Originally created 09/14/05

Versatile apples star in dessert

Apples are available year round, but they never seem more mouthwatering than at apple-picking time. Fresh from the tree, apples are appealing as a crisp fruit to bite into - but also as an ingredient as we go back to the kitchen and to baking.

Here's a recipe for an easy apple dessert, a variation of a familiar idea that first appeals with its gentle aroma of spices. Then there's the topping, a crunchy layer combining oats, dried fruit and nuts, and underneath, juicy apples, full of flavor.

The Cameo apples called for are a relatively new all-American variety, thin-skinned, orange-yellow streaked with red in color. They're sweet-tart and crisp to eat raw, and hold their shape and texture well when cooked.

Cameo Apple Crisp

(Preparation 20 minutes, baking 40 minutes)

For the filling:

8 cups Cameo apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup chopped pecans

½ cup dried cranberries or cherries

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2½ sticks (1¼ cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To make the filling: Place ingredients in large bowl; toss to combine.

To make the topping: Mix flour, oats, sugars, pecans, cranberries, salt and cinnamon in large bowl. Cut in butter (using pastry cutter or two knives) until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Spread apple mixture into 9-by-13-inch baking dish; cover apples evenly with topping. Bake 40 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden. Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

Makes 8 servings.

(Recipe developed for AP by Cameo Apple Marketing Association)

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