This warm, cozy apple crisp for two made from scratch is the best way to use 3 apples. The filling is sweet and delicious, just like apple pie, and the crisp oat topping is everything apple crisp should be. Bake in a small gratin dish with a 3-cup capacity, or bake it in ramekins, it's your choice. But don't let Fall go by without enjoying it at least once!
Apple Crisp for Two
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. If you love maple syrup, try my maple bacon cupcakes.
We're always thinking about how much moisture apples exude when baked, and it always depends on the end goal of the recipe. For my mini apple pies, we don't want a soggy crust, so we keep the liquid to a minimum. However, for an apple crisp for two, we want plenty of liquid in the final result, so that is why we're adding a touch of maple syrup.
Best apples for apple crisp:
If I could go back in time, I might write my Master's thesis on cooked apple behavior. Instead, I wrote my thesis on the best way to manage weeds in organic lettuce and celery fields, but that's a story for another day. But what endlessly fascinates me now is every variety of apple varies in texture, flavor, juiciness, and ability to withstand heat so much.
The best way to handle the variation among apples is to bake with a mix of varieties. It's a wonderful world of apples, but we must start with Granny Smith apples. They're tart, firm, and they hold their shape while being baked, even for long amounts of time in a homemade apple pie. Granny Smith apples are welcome in every single apple dessert I bake, and we need 2 medium ones for this recipe. And for sweetness, we're using a single Honey Crisp. You might be living under a rock if you haven't tried the Honey Crisp apple. It's crisp, sweet and melts perfectly when cooked. It's the world's most perfect apple, and I will die on that hill.
If you're wondering what you can make with soft, local apples, try my caramel apple cinnamon rolls. Yes, you can use small local apples for this recipe, too, but if the variety of apple turns to mush while baking, just be aware the bake time here is 40 minutes.
- Butter. Keep the butter cold, because we're making a crumble topping for the apple crisp for two.
- Granulated Sugar.
- All-Purpose Flour.
- Rolled Oats. Rolled oats are the same as old fashioned oats. Rolled oats are flat and cook in 5 minutes. You can use 1-minute oats here, but do not use steel-cut or Irish oats.
- Granny Smith Apples. Two medium bright green Granny Smith apples.
- Honey Crisp Apple. You can sub any super sweet and crisp apple for a Honey Crisp.
- Maple Syrup. You can use grade A or grade B maple syrup, your choice.
- Nutmeg. Freshly grated is always best, and in my opinion, nutmeg is even better than cinnamon when it comes to apples!
- Lemon. We'll use a pinch of lemon zest (about ¼ teaspoon) and ½ teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice from one whole lemon.
- First, gather the ingredients, and have ready a 3-quart small baking dish, or 3-4 ramekins. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit and ensure a rack is in the center position of the oven.
- Let's make the crisp topping first: in a medium bowl, combine the cold diced butter, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, flour, half of the cinnamon, oats, and the salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to bring the mixture together.
- Really work the butter into the ingredients until a crumbly topping forms that holds together when you squeeze it in your hand. Set aside.
- Now, peel, core, and dice all of the apples into 1-inch chunks.
- Place the apple chunks in a bowl, and add the remaining ingredients: the rest of the sugar, the other half of the cinnamon, maple syrup, nutmeg, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Once the apples are fully coated with all of the ingredients, tip them into the awaiting baking dish. Scatter the crumble evenly on top.
- Bake the dish for 40 minutes, and broil it for 5 minutes at the end for an extra crisp topping, if that's your preference.
Is this apple crisp recipe healthy?
I include calorie counts on all of my recipes that can be found within the recipe card. In my non-expert opinion, apple crisp contains plenty of fiber from the apples, antioxidants from both the apples and maple syrup, and whole grain from the rolled oats. That is a very loose interpretation of the word 'health,' but I'll justify dessert any way I can.
Can I make this without oats?
If you're avoiding oats, you can swap in quinoa flakes for the rolled oats in this recipe. I do this frequently to up the protein in my desserts that my kids might eat. You can also use coconut flakes or almond flour instead of the oats.
Other apple recipes for you:
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced
- 4 tablespoons (50 grams) granulated sugar, divided use
- 2 tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, divided use
- 2 tablespoons (~11 grams) rolled oats
- pinch of salt
- 2 medium tart green apples (like Granny Smith)
- 1 medium sweet red apple (like Honey Crisp)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit, and have a small gratin dish with a 3-cup capacity ready. Gather ingredients for the recipe.
- In a small bowl, add the cold diced butter, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, flour, half of the cinnamon, oats, and the salt.
- Use a pastry blender or two forks to work the butter into the mixture. Keep mixing it until a crumbly mixture forms. Set aside.
- Then, peel, core, and dice each apple into 1-inch pieces.
- Add all of the apple pieces to a bowl, and toss them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the rest of the cinnamon, maple syrup, nutmeg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss very well to combine.
- Pour the apples into the gratin dish (or ramekins, your choice), and sprinkle the oat streusel on top evenly. Bake for 40 minutes. For an extra crisp topping, broil for 4-5 minutes at the end.
Butter: Unsalted, cold butter is best.
Rolled Oats: You can use 1-minute or 5- minute oats here. Alos called rolled oats, Old Fashioned Oats, or quick oats. Do not use steel-cut or Irish oats.
Granny Smith Apples: Any tart and crisp apple is fine here.
Honey Crisp Apple: Any super sweet and crisp apple works here.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 762Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 138gFiber: 7gSugar: 50gProtein: 11g