Apple crisp is one of my all-time favorite desserts. Nothing says fall to me more than a warm and comforting crisp. I have made apple crisp a million ways, but this recipe is my new go-to version. Even classics need an update sometimes, don’t they?
I love the idea of sweet and savory with the addition of fresh herbs. A little fresh thyme gives this crisp and slightly earthy flavor. I also added a touch of honey-flavored whiskey to the apples—it adds a depth of flavor that cannot be beat.
When I am making an apple crisp, I like to start with the crisp part first. Even though there is lemon juice in the apples, I don’t want them to turn brown while I am working on the topping. Pulse together flour, sugars, salt and oatmeal in a food processor. If you do not have one, you can do this by hand.
Pulse until it resembles coarse sand. If you pinch it together, it should stick. Set this aside or keep it tightly covered in the fridge until ready to use, up to 2 days.
Get started on the apples. Golden Delicious is my favorite for baking, but you can use a variety if you like. Toss all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour the apples into a 9x13 pan coated with cooking spray. Crumble the topping into the pan. I like to sprinkle a few extra thyme leaves on top. Bake for 1 hour.
Start on the caramel by combining sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, but do not stir. You can swirl the pan, but never stir; otherwise the sugar will crystallize. After about 10 minutes, the sugar should turn a beautiful amber color.
Whisk in heavy cream. The caramel may seize a little, don’t worry—keep whisking! The heat from the pan will melt it all together. Whisk until it is smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in vanilla, orange juice and whiskey. Pour into a heat-proof container and chill until ready to use. The caramel will thicken as it cools.
I like to serve my crisp slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pour the caramel over and serve.