David and I love bed and breakfasts. We spent a good part of our honeymoon driving thru New England and stayed at several gorgeous inns, all with delicious food, beautiful rooms and scenery, and unique owners who entertained us with their conversation. A few years ago we went to The Inn Above Onion Creek for David's birthday. It's one of my favorite places ever, even though it's very close to our home. :) I love that dinner and breakfast are included, so you completely get away and don't have to worry about leaving. (It's out in the country, so that's a good thing!) And the food is prepared and planned by a gourmet chef, so no boring food here. On the night we spent here, the woman who was cooking served us the most delicious dessert by the fireplace - a warm Apple Walnut Crisp with vanilla bean ice cream. Since there were few people there at the time, we struck up a conversation with her and I asked her for the recipe. Bless her heart, she gave it to me! That was seven years ago and I still make it, especially in the fall and winter. Soooo good with a crumbled brown sugar, oatmeal, pecan topping and lots of fresh fruit and berries. I put one in the oven just about 30 minutes ago and it made me think I should share the recipe here. I love this recipe because you can use many different fruits instead of the apples. The one I just made has granny smith apples, fresh cranberries, and fresh blackberries. And the best part? Because of the ingredients, it's perfect warmed up for breakfast the next morning. :)
Apple Walnut Crisp
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/8 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans (you can lightly toast them, if you like; I just chopped some pecan halves and used them as is)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and set out until softened
3 cups fresh fruit, chopped into large pieces or left whole if berries (suggestions: granny smith apples, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, peaches, pears)
1 Tbsp. white sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 small lemon, juiced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large ceramic baking dish (3-3 1/2 quarts). Cut butter into cubes and set aside so it can soften.
Stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Add butter cubes and blend with your fingertips, squeezing and mixing together until mixture forms clumps.
Peel and core apples, chopping into big chunks. Wash and dry any other fruit you are using. Place all fruit into a bowl and toss with white sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour and the lemon juice. Transfer to the baking dish, spreading evenly.
Crumble oat topping evenly over apple mixture and bake until topping is golden and apples or fruit is tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm.
Makes about 8 good-size servings.