Talk about bad luck; Baking up a storm with less than a day standing between me and the ice cream party in Brooklyn, and disaster strikes. It’s a long story, but let me just tell you that I found myself with a sink full of glass and one less baking dish in my pantry. Flooded with regret and a mild sense of panic, having just broken a dish that had been a part of our family for even longer than I had been, a stunned silence pervaded my mind as I dropped each shard of glass into the trash bin, one by one. What to do, what to do. After a few moments of spinning my wheels unsuccessfully, the truth was became evident: I needed a new baking dish, as there were simply no others big enough to accommodate this crumble. Well, I was soon to find out that this was easier said than done.
Arriving at the local baking supply shop with a sense of urgency and my patient mother in tow, I searched fruitlessly for a matching dish. Employees soon came to my aide, offering up alternatives when the perfect pan didn’t present itself. A roasting pan? No, wrong shape. A jelly roll pan? No too shallow. So we departed with a bit more desperation than before, and ventured to the restaurant supply store. A myriad of fun gadgets and tools presented themselves, and I couldn’t help but poke a bit… But still, no baking dish. Off to investigate at a home supply store… but then, easily distracted as I am, I found myself in a spice shop instead. And then a Whole Foods. And then back at home, with no pan at all but plenty of groceries instead! Curse my wandering mind…
Finally, after going back out a few hours later once the sun had disappeared from the horizon, I secured an acceptable substitute- The only catch was, this model was much bigger than the original, and so the recipe had to be enlarged to follow suit. I must warn you, this makes a huge helping of dessert, and I feared that I would end up taking a good bit of it back with me after the party. Much to my delight and surprise, it was actually the first thing to go, even served cold! So, if you’re hosting a crowd and want an easy dish that will leave a smile on your guests’ faces, this one’s for you.
Just don’t go breaking that pan, or you might never find a replacement!
Apple Crumble for an Army
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Melted Margarine or Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Apple Juice Concentrate
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Pinch of Salt
12 Apples (6 tart, 6 sweet)
1 Cup Mixed Dried Fruit (Chopped into medium-sized pieces, if appropriate)
1 Cup Slivered Almonds
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients for the topping in a large bowl and slowly drizzle in the melted margarine or oil while stirring. It will seem dry at first, but don’t be tempted to add more liquid- Soon you will have coarse crumbs that are plenty moist. Set this aside for the time being.
Moving on to the filling, whisk together everything but the fruits and nuts in a 17 x 12 baking dish. I started out using a large bowl, but it wouldn’t all fit, so save yourself the trouble of another dish to wash (this is the vessel that you’ll bake the crumble in, too.) Once that’s done, start peeling, coring, and slicing the apples (I used granny smith and fuji, by the way, but any mix you’d prefer would be equally tasty.) Put the apple slices in the mixture you’ve stirred up in the pan, and toss to coat thoroughly. Make sure you don’t leave any slices high and dry. When all the apples have been dealt with in a similar manner, stir in the dried fruit so that it’s evenly distributed (go for anything you’ve got in the house, but I happened to have dates, apricots, and currants on hand). Sprinkle the almonds over the top without stirring, and then sprinkle the oat mixture over that. Slide the whole thing into the oven for 40 – 50 minutes until browned and bubbly. Wait at least 10 minutes before serving and dish it out while still warm.
Serves 25 – 30