I probably make apple crisp more often than apple pie simply because it's easier. If you have my first book of essays, "Appreciating the Simple," I've written on the art of apple-pie making. If not, I'll summarize here: Please, use a variety of apples for the best taste, always including one or two Red Delicious (the exception, I think, are Honey Crisps). Lemon juice brings out the taste of the apples; you don't need much. A bit of allspice added to cinnamon makes the best apples. If the apples are tart, use more sugar; if sweet, use less. Keep your apples stored in a cool place or they will begin to go soft and grainy. Bring to room temperature before slicing.
I like this recipe because the topping uses melted butter as opposed to the more familiar whole butter one must work into the ingredients. It produces a "crisp" crisp with a bit of crunch even the next day (if it lasts that long).
8-10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced*
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons water
1 cup "old fashioned" quick oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup butter, melted
*There's really no need to "core" apples unless you are planning to stuff them. Simply peel and begin slicing around and as near the core as possible. Slice into desired thicknesses. If the apples are crisp, make your slices thinner; if the apples are soft, make the slices thicker otherwise they will bake into applesauce.
Place sliced apples into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and vanilla. Toss. Mix the flour, white sugar and spices together. Mix into apples and toss until well coated.
Spray or butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Evenly spread out the apples. Sprinkle with the water. (Here's what I do: run your hand under cold water and shake/sprinkle it over the apples. Do this several times. Works like a charm.) You don't want a lot of water, just enough to make a nice "syrup" when they bake.
Mix the topping ingredients until crumbly. Evenly spread over the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Check the center to see if the apples are done. If not, cover with foil and return to oven for about 10 more minutes. Serve warm.
This recipe is easily halved. Place in an 8 x 8 pan or dish. Make sure you use Quaker Oats that reads "old fashioned" on the front. I've used the quick oats but you won't get as crisp a crust.