I make this skillet apple crisp multiple times per season. In fact, after apple cider, this might be my family's favorite fall dish. We make it at the start of apple picking season, again at Halloween and always again at Thanksgiving. It's just that good. As you plan your Thanksgiving menu, I highly recommend adding this to your dessert list.
This recipe is adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe, removing the gluten and nuts, adding extra gf oats, and reducing the size of the skillet to really get a thick, crispy oat-y crust. The thing I like most about this recipe, minus of course its taste, is that the apple slices stay intact. If you prefer a more mushy/saucy crisp, simply slice your apples thinner. I do recommend slicing your apples by hand, and not using one of those cool corer-spinning-apple tools. If you slice by hand, you can better control the thickness of each apple slice.
Watch the baking time towards the end... it is fairly easy to leave it in the oven a few minutes too long and over-brown, aka burn, the crisp topping. Eat this warm with some vanilla ice cream at your Thanksgiving table this year. It will be a total hit!
Gluten-Free Skillet Apple Crisp, (serves 6-8)
- 3/4 cup gluten-free flour
- 1.5 cups gluten-free oats (Bob's Red Mill are great!)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 10 TBSPs unsalted butter
- 3 lbs firm, crisp apples (golden delicious and honeycrisp work best, just don't use a softer apple)
- 1 cup apple cider (not apple juice)
- 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
Begin by peeling and slicing your apples. Be sure to slice your apples on the thick side, approx. 1/2 inch thick. Gently mix apple slices in a bowl with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine gluten-free flour, gluten-free oats, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and kosher salt. Drizzle 8 TBSP (1 stick) of melted butter into the bowl, stirring until the oat/flour mixture is moistened and crumbly.
Time to turn on the oven- adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 450 degrees. In a 9" oven-safe skillet, bring cider to a simmer over medium heat. Let cider simmer approx. 5-minutes until cider is reduced by half. Empty reduced cider to small bowl and stir in fresh lemon juice.
In the now empty skillet, melt remaining 2 TBSP butter over medium heat. Once melted, add apple/sugar mixture to the pan and cook until apples begin (just begin) to soften and become lighter in color. Stir frequently for about 12-14 minutes, being careful to not let the apples overcook. If they overcook, they'll be too soft and the inside of your crisp will basically turn into applesauce while baking. It will still taste good, but will be mushy and just not the same.
Once the apples are softened slightly, remove from heat and pour reduced cider/lemon juice mixture into skillet. Stir gently and sprinkle oat/sugar crumble on top. Break up any big chunks making a nice even crumble topping across the entire skillet. Place skillet on a baking sheet, just in case their are bubble-overs, and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. Rotate sheet pan & skillet half-way through baking.
Bake until topping is golden brown. I recommend keeping an eye on the crisp during the last few minutes to avoid burning the crumble topping. Let skillet cool on a wire rack for approx. 15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
If you're making this for your Thanksgiving table, feel free to bake the skillet apple crisp up the night before and reheat in the oven prior to serving. Bring the entire skillet to the table-- it's rustic and beautiful. A perfect family-style dessert. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!