This is my mom’s apple crunch. Well, technically I made it, but she’s the one responsible for introducing it into my life in the first place. It’s one of the recipes she’s handed down to me over the years that I jotted on a notecard with not-so-specific measurements and directions. Each time I make it I actually have to call her again and ask her a question or two, and then I jot a few more notes down. Finally, I’m recording it here, in a clear format that even you’ll be able to follow!
Growing up, this dessert could be counted among my family favorites and still to this day, when autumn rolls around, I get an urgent craving for it.
A couple of things I pondered while making it recently:
1) Why is it called a “crunch” rather than a “crisp”? I can’t say for certain but maybe it’s because the top crust is caramelized just enough that you have to ‘crunch it’ with your spoon.
2) Is it strange that my family puts cheddar cheese in a dessert? Perhaps to some, but a quick search on the world wide web tells me that there are plenty of others out there that do the same. Smart people. Apples and cheese just go so well together no matter where you put them!
When choosing the type of apple you use, I think it’s best to use a tart, crisp variety like Granny Smith, but mixing in a Honey Crisp or two gives it some extra depth. Play around with it, and see what you like best. But when it comes to the cheese, I say stick with cheddar, the sharper the better. When you pull it from the oven, warm and bubbly, it’s up to you as to how to serve it. I’m usually a purist, and eat it on its own, but it’s equally fantastic topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
(Who am I kidding? It pretty much makes no difference how it’s served, I can even eat it 3 days old, cold, straight from the baking dish and still love it!)
Cheddar Apple Crunch
8 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Slice apples into greased 9" x 13" baking dish. Add cinnamon and water. Mix flour, sugar, and cheese in bowl. Cut in butter. Use pastry blender to mix well. Spread topping mixture over the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
Allow to cool slightly. Top with vanilla ice cream if desired!