My husband and I got married August 10th, 2019.
Since my husband went through a culinary program and I used to manage a farmers market, I knew we would cater our wedding on a budget and have delicious food. We brined, smoked, and slow-cooked pork as a main dish and prepared a hearty salad station featuring fresh, local greens. We also asked our generous family members to contribute some of our favorite dishes: potato salad, macaroni salad, watermelon, etc. Honestly, the menu was short, but the food was delicious! Yes, it was basically a giant barbecue, but every bite was just right. When I remember that day, I still think about how perfect the food was!
When we started thinking about the wedding dessert, obviously, we thought about cake. I love cake, but I’m not sure if I could decorate a really nice wedding cake and I didn’t want to spend hundreds to hire it out. Something about cake didn’t sound right. We wanted something we could make in a large quantity that would make people feel warm and at home. Naturally, we started thinking about crisps.
Which reminds me of another story…
Years ago when my husband and I first started dating, my extended family flew in from Wisconsin for my dad’s retirement from the Navy. He served 33 years. THIRTY THREE YEARS. That was definitely a reason to bring everyone out!
My mom mentioned needing a dessert for a quick dinner one night before the retirement ceremony, and I asked my now husband what we could make quickly. I told him about the, oh, 20 lb box of peaches I had at home from the market, and he said we should make peach crisp.
He made the crisp, and I thought it was pretty good. However, it hit some old flavor memory for my uncle and he started getting really excited about crisp. He actually asked my husband if he could pay him to bake him an apple crisp!
We proposed a visit to a local farm town known for heirloom apples and purchased a couple varieties the farm stand owner recommended for baking.
My husband baked the apple crisp that night and served it warm with ice cream. We all know that apple crisp is good, but this one was heavenly. The apples had just enough bite and tang and that buttery, cinnamony oat crumble on top crunched on top of the ice cream. It was just perfect for an early fall night.
Naturally, when we thought about baking crisp for the wedding, it totally fit with our story! We knew it would be a sweet way to tie these memories together while serving a crowd.
We decided to serve two types: apple crisp and marionberry crisp! Both were delicious, but the apple crisp is the one I remember the most.
Wait, no cake at your wedding?
Actually, we DID end up having cake, too! We asked a mutual friend of ours who used to work as a pastry chef to bake us the darkest, richest, chocolate-ist mini cake she could. It was glorious, especially served on my milk glass serving tray! (You can see the milk glass love is real.)
We didn’t share this with anyone and I totally dropped chocolate cake ON my husband’s white shirt. It was perfect. But we still had crisp, too. 🙂
A Note on Apple Varieties
Honestly, I’m a big believer in baking with what you can. There is so much variation in apples and how they stand up to cooking, but ultimately, I don’t let that hold me back. I recommend baking this recipe with whatever apples you have, but if I offer one tip? If you’re using a sweeter apple, like a Fuji, try to incorporate something a little more tart too, like Pink Lady or Granny Smith. Mixing types of apples often leads to the best pies, crumbles, and crisps!
For this recipe, I knew exactly what type of apple I wanted to use: Gravenstein. It’s one of the earliest apples to ripen and is beloved by the canning crowd for its flavor, especially when cooked. It’s definitely a favorite for making homemade apple sauce. Since our wedding was in August, a little early in the apple season, I knew Gravensteins would be a perfect way to incorporate fresh apples! I just asked my local apple guy for 2 cases and picked them up the week before the wedding.
I just saw my local fruit stand post that the first of the season Gravensteins were in, which made me realize we needed to make this apple crisp again for our anniversary. It’s definitely going to be a tradition we keep each year.
Although we ended up making enough crisp to serve about 100 people…we downsized the recipe for just one 9 x 13 baking dish. You’re welcome.
I love that this recipe relies mostly on items I already keep in my pantry! I just needed some apples and I was ready to start baking.
Quick note on baking and apple size:
We baked this crisp for about 45 minutes with 1-inch apple pieces. Since Gravenstein apples in particular cook down so well, we recommend cutting them a little thicker (1.5 – 2 inch pieces) OR dropping the baking time to 40 minutes instead of 45. Of course, everyone’s oven is different. If the apples are bubbling away and the crisp is golden, you’re probably good around the 35-45 minute timeline!
Also, apple crisp is WAY BETTER THE NEXT DAY. We ate this while it was still warm from the oven and I told my husband it wasn’t as good as the wedding! The apples tasted too tart and mushy. I was disappointed and I told my husband it was a dud. We had to make it again. I think I hurt his feelings a little bit, but he agreed we could try it again.
The next day, we had some warmed up slightly from the fridge, and served it with homemade whipped cream.
OH, MY. I told my husband, “Nevermind! I take it all back. This is just as good as the wedding crisp.” I’m not telling you not to eat your crisp right away, but just know that the flavors really balance out after a few hours! It might save your marriage…or maybe just mine.
Wedding Day Apple Crisp with Oats
This is a pretty classic recipe that works best with fresh apples. It’s a homey, cozy combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, oats, butter, and apples. It’ll make you want to sit on the porch step and watch for fireflies (or lightning bugs). If only we had those here in Washington!
This is an excellent recipe to make from your pantry! The only extras I bought were the apples. Everything else was on hand.
My Husband’s Special Wedding Day Apple Crisp
- 9 x 13 baking dish
- Mixing bowl
- 3 pounds apples, ideally Gravenstein 9-10 apples; peel and chop in 1.5-2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tbs flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup oats We used quick cooking oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 sticks butter chilled; diced into 1-cm cubes
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Peel and dice apples in 1-inch chunks. Place into 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Sprinkle the apples with remaining apple base ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt). Mix toppings into the apple mix with hands. Let the mixture set while you prepare the crisp topping.
- In a separate bowl, prepare the crisp topping by mixing in all of the dry ingredients.
- Add the diced butter cubes into the dry crisp mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, press the butter into the dry mixture until it starts to seem sandy. My husband recommends keeping the chunks pretty large in general for a really chunky crisp topping.
- Place the crisp into a preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Your crisp should look golden and you should be able to see that the apples cooked down and created their own sauce.
- Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
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