For the Apple Filling:
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch freshly grated or ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out with the back of a knife (reserve the seeds)
Crème fraîche, lightly sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
For the Almond Crisp Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup slivered almonds, crumbled with your fingers, pretoasted
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup+1tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
0. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in bottom third of oven.
1. Make the filling: In a large bowl, toss the apples with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. (you can pre-toss apples in lemon juice if the apples browns quickly) (Suggestion: Patting apples dry BEFORE tossing in)
2. In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until the milk solids turn golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla seeds, and stir. (I used vanilla extract instead!)
3. Carefully add the apple mixture to the skillet; with a heatproof rubber spatula, scrape all the sugar and spices from the bowl into the skillet. Stir the apples to coat them with the butter and then spread them in a fairly even layer.
4. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring gently with the spatula every few minutes (try not to break the apple slices), until the apples are tender but not mushy (taste one) and still hold their shape, and the juices have cooked down to a fairly thick, brown, bubbling syrup, 10 to 13 minutes.
5. Scrape the apples into a wide shallow dish or onto a baking sheet to cool completely. Pour some, not all, of the syrup.
6. Make the Almond Crisp Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, almond pieces, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a pastry blender (or your fingertips) to quickly incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apple filling.
7. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown, the juices are bubbling and the apples are tender.
(Adapted from http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/09/06/almond-apple-crisp/)
1) Pretoast almonds
2) Needs 50% more crust