Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

Salted Caramel Apple Crumble - made February 16, 2014 from Lauren's Latest
I'm a sucker for warm apple cobbler in almost any form, be it called cobbler, crisp, grunt, fool or crumble. And the picture from Lauren's Latest sucked me right in. What did I do for new recipes before I found all these visually appealing ones on pinterest? (Answer: I used my baking books and relied on the ones with lots of pictures.)
I liked this recipe, not just for the salted caramel addition but also because it could be made in a cast iron skillet. I bought an 8" cast iron skillet ages ago, probably because there was some kind of skillet cornbread I wanted to make. I can't remember actually making the cornbread and I've been hanging onto this cast iron skillet for years now. About time I used it.
Since it was a bit on the small side, I only could fit half the apple recipe, i.e. 2 Granny Smith apples. But by the time I realized that, I had already made a full recipe of the topping. Not to worry, I'm rather fond of crumble topping so I didn't see any harm in using a double amount of it. How's that for rationalization?
When making the topping, one trick I learned from Martha Stewart is to squeeze streusel topping into large clumps then when you break it over the apples, be sure to still leave large "crumbs". That is, you don't want fine, powdery crumbs as much as nice big clumps. The large crumbs bake up crisp and provide a nice texture that's a great contrast to the softness of the baked apples.
I thought this recipe was delicious. I was especially careful to cover the salted caramel all over with crumble topping as I knew if it was exposed to heat, it would get hard and chewy when cooled. Some of it did bubble up between cracks in the topping, especially around the edges but not too much. The only drawback is I did find it a bit too salty. You add salt to the apples when they're cooking and, combined with the Trader Joe's salted caramel I used, it was just a tad too salty for my bland taste buds. Next time I think I'd go with a regular caramel sauce. Regardless, I loved the crumble topping and this makes for an awesome sweet treat in winter - comfort dessert at its best.

3/4 cup salted caramel sauce (storebought or your favorite recipe)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. For the crumble- combine all ingredients together using a stand mixer. Mixture will be crumbly, but stay together when squeezed. Set aside.
  2. Prepare apples and toss in lemon juice. Cook apples in a large cast iron skillet over medium low heat in butter to draw out moisture. Sprinkle with salt to draw out all the moisture possible. Drain apples and place back into skillet. This process should take about 5-7 minutes of cooking.
  3. Pour 3/4 of prepared caramel sauce into the apples and stir gently. Squeeze the crumble topping into large clumps and break it off over the top of the apples, covering completely. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until topping is browned. Cool slightly and serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

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