonds lightly browned. Don’t go too crazy because they’ll brown more in the oven. 😉

Mix together sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir into oat/nut mixture.

Spread crisp mixture over fruit.

Sprinkle two tablespoons water (or booze if you are so inclined!) over the top. Bake at 400 degrees F 30 minutes or until fruit is tender.

Talk about fruit basket upset: I had a handful of rhubarb stalks in the fridge, picked from our friends’ garden, some blueberries leftover from last week and a small native peach. What to do?

Sometimes you’ve just gotta ride the nostalgia train–what can I say but the classics endure. Nanny’s apple crisp as a base recipe can be used for any variety of fruits, varying the sugar depending on what you use. I halved her recipe and made a small fruit crisp with a personal portion, too. And god, it was good.

Double this recipe and you can bake in an 8-inch square pan rather than a smaller casserole dish as I did.

NANNY’S FRUIT CRISP
from the recipe files of Eva Maturo & Hope Simmons

FOR FRUIT
2 cups fruit: 1 cup rhubarb, some blueberries and a small peach
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 cup sugar

FOR CRISP
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup quick oats
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water

Start with two cups of fruit.

Butter a small casserole dish. Combine fruit with sugar and corn starch to coat.

Place fruit in dish(es).

Melt butter in skillet. Add quick oats and saute, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or a little more to get the oats lightly browned.

Mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir into oat mixture.

Spread mixture over fruit.

Sprinkle water. Bake at 400 degrees F 30 minutes or until fruit is tender. Top with ice cream or whipped cream if you like, but this kat likes it just the way it is. It’s great for breakfast or dessert or anything in between!