I cried after my last farmers market of the year.
There was a local arts + crafts show occurring after market, and I wanted to wait around for it to start. It would start 30 minutes after we were done cleaning up, which seemed like forever after already being out in the cold Philly air for six hours that day. I sat in the car and cried. And I thought about it. I thought I was crying because of the seemingly long wait to check out arts + crafts (dramatic, much?). But I wasn’t. I was crying because I didn’t want market to end. I didn’t want to get into the car and go home. That would just mean that I’d have to admit that it was over.
While reminiscing with Greg recently, I told him that I’d never forget the very first time I got to work market. It was just over two years ago. I was still at IUP, finishing my bachelor’s and Greg was living in Philly, just beginning his time at Drexel. It was a Saturday, and I was sitting on the bed in his tiny studio apartment. He was sitting at his desk when he turned to me and said, nonchalantly, “We are good to work market tomorrow.” I freaked out. I had always loved farmers markets and for me, it was a dream to work at one. I get to work at one TOMORROW?? And for his family’s farm?! Dream. Come. True. The next day, I geared up with a light green Three Springs tee shirt, traveled to market, and loved every second of it.
That was September 2012. Then, until May of 2013, I worked market when I was in Philly, visiting Greg on weekends – and yes, that is how I wanted to spend my Sundays visiting. May 2013 – present, I’ve worked market every Sunday that Greg and I have been home in Philly – which has been most.
This past Sunday was the last market that I will have worked as a Philly resident. The last Saturday that I made sure to be in my Queen Street apartment bed early, to be refreshed for market Sunday. The last Sunday morning that I took my breakfast to go, to eat in the car while taking in the Philly skyline on the drive to market. The last Sunday we searched for a parking spot along Pine Street. The last Sunday Greg and I came home with goodies from all of our favorite Headhouse vendors. To be honest, there won’t be many “lasts” in Philly that I am sad about, but all of these, are surely some of them.
I can honestly say that I’ve looked forward to working Sundays for the past 2 years. I’ve enjoyed every moment working at market for Three Springs Fruit Farm. All of this is thanks to Greg, and his family. Thank you Greg, thank you Three Springs and thank you Ben (Greg’s cousin), for giving me the opportunity to live out a dream. How a farmers market has made me so happy and particularly emotional, I do not know, but it surely has. In this new adventure that Greg and I are embarking on, I can hope that I find something that makes me as happy as market has here.
Now, this recipe. I’ve had this apple crisp recipe and post sitting in my drafts for months. I couldn’t find the right words to pair with the post. But it’s time to share, and my recent emotions with my last market seem the right fit for a recipe featuring Three Springs apples.
I know that there are a lot of apple crisp recipes out there, and a lot of people are loyal to one, so I’ll tell you just a bit about mine.
Here’s what I love about my crisp recipe. The apples are just lightly sweetened, with no cinnamon – just 1 tablespoon of sugar in all of those apples, for a very natural apple taste. The apple skins are still on – a must for me. There’s no traditional white flour – instead I’m using almond flour which adds a great, nutty flavor (and for gluten free friends, is naturally gluten free). And butter, because sometimes it’s just necessary and it tastes so darn good in this.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
-Almond flour: I know that it is not a staple ingredient for most people, but it is for me and I love always having it on hand. It adds great taste and texture to baked goods. If you don’t keep almond flour on hand, consider it. In addition to today’s recipe, use it in these, these and this, too!
-Apples: Use any variety, don’t be particular. Admittedly, I am particular about many things in life, but which apples I bake with is not one of them. I’ve made this crisp many times and have used a mix of different apples each time – whatever I’ve had on hand. What you use will be good. Also, use local apples when possible!
-Arrowroot starch: This is what I have been using instead of cornstarch. Arrowroot is a natural and more nutritious option. Cornstarch can be substituted if desired, and although I have never made it with cornstarch, I feel fairly confident it would produce a similar end product.
–Penzeys vanilla sugar: I picked this up about a year ago and to be honest, this is the first time I’ve used it. I am in love with it for this recipe though and plan to keep stocked with it just for this. It’s just sugar mixed with vanilla beans (yum!). Plain, white sugar can be substituted, and, if you’re feeling fancy, throw in some vanilla beans with that sugar.
It’s been awhile since I’ve share a dessert recipe with you (or any recipe, for that matter!), and this is one that I feel especially good about. I hope that this crisp is enjoyed in every way by all who try it.
- 4-5 large apples, any variety
- 1 tablespoon Penzeys vanilla sugar (or plain, granulated sugar, see note in post)
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch, see note in post)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons cold butter
- Preheat oven to 350*.
- Rinse, dry and slice apples as thin as you can get them.
- In a large, but shallow baking dish, add apples, 1 tablespoon sugar and arrowroot starch. Mix gently to coat all apples.
- In a mixing bowl, add oats, almond flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well to combine.
- Cut butter into small cubes and add to the dry oat mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingers (like me!), mix butter into the dry mixture to make the crisp. When done, the mixture will look like coarse crumbs and butter will be fully incorporated.
- Evenly distribute crisp mixture on top of the apples in the baking dish. Bake 45 - 60 minutes, or until apples are soft and crisp is slightly browned and crispy.