The Topping:

6 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

5 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3/4 cups pecans, chopped semi-course

The Fruit:

3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1-1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

Start off by placing the flour, the brown sugar, the granulated sugar, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, and the salt in the food processor work bowl fitted with the steel blade. Then drop in the chilled butter and pulse the mixture until its consistency changes from a dry, sand-like texture with large lumps of butter in it to a coarse cornmeal texture. You can accomplish this with the food processor by using about three 4 second bursts. Then drop in the pecans and pulse the mixture again until its texture changes to resemble crumbly sand this should take about five 1 second bursts.

It is important to remember, however, not to over pulse the mixture, otherwise it will take on a smooth cookie dough like texture. This you don't want to happen! It will make the topping tough after it bakes. At this point, refrigerate the tipping mix for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the fruit. Here's how you do it:

First, adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then toss together the cut fruit, the sugar, the lemon juice, and the lemon zest in a medium bowl. When the mixture is uniformly blended, take a rubber spatula and transfer it to an 8 inch square baking pan or a 9 inch round deep dish pie plate.

Next, remove the chilled topping from the refrigerator, distribute it evenly over the fruit, slide it into the oven, and bake it uncovered for about 40 minutes. That's all there is to it!

Just one little hint here: to guarantee an extra crispy topping, increase the oven temperature at the end of the baking period to 400 degrees and let the crisp go for an additional 5 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is a deep golden brown.

Because this recipe produces a true 'crispy crisp' that won't turn soggy when it cools, you can serve it either warm or right out of the oven or later at room temperature.


Chef's Notes:

1. To make a larger crisp that serves 10,, double all the ingredients, use a 13x9 inch baking pan, and bake for 55 minutes at 375 degrees without increasing the oven temperature

2. The test kitchens at Cook's Illustrated make this dessert with virtually every kind of apple ever to fall off a tree. But they say that by far the best results are obtained consistently whey you combine quantities of both Granny Smith and McIntosh apples 1-1/2 pounds of each, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch chunks. Don't substitute any other kinds of apples!

3. For detailed information on other kinds of fruit crisps, as well as other available recipes and you can access Cook's website at