(PIX11) -- "Real Housewives" star Kathy Wakile stops by with some delicious recipes from her cook book.
Putting the ultimate homespun dessert in little individual ramekins brings the humble crumble a little elegance (it doesn’t get shoveled out of a big casserole dish and piled on the plate). I like to overfill the ramekins ever so slightly so that just a little of the sugary-appley-cinnamony juices bubble down the sides (I line the baking sheets with parchment so I don’t have to scrub them). If you leave a bit too much room—because you didn’t have quite as many apples as you thought, you’re stretching the recipe to make more servings, or you’re experimenting with baking dishes of different dimensions than called for—don’t despair. Top the crumblekin with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or gelato! Vanilla always works but maple walnut, caramel butter pecan and rum raisin are fine choices, too. If ice cream isn’t your thing, Chantilly Cream (page 183) is also great.
Makes about 1 dozen
4 medium crisp, tart apples
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, for dotting tops of crumbles
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins or sweetened dried cranberries
Twelve 3-ounce ramekins, custard cups, or other baking dishes
Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack positioned in the center. Generously grease the ramekins.
To make the filling, peel, core, and chop the apples into ¼ to ½ inch pieces and transfer them to a large mixing bowl (you should have about 6 cups of chopped apples). Squeeze the lemon over the top and toss lightly to combine. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the apples and mix thoroughly. (At this point the apple filling can be stored overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
To make the crumble topping, combine the flour, oats, sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the nuts and raisins and mix lightly with your fingers to incorporate.
Spoon a few tablespoons of apple filling into each ramekin, filling about ¾ of the way up to the rim and packing firmly with the back of the spoon. Top the filling with a piece of butter, then spoon on a heaping tablespoon of topping and pat gently to settle it down onto the apples, mounding up the topping a bit as the apples will shrink as they cook.
Set the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. (This will make the ramekins easier to handle and catch any drippings that bubble over during baking; or go a step further and line the sheet with foil or parchment paper to make for really easy cleanup.) Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and bubbling, rotating the tray midway through the baking time. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
TIP: In a pinch, you could use a muffin pan with foil cup liners or doubled paper liners instead of the ramekins. It makes for a less charming presentation, but it works.
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup cold heavy cream
Seeds from ½ vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, optional
Combine the cream, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl and whip to soft peaks.
“From Indulge by Kathy Wakile, with Miriam Harris. Copyright © 2014 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.”