When I was a junior in college, I was enrolled in this creative writing class called “Writers and their Regions.” We studied a specific region of Texas, in this case East Texas (cause Texas is that big, y’all) and we read books and poetry written by authors who called East Texas home. During spring break we went to East Texas an stayed in a cabin for the whole week, with the point that during the day we would work on our semester project–mine was writing a book–and at night we would come together for a meal and talk about the authors we were reading, some abstract ideas that we came across, and how our projects came along. We had three professors that went with us, and another four or five that came to visit throughout the week.
It was all very pretentious.
But even so, I LOVED it.
It was right up my alley. In fact, when I was asked by my professor to attend the trip my senior year, I was at the same time honored that I was asked back (one of the few) and angry that I was getting married and that my fiance lived a million miles and had insisted I spent spring break with him. Since, you know, I hadn’t seen him in 3.5 months. But whatevs.
Anyway, the girls were usually in charge of dessert while the guys were in charge of the nightly meals. For some reason the boy chefs outnumbered the girl chefs. Feminism at its finest. So one day one of the girls wanted to make apple blackberry crisp, and she put all of us to work making enough for 20+ people. We had the most awesome conversations about life, love, and books while we peeled and cored apples and stirred up the crisp.
I can’t eat this without thinking of her.
This is my version. And I’ll admit that this time I made it I took the easy way out and used one of those store bought crisp mixes, because we had it leftover from last year when my husband insisted we buy it in bulk. We were going for dinner with friends, and I needed a quick, delicious dessert I could make. Usually I would balk at the idea of making a dessert from anything less than scratch. But to be perfectly honest, we’re in the throes of community building over here, and every.single.time I turn around I’m having to make an extra dinner for a neighbor, or we’re having people over and I have to cook double (or triple) the amount I usually do, or we’re invited somewhere and I’m requested to bake dessert. After stressing out each and every time about making everything perfectly from scratch, I decided to heck with it, and gave in to the aid of box mixes where appropriate (or where the budget necessitates it).
So this is why it’s a quasi-recipe. But whatever you want to call it, it’s darn good.
Apple Blackberry Walnut Crisp
Crisp mix or crisp ingredients
1. Peel the apples. Or don’t. Whatever.
2. Cut the apples into however thick of slices you want and line the bottom of whatever size pan you’re using. This is a non-negotiable, because using whole apples just won’t work.
3. Throw in as many blackberries as you want. I ended up halving mine because they were humongous.
4. Douse the thing in lemon juice. Or sprinkle the juice. Whatever you think is necessary.
5. Mix the crisp mix. (Or find a from-scratch crisp topping you like and make that.) Add extra oatmeal to whatever crisp mix you’re using. Add tons of walnuts. Mix the crisp with twice the amount of butter it calls for on the box (or recipe). Your crisp needs to be thick. Like, if you wanted to make crisp cookies you could totally roll up the dough, that’s how thick of a crisp it is.
6. Layer the thick crisp topping on top of the apples and blackberries. Put in the oven at 350 until the top is browner than when it was when it went in. Maybe 10 minutes?
7. Add more lemon juice to the top when you take it out.
8. Cut a giant slice and give it your husband. Then take a spoon to the pan and eat that yourself.
Any leftovers? Eat them for breakfast. Taking this to a friend’s house? Tell them you made it from scratch.
It’s all good.