Dessert Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Crisp

mommeal time

Springtime has arrived here in Florida and the markets are filling up with local fruits and vegetables. It’s strawberry season here, but what has been in abundance over the last several months has been apples. They’re not grown here in Florida, but that’s okay. They’re a great snack for the kids - and for me - so picking up a handful of them at the grocery store is a regular occurrence for us.

I love a good apple pie, but I must confess that I’ve never made one. And March doesn’t seem like the best season for apple pie for some reason. But apple crisp? There is something lighter and less formal about an apple crisp than a stately apple pie. I’ll save the apple pie making for the fall, I think.

I’m a big believer in getting my kids into the kitchen to help me cook and bake, and this recipe has some great parts where the kids can really join in. After you peel and chop the apples, let your kids add in the sugar, spices, lemon juice, and zest. Another great task for children is the blending of the butter with the sugar, flour, and spices for the topping. They can get their (clean!) fingers right into the ingredients and squish and squash until the mixture looks like wet beach sand.

The aromas of cinnamon and apples baking in the oven will get the attention of anyone in a nearby radius when you make this dessert. Regardless of the season, this cinnamon apple crisp is a delicious dessert that will warm the body and soul. Serve it in a bowl by itself, or serve it with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, and you’ll make your family or guests very happy.

Cinnamon Apple Crisp

[For the apples, I used Gala since that’s what I had on hand, but Granny Smith would work quite nicely. Served warm with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, this is a guest-worthy dessert. Serves 4-6.]

Ingredients for Filling

  • 3 pounds apples (about 5 apples), peeled, cored, and chopped into ½-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • Lemon zest from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Ingredients for Topping

  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, softened


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Make filling: In a bowl, combine chopped apples, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and lemon zest and juice. Toss together and set aside.
  2. Make topping: Stir together flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces, and toss to coat with the dry ingredients. Using fingertips, pinch pieces of butter together with the flour and sugar mixture; it should resemble crumbly, wet sand when completely blended. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or in the freezer for 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add fruit filling to an 8-by-8-inch glass casserole dish. Spread chilled topping evenly over the filling. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Merry-Jennifer Markham is a mother of two and the author of the home cooking food blog, the merry gourmet. While managing a full-time career and trying to keep a handle on her household - which doesn’t always work out so well - she shares family-friendly recipes and the stories that go along with them. You can connect with Merry-Jennifer on Twitter or on Facebook.

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