Last month I bought a bushel of Cortland apples that were on sale from a local orchard. My kids were in an apple phase, when they would eat apples faster than I could bring them home. Of course, the moment I brought home a whole bushel, they lost their ravenous appetite for apples. So now I had a huge bag of apples just sitting around, waiting to be eaten. They got bruised as we moved them hither and thither in the kitchen since they had no assigned home. Finally, I took the whole bag and sorted it by whether they were bruised or not. There were at least three times as many bruised apples as not. So I began doing what any sane person would do. I started making apple crisp pudding.
Apple crisp pudding is a delightfully sweet way to use up bruised apples. My original recipe called for a boatload of sugar, and my kids called it Cavity In a Dish. They gobbled it up, but no, that was not an inappropriate name. I cut the sugar by 2/3 and it is still delicious. So let’s get to making some. To start with, you will need (clockwise from left) graham crackers, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, butter, and nuts. Usually I use walnuts, but I ran out from testing this recipe, so today I used pecans.
Prepping the apples
Before you get too into the apples, take a moment to put a stick of butter on to melt. Put it on low on the stove top while you prep the apples, and it will be ready when you are done with them. Also, preheat the oven to 350F.
First, you need to peel the apples. I have Cortland apples. For just four apples, I use a hand peeler, but when we are peeling lots of apples, or if A is helping me, I pull out a tabletop peeler like this one (not an affiliate link). It can get a little tricky peeling a bruised apple, especially if you are trying to get one unbroken line of peel.
Once all the apples are peeled, I cut them into quarters through the core. I then cut off the worst of the bruised parts. Give the peels (if children haven’t claimed them) and bruised parts to the chickens. They will love them.
Once you have just good apple left in your hands, take a paring knife and cut out the core. I also take this time to trim off the last bits of peel that the peeler couldn’t reach. Put the cores in the compost. You don’t want to give the seeds to the chickens. You could pick out all the seeds and then give the rest of the cores to them, but I don’t bother.
The original recipe said to slice the apples thinly, but I just chunk them up like I do potatoes. Put them all in a 3-quart round baking dish or something comparable. Now we can set this aside while we make the topping.
For the topping, we will start by making crumbs of six graham crackers. I got mine from the scratch-and-dent store, so the job was already partly started. Because I have one and find it fun, I use a mortar and pestle to crush up the graham crackers. Mine has a rather small capacity. I can fit one cracker at a time in there. I tried two the other day, but it was too much. Put the cracker in the mortar, and crush it up with the pestle. For the longest time I didn’t know which was which. I had always heard the two terms together, and always seen the two items together, but now I know, and so do you. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor or put them in a ziplock back and roll a rolling pin over them several times.
Once you get the first cracker ground up, you will need to hunt for the small mixing bowl you want. Then you can remember that you used it to scramble up eggs for your son before school, and you can find it in the dishwasher. Wash out the egg, pretend to dry it, and dump the graham cracker crumbs into it. Crush up the remaining crackers and put them all in the bowl.
Next we will chop up the nuts. I have a Pampered Chef food chopper that I love, but a knife will do just fine, too. Apparently, I want to dirty a lot of dishes today. About 1/3 cup of nuts fits under my chopper at a time, and 20 thumps on the handle/plunger/thingy-on-top makes almost crumb-sized pieces of nuts. Perfect. If you are using a knife, just chop them up until they are the size you want them. They can be large or small, as you desire. Dump these into the bowl on top of the graham cracker crumbs.
Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Stir it all together.
By now, your butter will be melted (you did set it on low, right? so that it doesn’t brown or burn on you?) and you can pour this into the bowl, too. Stir it all up so that it sort of sticks to itself, but not really. It should look a little clumpy.
Now you can dump the topping into the baking dish with the apples and mix them all together. The original said to layer the thinly sliced apples with this topping (that originally had three times the sugar): apples, topping, apples, topping, lemon juice that was never in the ingredients list. I just like to mix it all up together and coat all the little apple chunks with the topping.
Pop it into the oven for 45 minutes, and now you can lick your mixing spoon. I won’t tell. I won’t tell if you pop an apple chunk into your mouth before it goes in the oven either.
After 45 minutes, take it from the oven and let it cool. This is very important. The apples are very hot and you don’t want to burn your tongue. Not that I have ever done that. Nope. Enjoy it for dessert or breakfast. I bet it would be fantastic with some vanilla ice cream.
What’s your favorite way to use up bruised apples?