Two weeks ago, I was invited to a Thai food party, and told I could bring dessert. Since I wasn't about to take the time to make a Thai dessert, I went with apple crumble, after some annoying negotiations. I actually made this with the help of my Canadian friend Alia, who has featured on this blog before, in photo form. She helped with the peeling and apple preparation, and got my floor sticky by dropping tons of peels. In a good way! We just picked up the peels. And she did the worst part, which was carrying a baking dish through the middle of town (while I was at a carol service).
So we had a delicious and complete crumble. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken at that time, so you get the strangely angled sad leftovers sent off to Kathleen.
Now if you leave out the apple peeling, or enjoy peeling apples, or can do it while watching tv, which is my usual strategy (but you must be careful not to watch something to engrossing or you will end up peeling more than the apples, and no one likes that); other than the apple peeling, crumble pretty much tops the effort-to-impressiveness dessert scale. Here's what you do:
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 pounds large Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored, each half cut into 6 slices
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
So, first you peel your apples, throw them in a bowl, and toss them with the lemon juice and cinnamon. Put them into your baking dish. Combine your oats, brown sugar and flour, and cut your cold butter into small pieces. (I suggest taking a knife, running it under hot water, and cutting. When the butter starts sticking to the knife, run it under hot water again.) Use your hands to mix the butter into the dry ingredients. (I feel that in this situation, temperature is much less important than in pie crust, so hands it is.)
Put it in the oven at 375ish for something like an hour, and give it a couple minutes to cool.
Now crumble is an infinitely experimentable dessert. This recipe results in quite a lot of crumble (like, the stuff you put on top), but crumble stores pretty well, so you can just save it for your next crumble. Some people like raisins, I used slightly less butter than directed, etc etc.