SERVES 6 TO 8
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Making an apple crumble that tastes primarily of apples starts with plenty of fruit. We tossed 4 pounds of apples with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to enhance their bright flavor. Adding just 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the filling kept the apples from tasting too sweet. We baked the apples in a covered pan before applying the topping, which allowed them to collapse into a thick layer of filling. Adding nuts to the streusel loosened its consistency so that it didn’t bake up dense, and a couple of teaspoons of water hydrated the flour so that the mixture clumped nicely. Applying the topping midway through baking minimized its exposure to the juicy fruit, preventing it from becoming soggy.
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lowest positions and heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss apples, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and cinnamon together in large bowl. Transfer to 8-inch square baking pan with at least 2-inch sides and press into even layer. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and place on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer sheet to oven and bake on lower rack for 35 minutes.
- While apples bake, whisk flour, almonds, remaining ½ cup sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in medium bowl until combined. Add melted butter, vanilla, and water and stir with spatula until clumps form and no dry flour remains.
- Remove sheet from oven and smooth top of apples with spatula. If apples have not collapsed enough to leave at least ¼ inch of space below rim of pan, replace foil, return sheet to oven, and continue to bake 5 to 15 minutes longer.
- Scatter topping evenly over apples, breaking up any clumps larger than a marble. Transfer sheet to upper rack and bake until topping is evenly browned and filling is just bubbling at edges, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for at least 45 minutes before serving.
Photo Credit: Carl Tremblay