The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Simple Cooking: Apple-Honey Crisp

By Caitlin Klein in Food on Nov 24, 2010 5:00PM

If you love honey, we’ve got your cookbook right here. Honey, I’m Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive across the Centuries and around the World, edited by University of Illinois entomology professor and insect enthusiast May Berenbaum, is hot off the presses just in time for the holidays. Honey, I’m Homemade details the history of honey harvesting and consumption around the world, explains the honey bee’s capacity to process nectar, and provides a whole host of recipes that feature honey as an essential ingredient.

One of the best things about the recipes in this book is that it encourages people to support local honey producers by replacing white refined sugar with honey. It gives desserts a more complex, richer flavor that sugar can’t duplicate. Another notable feature - Berenbaum included campy old Illinois State Fair recipes, like the second runner up “honey crisp wafers” from the 1934 Illinois State Fair Culinary Honey Competition.

We tried several recipes from Berenbaum’s book, and the best was this apple honey crisp. While the recipe was lacking in certain details (for example, what kind of apples to use or whether they should be peeled was left out), the recipe was usable and gave us a crisp with lots of character. In a fit of groan-inducing humor, we chose to make our honey crisp with Honeycrisp apples.

Apple Honey Crisp
Adapted from Honey, I’m Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive across the Centuries and around the World.

5 cups apples, quartered and sliced
¾ cup honey (divided)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup flour
¼ cup butter, softened

Toss apples with ½ cup honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour apple mixture into 2-quart baking dish. In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the butter and ¼ cup honey until crumbs form; scatter flour mixture over apples. [Note: we found that it was easiest to get crumbs to form by mixing with our hands.]

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly.