Apple Crisp and Ice Cream

Recently, I helped a friend, Lillian Elsinga, by doing some cooking for a get-together of her friends and family who were in town to celebrate her retirement as dean of students at UND. For dessert, guests were served homemade apple crisp and ice cream. It was a fitting way to end a wonderful party.

While I know that the region’s home-grown apples aren’t ready yet (we are still a couple of months away from the harvest), that doesn’t mean you can’t make a dessert such as this.

Some people probably still have some frozen apples in their freezers that would do, and there’s always the supermarket. For apple crisp, I recommend Granny Smith apples.

And more appropriately, July is National Ice Cream Month. What better way to usher it in than with some apple crisp topped with ice cream. It would be a perfect addition to any backyard barbecue, pool party or impromptu gathering.

Making apple crisp requires very little cooking skills. All you have to know is how to core, peel and slice apples, measure flour, brown and white sugar and oats.

Here is my favorite apple crisp recipe, courtesy of co-worker Marsha Gunderson, and another from "Betty Crocker Cooking Basics."

Northwood School Apple Crisp
6 cups apples
1 cup flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup butter
Cinnamon to taste
Put apples in a 8-by-13 inch baking dish. Cover with white sugar and sprinkle cinnamon on top of mixture.
Mix the remaining ingredients to form the topping. When mixed thoroughly, put crumble on top of apple mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or so.

Betty Crocker Apple Crisp
6 medium tart cooking apples
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel apples, if desired. Cut apples into quarters. Cut the core and remove seeds from the center of each quarter. Cut each quarter into slices. You will need about 6 cups of apple slices. Spread slices in an ungreased 8-inch square pan.
In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in the butter by pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions or toss with fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream or half-and-half.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 350 calories, 11 grams fat, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 85 milligrams sodium, 59 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams protein.
Variations: For blueberry crisp, substitute 6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries for apples. If using frozen blueberries, thaw and drain them first.
For rhubarb crisp, substitute 6 cups cut-up fresh rhubarb for apples. Sprinkle 1/2 cup granulated sugar over rhubarb; stir to combine. If rhubarb is frozen, thaw and drain.