This is part 2 of a feature on my delicious experience with Chef Sherry Blockinger and sherry b dessert studio in Chappaqua, New York. You can find part 1 here.
On my first visit to sherry b dessert studio, I got to make her Apple Crisp for Two recipe in her kitchen. Sherry talked about how apple crisp is a simple fall dessert that can be customized easily, depending what spices and flavorings you add to the mix.
She said it’s a good introductory level dessert, since it isn’t quite as scientific and methodical as other desserts.
There were a lot of options to play with that day. The key is to end up with 1/4 teaspoon total of dry spices and 1/2 teaspoon total citrus juice or pure vanilla.
That day, I used a mix of cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, freshly grated ginger, lemon juice and vanilla bean paste. Some other suggested options were cayenne, black pepper and nutmeg.
The vanilla bean paste was something new to me, too. It came in a big jar and can be used instead of vanilla extract in any recipe. It smelled incredible!
This is the crisp I made that day, before it went into the oven. I pressed together a little heart out of the topping to see if it would hold up in the oven (it did, and it was so good!).
It was absolutely delicious, especially paired with her homemade vanilla bean ice cream (and some wine!), but I still wanted to bake it in my own kitchen to see if I’d still get such great results.
Like I need an excuse to make another apple-filled dessert – ha!
So after our annual apple picking adventure, me and my son set off to make our mini apple crisps. In the studio, Sherry used a small bread pan that was 7x4x2 inches. I don’t have a small bread pan at home, so we used some mini pie plates, and it worked out beautifully!
A few tips really made this come together easier. First off, her method of mixing the apples and flavorings in a zip top freezer bag and letting that sit while you put the topping together is genius. It makes it super simple to mix all the ingredients together (and fun for kids!), and it gets nice and saucy as it sits.
She also recommends cutting the apples into smaller pieces if you prefer a more applesauce-y texture.
One thing that surprised me was that when mixing the topping ingredients, you need to mix it for quite a bit of time before it starts to come together. After about 5 minutes on low speed, it’ll look like crumbly sand, and then suddenly it will start to clump together. I wouldn’t have thought that it would take that long for the clumps to start forming. She also assured me that usually the moment you turn your back, that’s when it’ll be ready, and you don’t want to let it go too far, so make sure to watch the mixer.
At home, we used a mix of a few different types of apples, which I thought worked out well. It’s definitely a simple, impressive dessert.
It’s also easily scalable to make more for a larger crowd (or leftovers!). Just don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!