Nutty Oaty Apple Crisp
Nutty Oaty Apple Crisp
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Is It a Crisp or a Crumble?

Have you always wondered what the difference is between a crisp and a crumble?

Wonder no more! The difference is in – get this – the oats. Traditionally, crisps would contain oats, but crumbles would not. Although the names are now used interchangeably, in the interest of historical accuracy we are sticking with crisp.

Plus, it just sounds better. “Crumble” is rarely a word used to describe a good situation.

Semantics aside, there is no debate over the deliciousness of this quintessentially fall dessert. Tender, juicy apples relaxing under a sweet, crunchy, nutty, oat-y, cinnamon-scented topping. It’s comfort food at the highest level. And, you know that saying “Easy as Pie”? Well, this is easier.

It’s also, quite possibly, the best apple crisp you will have this season.

The crowning glory of this dessert is, undoubtedly, the topping. Not only is it ridiculously good, you won’t believe how easy it is to make. Instead of messing around with cutting in cold butter, we stir in melted butter and then chill the mixture. In the time it takes you to get your filling prepared, your topping will be firmed up and ready to scatter over the top.

There’s something ethereal that happens to oats when bathed in butter and sugar and baked to a golden brown. We take things a step further by adding nuts, which add another level of flavor and crunch. If you’re not feeling especially nutty, replace them with an extra half-cup of – you guessed it – rolled oats. Funny how the answer is always oats…

Right now, there should be no shortage of apples to use in your crisp. Since this dessert is all about the contrasting textures, we recommend mixing up your apples, too. Try combining sweeter baking apples, like Gala, with a tarter, firmer variety, such as Granny Smith. As you peel and slice your apples, toss them with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning prematurely.

We toss our peeled and sliced apples with just enough brown sugar, cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and a spoonful of cornstarch. Be sure to taste your apples. If they are especially tart, add an extra spoonful of sugar.

And, a final note, we think apple crisp should always be served warm with vanilla ice cream. Unless, of course, you’re eating it cold for breakfast.

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Nutty Oaty Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is the quintessential dessert of fall. Sweet, tender apples are topped by an irresistibly crunchy nut and oat topping. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Course Desserts and Baked Delights
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6


For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (375 ml)
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (125 ml)
  • 1/2 cup nuts almonds, pecans or walnuts, chopped (125 ml)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar packed (80 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (2.5 ml)
  • 1/2 cup butter melted (125 ml)
  • 1/8 tsp salt coarse (.5 ml)

For the filling:

  • 6 cups apples chopped, peeled (1500 ml)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice fresh (15 ml)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar packed (80 ml)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (15 ml)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (5 ml)
  • pinch nutmeg freshly grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly butter a 3-quart baking dish.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together rolled oats, oat flour, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add melted butter, stirring until mixture is crumbly. Refrigerate until firm (about 15 minutes.)
  3. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until filling is bubbly, apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Let crisp rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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2 responses to “Is It a Crisp or a Crumble?

  1. My mother made this and she used homemade applesauce.She also sliced the apples into​ a bowl of salt water to keep them from turning brown. She used applesauce when she needed a quick desert.

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