Grilled Apple Crisp In Cast Iron Skillet

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The first time I made this Grilled Apple Crisp In Cast Iron Skillet I was pretty sure it was the best thing I’d ever burned. That’s not really a knock against the recipe — I mean, who doesn’t like burned cookies? — but more a commentary on the pretty epic failure of my initial attempt. The pecan-encrusted Grilled Apple Crisp in Cast Iron Skillet is the perfect fall dessert. It’s easy to make and tastes delicious!

Grilled Apple Crisp

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings (One 10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet or one 8-inch square cake pan)

Ingredients

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5 cups peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith apples

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch kosher salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butterAdd to Shopping List

Directions

  1. Prepare a grill for indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill, build the hot coals on one side only. If using a gas grill, heat one side only to medium-high heat.
  2. Add the apples to a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet, filling it almost to the top. Combine the flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using your hands, press the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms a course crumble. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
  3. Place the skillet over indirect heat, cover the grill and cook until the apples are completely tender when pierced with a knife and the crumble is golden brown and crispy, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  4. (Alternatively, you can bake this in an 8-inch square cake pan in a 350 degrees F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.)

GRILLED APPLE CRISP

Why yes, you can bake on your grill! This is traditional apple crisp that is baked directly on the grill. Grilled Apple Crisp is going to be your go-to this fall season (p.s., it’s also a fantastic addition to your Thanksgiving dinner!).

Grilled Apple Crisp in a black pan with a plate of apple crisp and ice cream to the side

We’ve been making apple crisp on our grill for years. As a family, this one is perfect for a family of four or less. But the apple crisp we’re sharing today is perfect for a crowd.

It’s also what we cooked up on AM Northwest recently.

Our philosophy of cooking is that anything you can cook on the stovetop or oven you can cook on the grill or smoker (and it’s a heck of a lot more fun!). That goes for baking an apple crisp directly on the grill!

CAN YOU BAKE ON A GRILL?

Yes. Think about your grill like you would your oven, and anything is possible. Get your grill up to your desired temperature. In this case we want it in the 350-375 degree (F) range for baking an apple crisp.

When baking in a grill, follow the same cooking temperature and times.

HOW TO MAKE APPLE CRISP

This is an easy apple crisp recipe, however there are a few stand out tips to help in a successful and flavorful dish.

Prepare your filling and your topping separate. For your filling, place your apple wedges, liquids, and spices into a large bowl and toss together.

SECRETS TO GREAT APPLE CRISP FILLING:

Add citrus. Both the zest and the juice. Adding a touch of lemon or orange dramatically improves the flavor of the dish, adds acidity to the apples, and gives the wow flavor factor.

Place in a cast iron pan. No need for oil or butter layer in the cast iron pan.

Top with the crumbly buttery filling just before placing the crisp on the grill to cook. That’s it.

SECRETS TO GREAT APPLE CRISP TOPPING:

Cold butter. Not frozen. Biscuits are great with frozen butter, but with apple crisp it just needs to be cold. When you mix the topping dry ingredients with the butter it starts to slowly bind together and melts perfectly. Cut up the butter into smaller squares, and then use a mixer to further incorporate the butter and the dry ingredients. Liberally apply to the top of the filling.

Then throw it on the grill at 350 – 375 degrees Fahrenheit to cook for an hour or until bubbly with a golden crust.

WHAT APPLES ARE BEST FOR APPLE CRISP

For any apple crisp recipe you want something crisp, firm, slighly tart, and slightly sweet. Something that will keep its structure after cooking for so long. You want to avoid softer apples like Red Delicious as they will cook down into an applesauce-like consistency by the time the crisp is done cooking. Ideally you should use a mix of apples. The best apples for baking include:

  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Braeburn
  • Pink Lady
  • Fuji
  • Cortland

Pro Tip: Don’t dice up the apple wedges too much. Larger chunks are good and help the apples to retain their structure. Using softer apples or smaller chunks cause the apples to disintegrate and liquefy making for an unpleasant texture.

HOW TO BAKE AN APPLE CRISP ON THE GRILL

How to Bake On a Gas Grill

Gas grills are most like an oven. With multiple burners, it is best to use the two zone method of cooking, and have the apple crisp on the indirect side at a temperature of 350 – 375 degrees F.

There is no need to foil cover the apple crisp as there is no smoke element.

How to Bake On a Charcoal Grill

Baking on a charcoal grill requires the use of the two zone method of cooking (or indirect) also. This technique is important so that the heat element (the coal) does not sit directly under what you are baking causing it to burn. Instead the indirect or two zone method will prevent burning and get the perfect flavor and a touch of wood smoke.

Another important element with charcoal is to cover the dish being baked for the first half of the cook, in this case an apple crisp. Covering the dish with foil and then removing the cover after a period of time avoids too much smoke flavor influencing the dish or the dish tasting ashy.

Steps for grilling an apple crisp- one covered with foil and one with oat topping on the grill

Finally, use a cast iron pan. Cast Iron can handle the heat, most specifically as a good conductor of heat in a grill where the heat source can sit in different parts of the grill.

How to Bake on a Pellet Grill

Because Pellet Grills are designed as indirect cookers, simply set the target temperature at 350 degrees F and place the crisp covered in foil in the grill. Be sure to also use cast iron or a high heat metal. Remove the cover half way through the cook.

