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Easy Indulgence: Classic Apple Crisp

This classic apple dessert is served brown and bubbly from the oven. We've taken it to the next level with a rich and creamy custard sauce.

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A golden brown bubbling dish of classic Apple Crisp is a short sign that fall is here. This indulgent dessert really shows off fresh, spicy, sweet apples at their best and it served with a rich, creamy vanilla custard sauce. To begin, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl with a 1-1/2 cups of flour, add 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1/3 cup of pack brown sugar, 3/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt and whisk it to combine. Next, add 2/3 of a cup of unsalted butter that you've cut into pieces and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture until it's just beyond the crumbly stage and begins to clump together. Put 8 cups of peeled, sliced apples in a 4-quart mixing bowl. The slices should be about a half-inch stick so they hold their shape during baking. Add 2 tablespoons of freshly squeeze lemon juice and toss to coat the apples. To a small bowl, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar. If your apples are especially sweet, use 1/4 cup, but more if they're on the tart side. Add 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and an 1/8 teaspoon of freshly-grated nutmeg, still it all together. Sprinkle this sugar mixture over the apples and give them a good toss to coat them. Pile the apples into a lightly buttered 2-quart baking dish. Pile them high so you don't wind up with a shrunken crisp. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the apples. Cover the crisp first with a piece of parchment then with foil to prevent the foil from transferring flavor to the crisp. Put the crisp on a foil lined baking sheet for easier handling and to catch any drips. Put it in the oven and bake it for 20 minutes. Now remove the foil in parchment and be sure to open it away from you because it can release a lot of steam. Return the crisp to the oven and continue to bake it for another 30 to 40 minutes. While the crisp bakes, it's a good time to make the custard sauce. Put 1 cup of milk in a small non-reactive saucepan. Take one whole vanilla bean and twist and bruise it so it will release its flavor, but won't break or split it. Add it to the pan and heat the milk to just below a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Cover it and let the vanilla bean steep in the milk for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together four egg yolks, then whisk in 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk and slowly whisk the milk into the egg yolk mixture. Adding it slowly will prevent the hot milk from scrambling the eggs. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and return it to the stove. Cook the custard over medium heat stirring constantly until it's thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. The custard should never simmer or boil. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg. Then, stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover and chill the sauce until you're ready to use it. Now, let's check on our apple crisp. It's finished baking when the topping is golden, the juices are bubbling around the fruit and the apples are tender when pierced with a pairing knife. Let the crisp cool for 15 to 30 minutes, then serve it with a custard sauce.