Making a traditional apple crisp is a commitment to keeping your oven on. Softening crunchy apples into submission takes patience, and that long baking time is guaranteed to heat up your kitchen. This creates a real conundrum in September, when the siren call of cozy fall baking sings its cinnamon-scented song, yet the summer heat lingers. The solve? Making a stovetop apple crisp scratches the fall baking itch without ever having to turn your oven on.
If the concept of a no-bake apple crisp sounds too good to be true, let me promise you: Not only can you make an apple crisp on the stovetop, you can also make one that’s, dare I say, better than most oven-baked versions out there. This is because making a crisp on the stovetop results in firm yet tender apples that are jammy and caramel-like with a crunchy topping that never goes soggy. Here’s how:
The recipe starts with a simple stovetop streusel that’s made with only a handful of ingredients. You’ll melt all but one tablespoon of a stick of butter and combine it with flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix that up until marble-size clumps form, then melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the same cast-iron skillet. You’ll add the streusel mixture to the melted butter and fry it up, stirring often to prevent burning, until your topping is golden brown and fragrant. The streusel will feel slightly soft immediately after frying, but once cooled, it crisps up into perfectly crunchy yet chewy clusters that are sweet, salty, and buttery.
The apple filling is also a cinch to make, cooking in the same pan you that you used for the streusel. A combination of diced Granny Smith apples (worth seeking out for their unparalleled ability to cook down without becoming mushy), brown sugar, warm spices, vanilla, and lemon juice is cooked in even more butter until the apples soften. Because the cooking all happens on the stovetop, you can watch as the juices from the apples reduce down into a sticky-sweet syrup that coats the apples in a glossy sheen while perfuming the room with a welcome apple scent. Once the fruit is softened, you’ll add a touch of cornstarch to the filling to thicken it up slightly and tie everything together.
You’ll scatter the cooled streusel on top of that filling and serve it right out of the skillet. Since the topping is added just at the end, and not left to soak up apple juices for an hour in your oven, the clusters maintain their crunchy texture, providing a dynamic textural contrast to the tender filling. And unlike a glass baking pan, the heat of the cast-iron skillet will keep the crisp warm for a long time, adding a bonus functionality to the one-pan affair.
While the crisp can hold its own, it’s even better when topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream, dollops of whipped cream, or lightly sweetened crème fraîche. And for anyone wondering if you can make just the stovetop streusel and skip the apple filling, the answer is yes. It will add an air of buttery luxury to bowls of Greek yogurt with fresh berries—but I also love to snack on it by the handful. Or you can make your own DIY stovetop fruit filling made with whatever fresh fruit you have on hand and finish it off with a scattering of homemade streusel, all while remaining cool as a cucumber.
Stovetop Apple CrispJesse Szewczyk
Stovetop StreuselJesse Szewczyk
Originally Appeared on Epicurious
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