No-Peel Apple Crisp

November 17, 2014

Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich is going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: A low-key apple crisp for Thanksgiving and beyond. 

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This is your rabbit-from-a-hat when you have no time to make a "proper" pie -- or if you are scared silly of making pie crust in the first place. But this is no second best; it’s a star in its own right and far better than most apple pies! I leave the skins on the apples, as my mother did, because they add flavor and body to the filling. 

Choose apples from the farmers market or get the produce guy in your market to let you sample before buying. If you include some red apples, the filling will have a gorgeous rosy hue. In a hurry? Skip the dried apricots and orange zest and juice (as my daughter used to do in college). The crisp is terrific warm or at room temperature, but it is especially flavorful cold -- even after two or three or four days in the fridge. I know this because I make multiple recipes the day before Thanksgiving every year, also as my mother always did, so we can eat apple crisp after as many meals as possible (and before bed for as many days as possible). 

Whipped cream is always nice, but not essential.

Bea's No-Peel Apple Crisp

For the topping: 

1⁄2 cup (65 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup (45 grams) rolled oats
1 scant cup (85 grams) coarsely chopped walnut pieces
1⁄2 cup (100 grams) sugar
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1⁄8 teaspoon salt

For the filling: 

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1⁄2 cup (70 grams) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup (50 to 100 grams) sugar, depending on the tartness of the apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 medium crisp, flavorful apples with a decent balance of sweetness and acidity (I like Pippins, Sierra Beauties, Pink Ladies, and new-crop Jonathans, or a mixture)

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Get excited about Alice's new book Flavor Flours: nearly 125 recipes -- from Double Oatmeal Cookies to Buckwheat Gingerbread -- made with wheat flour alternatives like rice flour, oat flour, corn flour, sorghum flour, and teff (not only because they're gluten-free, but for an extra dimension of flavor, too).  

Photos by Bobbi Lin


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  • Dorian
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    Laurie Krotz
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Dorian December 26, 2014
I've made apple desserts without peeling them for years and they are delicious ! My apple crisp is much like yours but I add different small amounts of fruit depending on what I have such as fresh or dried cranberries or wild huckleberries.
For our granddaughter I bake a gluten free( due to celiac diagnosis) recipe which I made up as the recipes I saw in books 11 years ago were awful.
Kim November 15, 2017
I want to make this as gluten free as well. Dorian, can you suggest a good mix of gluten free flours to use? Thanks in advance!
Laurie K. December 22, 2018
Kim, any of the cup for cup gluten free flours will work well.