I took a cooking class when I was in elementary school and the only recipe I remember from that class was the apple crisp.  It was so good!  Apple crisp is really the lazy person’s pie.  I am all for being lazy in this case; because, making a pie crust is extra work and adds a lot of extra fat and calories that aren’t really necessary to make this a delicious dessert.  In addition, taking the pie crust out of the recipe makes it very easy for kids to make the whole recipe by themselves (with their own little hands) with just a bit of adult supervision.

I got this recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I like this recipe because it works for many different kinds of fruit.  The book includes modifications to the recipe for stone fruit and berries.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Then, add 6 tablespoons of butter (cut into cubes), 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 2/3 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl to make the topping.  My daughter mixed the ingredients with a metal pastry blender.  You can also use two knives to break up the butter; or, put the topping in a food processor.  You want the butter to be the size of a pea and incorporated into the other ingredients.

Then, you put your thinly sliced apples and pears in a bowl.  I kept the skin on; but, you can peel them.  Add a bit of lemon juice, grated lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon, and ground ginger to the fruit.

Put the fruit in your pie plate.  Or, if you have a toddler helping you, they can throw the ingredients in the pie plate (as long as most of the fruit ends up in the pie plate).

Crumble the topping evenly over the fruit.  Bake for about an hour and ten minutes.

I put the baked crisp into ramekins to make it look fancy.  You could add a bit of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt on top.

Then, feel free to attack it.

Apple Pear Crisp (or Lazy Person’s Pie)

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Ingredients for Crisp Topping

6 tablespoons of butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

3/4 cup of brown sugar

2/3 cup of flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of salt


2 1/2 pounds of fruit — apples or pears thinly sliced (you can peel them if you like)

Ingredients for coating the fruit

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons of sugar

a pinch of ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Use your fingers or a food processor to work the butter into the rest of the ingredients, so that each piece is coated and you have a coarse, crumbly mixture.  The butter should be the size of a pea.  Do not work the butter too long; because, you don’t want it to melt.

2.  Toss the apples and/or pears with the rest of the ingredients listed under “ingredients for coating the fruit.”  Put the fruit in a pie pan and top with crisp topping.  Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Serve in small ramekins topped with whipped cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.