I love a good pie for dessert during the holidays, but when it’s my turn to be the host and whip something from my own kitchen, I’m always looking for shortcuts. When it comes to pie, I especially want to find shortcuts.
Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t some unofficial declaration of my hatred for pie or anything. I like eating an occasional good slice of pie, I just am not the biggest fan making it.
As an individual who’s lately trying to cut down on carbs, skipping the pie dough, especially during this time of the year, honestly doesn’t sound like a terrible idea.
Back in the mid 2000’s, my mother and I were obsessed with Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa show on Food Network. As soon as I got out of class at 3pm, my mom drove me straight back home, where we popped leftovers into the microwave and turned on channel 32 (if I remember it correctly) and soothed ourselves with Ina’s soft mannerisms and mouth-watering demonstration of her weekly Friday chicken for her husband Jeffrey.
My mother and I wanted to make pie one day but were too lazy to make the dough. Luckily, we came across Ina’s Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp recipe from one of her Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, which is basically like a pie, but without the pie crust/dough/thingy at all. It was the perfect alternative.
Instead of crust, you top the apple-based filling with a light crumble that consists of some flour, butter, oatmeal, and brown sugar. No eggs or water or baking soda! As you pop the crisp in the oven, you’ll eventually smell the caramelized apple and hints of citrus zest bursting from the top layer of crispy and dough-ey goodness. It’s a rich kind of smell, but just enough that it won’t make your heart stop (thanks to the refreshing orange juice you will have added in there).
Again, I’m not a huge pie-making lover, but I hope this is enough to convince you to become a crisp-making lover.
Vivian is New York City-based food and culture enthusiast. When not working, you can find her traversing across the globe, frolicking around food markets, meeting new people at jazz bars, and immersing herself in art museums.