HOW LONG TO COOK AN APPLE CRISP

  • 350 Degrees F an Apple Crisp will take around 1 hour 15 minutes
  • 375 Degrees F an Apple Crisp will take around 1 hour
  • 400 Degrees F an Apple Crisp will take around 45 minutes but may burn, especially the topping, so we target an optimum range between 350 and 375 degrees F.

This is easily adaptable to your oven using the exact same cooking temperature and times.

Grilled Apple Crisp

Smoky undertones make this Grilled Apple Crisp an unforgettable dessert! This versatile Easy Apple Crisp can be grilled or baked.

This versatile Easy Apple Crisp Recipe is wonderful served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that will melt into all the crevasses. A simple, classic pairing that’s perfect as your cooking transitions from summer to fall.

Why You Must Try a Grilled Dessert

Bill received one of those fancy, ceramic Big Green Egg grills for Father’s Day last year. You’re supposed to be able to bake on them, but we’re still trying to master basic grilling without charring our entrees to a crisp. But when grilling season and apple season collide, I had to create a grilled dessert. So I went out on a limb and decided to attempt a Grilled Apple Crisp.

  • It’s perfect during the transition from summer grilling to autumn baking!
  • If you love grilled food, the smoky nuances will win you over.
  • This apple crisp is a super easy recipe!

Reader Endorsement:

From Jeremy: Absolutely amazing I have now made this around 20 times on my charcoal grill except this time I took some applewood chips and smoked it in the final stage. 😋 Thanks for posting this recipe‼️

How to Make a Grilled Apple Crisp

The process of making this apple crisp recipe is simple.

  1. Slice up some apples, mix with sugar and spices, and place them in a cast-iron skillet.
  2. Cover and grill until a sweet, bubbly syrup develops and the fruit softens.
  3. Next, carefully add the buttery streusel topping over the fruit.
  4. Continue grilling until the crisp topping turns a golden brown.

The process was a bit daunting, though, since we only own a charcoal grill. But, thankfully, it came with a built-in thermometer. There is definitely a learning curve. I cautiously left the vents only slightly ajar, which worked wonderfully at keeping the grill at a moderate temperature.

The resulting crisp had a faint smoky taste. Just like you’d expect if it had been made on a campfire. Bill came home from work and was more than pleased that it wasn’t one of my “off-limits” till I photograph dishes.

And as an extra bonus, I didn’t heat up the house by turning on the oven. But feel free to bake this one up in your oven as I have been for years. Set your oven to 350º and bake until the center is bubbly, 35-45 minutes.

Tips for Making Fruit Crisps

  • PRO-Tip: Use seasonal fruit or fruit frozen at the peak of the season. Buying fresh peaches in the winter won’t produce the same quality of dessert as recently picked fruit.
  • Make apple crisps in the fall, peach crisps in the summer, rhubarb crisps in the spring, and berry crisps whenever you can find sweet, fragrant fresh berries.
  • The fruit you find in your grocer’s freezer is typically picked and frozen at the peak of their seasons. You can always substitute frozen fruit for fresh fruit. I’ve encountered some sour frozen berries, so be familiar with the brands, their flavor, and their quality.
  • PRO-Tip: Depending on the sweetness of your fruit, you may want to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe.
  • If you also have a picky spouse who only likes oatmeal for breakfast, try this apple crisp recipe without oats. Feel free to find another topping if you love oatmeal topped crisp.
  • PRO-Tip: Try to keep your grill somewhere between 350 and 375 degrees to mimic the baking temperature of your indoor oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Grill Apple Crisp?

There are a couple of excellent reasons to grill apple crisp. First, in the summer, keeping the oven off prevents a hot, uncomfortable kitchen. As long as the weather cooperates, your grill can be a viable oven substitution.

Also, the grill does something an oven cannot! It adds a smokiness that will bring back memories of childhood cookouts or camping trips. This apple crisp is perfect for a late summer cookout.

What is the difference between a crisp, crumble and a cobbler?

A crisp, crumble and cobbler can all be fruit desserts, but it’s the toppings that differentiate them. Crisps tend to have a simple topping with flour, sugar, butter, and sometimes nuts and oats.

Crumbles have similar toppings to crisps but without the components that make them crispy, like nuts and oatmeal.

Cobblers are topped with more of a biscuit topping, often dolloped or cobbled on top of the fruit. Variations of a cobbler are finished off with a pie crust topping, cookie dough, or cake batter.

Which Apples Are Best for an Apple Crisp?

A variety of baking apples makes for the most flavorful apple dessert. Using a crisper apple like Granny Smith or Honey Crisp, then adding a softer apple like Golden Delicious is a nice combination. Any good baking apple will work well.

What is an Apple Crisp Topping Made Of?

This simple crisp topping has 3 ingredients: Flour, Brown Sugar and Butter. Chopped Nuts and Oatmeal are often in crisp toppings.

How Do You Keep the Topping Crispy?

Keeping a crisp topping crispy can be a challenge as the flour will start to absorb juices from the filling as it sits. But if you pop it into a 350-degree oven and let it reheat, the topping with regain some of its crispness.

How Do You Store an Apple Crisp?

It will keep at room temperature for a day or two, but after that, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator to prevent it from spoiling. Freezing is not recommended as the topping will get very soft as it defrosts.

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