The ingredients of an apple crisp are very simple, yet this was one of the hardest recipes for me to scale down to two servings. The problem lies with the apples: a single apple does not give off much juice. The only reason a typical apple crisp is juicy is because it’s filled with 6 to 8 apples. When a smaller version is made with just 2 or 3 apples, a dry dessert is the result. After many attempts, I discovered a touch of maple syrup brings moisture and a delicious flavor. I use Grade A maple syrup for its smokiness.
3 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, diced
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon, divided
2 tablespoons rolled oats
pinch of salt
2 medium tart green apples (such as Granny Smith)
1 medium sweet red apple (such as Honey Crisp)
2 tablespoons real Grade A maple syrup
¼ teaspoon (heaping) freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375° and have ready a small gratin dish with a 3-cup capacity.
In a small bowl, add the diced butter, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, oats, and the salt. Rub the butter into the ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms. Set aside.
Peel, core and dice each apple into 1” chunks. Add the apple chunks to a large bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the remaining ingredients. Pour the apples into the gratin dish and sprinkle the streusel on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. For extra crispiness and browning, broil for the last 5 minutes of cooking.