To amp up the flavor of the classic apple crisp, we add in brown butter, which lends a rich, nutty taste. Bake the crisp in small casserole dishes known as mini cocottes or, if you prefer, in a single baking dish.
Brown Butter Crisp with Apples and Blackberries
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
3 Tbs. water
3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) plus 2 Tbs. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) rolled oats
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 lb. (1.5 kg) Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) dice
1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) blackberries
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish or 8 mini cocottes.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, swirling the pan often, until the butter is toasty brown and smells nutty, 5 to 7 minutes. Watch the butter carefully at the end to prevent it from burning. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes, then slowly whisk in the water. Measure out 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the brown butter and reserve the rest in the pan.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, the 2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) brown sugar, oats, hazelnuts and salt. Add the 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) brown butter and stir until fully incorporated. Freeze the mixture until ready to use, at least 15 minutes.
In the sauté pan over medium heat, add the apples and the 2 Tbs. brown sugar to the reserved brown butter. Cook until the apples are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Add the blackberries, lemon juice and cinnamon and toss to mix well. Spread the fruit evenly in the prepared baking dish or divide evenly among the cocottes.
Crumble the frozen topping evenly over the fruit. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling around the edges, about 50 minutes, 40 minutes if using mini cocottes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen