- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate or 8-inch square baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- To make the topping, stir the brown sugar with the flour and cinnamon (if using) in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to squish the butter into the flour mixture. You should end up with some pea-sized lumps of butter, as well as some lima-bean-sized lumps.
- Peel and slice the apples. Put the slices into a large bowl and add about 1/3 cup of the topping mixture. Stir well, then scrape the slices into the prepared baking dish, spreading them fairly evenly. Top with the rest of the topping and smooth it into an even layer.
- Place the dish on a baking sheet, then bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly at the edges. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.
Tip: To make the topping in the food processor, whirl the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon first, then pulse in the butter.
Make ahead: You can make the topping and freeze it in a resealable plastic bag for up to a month. You can also bake the crisp up to a day in advance and reheat it at 375°F for about 15 minutes.
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