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Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Crisp

This crisp recipe makes enough topping for two crisps, because it’s always nice to have extra.

Almost any fruit and a little sugar will make you a quick delicious treat if you have some crisp topping in your freezer. You can make it as healthy or as decadent as you wish. I’ve had it for breakfast with yogurt and served it with vanilla ice cream but love it most with a big spoonful of creme fraiche.

It's also a lovely last minute gift to bring with you when you don’t want to show up empty handed.


Crisp Topping:

1 1/2 cups tigernut flour ( you can use all purpose or gluten free flour)

1 1/2 cups oats

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks of butter (226g) melted, slightly cooled


1/2 cup room temperature brown butter (see recipe below)

6 apples

1/3 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon bourbon (or dark rum)

Preheat the oven to 375°

Peel, core and slice your apples. Toss them in a medium bowl with the sugar, cinnamon, bourbon, and brown butter. Then put the mixture in an ovenproof baking dish.

Using the same bowl you used for the apples stir the flour, oats, pecans, sugars, and salt with a wooden spoon. Pour the butter in and stir everything until there are no dry bits left.

Using clean hands scoop the topping over the fruit. Gently pat it in making sure you cover the entire top. Bake for about 40 minutes. You will know it’s done when you see the fruit bubbling on the sides of the baking dish.

I like to bake my crisps (and pies) on cookie sheets just in case the fruit gets extra juicy and bubbly. No one likes sticky fruit juices dripping all over their oven. 

Brown Butter

Browning is a process that caramelizes milk solids in butter. It creates an irresistible nutty taste and adds depth of flavor. This recipe may seem a little daunting at first because you really need to pay attention but once you’ve made it once or twice you will have completely mastered it and will never have to read this recipe again. You will own the skill. It will become part of your repertoire, a card in your pocket, a secret ingredient that will make you a better cook. If you find yourself one day, after a long week or trip, with “nothing to eat” you will know exactly what to do with the butter in your refrigerator and the lonely carrots in your veggie drawer or you’ll make yourself a fantastic pasta from that forgotten box of spaghetti shoved in the back of your pantry, half a lemon, and a handful of pistachios all because you know how to brown butter.

I like to make brown butter in big batches with at least one pound of butter since it keeps for a long time in the refrigerator but you can make smaller amounts. If this is your first time I would start with no less than two sticks since two sticks are easier to brown than one. Smaller amounts cook faster and are easier to burn.


2 sticks unsalted butter (or more)

Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat.

You don't want to go any higher than medium low heat or speed the process in any way. You want to give it the time to caramelize. The butter will go through a few stages on its way to becoming its yummiest nuttiest self.

1. Once melted it will have a layer of cream on top.

2. Then it will look broken or almost like it’s curdled a bit. At this point you should start stirring it and scraping the bottom of the pot and sides so the milk solids don’t stick and burn faster. What you are trying to do is caramelize the milk solids in the butter. They will then impart the butter with one of the best flavors on earth.

3. The next stage is when you really have to tend to it. The butter will get foamy. At this point you want to gently stir and scrape constantly. It can rise up so be extra careful. Keep stirring and scraping until the foam looks like it has gotten a little foamier and slightly golden.

4.At this point remove the pot from heat and let it cool. The butter will cook a little more so it’s important to stop cooking it when you see it getting a little color.

Once it’s at room temp you can cover it. Leave it out if you are planning on using it in the next day or two but store it in the fridge if you make a large batch.


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