Recipe Relics

As spring approaches, I’m trying to use up the remaining storage fruits and vegetables in the larder. There were still a few last apples, so I made my favorite apple crisp recipe. My sisters call this Betsy’s Amazing Apple Crisp, but it’s actually my friend Sue’s Amazing Apple Crisp.

Food is something I have always shared with friends and family. When I pulled out this recipe I had to smile at the ancient recipe album where it lives. This book “Betsey Clark Recipe Album” (a different Betsy) from Hallmark has an inside cover inscribed with my name, Christmas, 1973. I would have been in the seventh grade. The recipe cards stashed in this album tell the story of my friends and family, and my food tastes, from that time until some time in my early post-college working days. Each recipe has a connection to my family or to my friends. It’s a history book of sorts. A Betsy History.

The first set of cards, all written in a rounded, immature, girlish print, are recipes for cookies and cakes, my earliest kitchen experiments. The recipe for the oatmeal cookies that I still make today is on this first page.

The next page of cards progress through various appetizers and entrees with a scattering of more baked goods, primarily recipes from my mother and my high school friends’ mothers.

The next three pages take me through my college years. I lived in a dormitory for four years, but we had kitchens. I cooked meals for myself and many meals with and for friends. Almost each recipe comes from a friend. and has an associated memory. There’s my freshman roommate’s Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup, Mike’s famous Congo squares, Linda’s pizza dough, and Mary Kay’s chicken and wild rice casserole.

There are also many, many fruit desserts, the aftermath of many fruit picking adventures with friends. We returned with a haul that we needed to eat. The best of these is Sue’s Amazing Apple Crisp.

The brilliance in this recipe is the double topping (always the best part of a fruit crisp). Half is mixed into the fruit, and the other half sprinkled on top. Each bite has plenty of crisp along with the melting fruit. For a change, I have sometimes made this with almonds, pecans, and even pumpkin seeds, instead of walnuts. They are all equally delcious! This recipe never fails to impress all eaters.

Sue’s Amazing Apple Crisp
Servers 8


1 cup sugar
1½ cup flour
¾ cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts

6 apples
½ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the topping: Combine 1 cup sugar with the flour. Cut in the butter (using pastry blender or your fingers) until the mixture is crumbly. Add the walnuts.

Peel, core, and slice apples. In a large bowl, toss the apples with ½ cup sugar, cinnamon, loves, and lemon juice. Add half the topping to the apples and combine. Transfer to a 1½ quart baking dish.

Sprinkle the remaining topping on the apple mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until topping is browned and apples are bubbly.

This recipe doubles well for a crowd.


Posted on 30 March 2011, in Baking, Winter CSA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Love apple crisp! I’ll have to try your version soon!

  2. Enjoyed your post. I have a few of those recipe files, but I was a new bride when I started to collect them. Delicious looking apple crisp!

  3. So funny. I have the same exact book. It came from Linda’s teacher reject gift box. It also chronicles my life through recipes. It has seen better days and is falling apart but I still reference it for the oldies but goodies including your oatmeal cookies, Captain’s Chicken and Mom’s brisket!
    PS – I never use walnuts in the crisp — always pecans. Will have to try it “your” way.

  4. What a lovely post, Betsy! I love your recipe book and that you know when you recipes are from. I have recipe cards and can kind of tell when I copied them because my handwriting has changed over the years. It is certainly a wonderful trip down memory lane, isn’t it? This looks like a great recipe to try!

  5. hi. looks delicious & easy. have apples on hand – so will try it tomorrow. you have really been cooking for a long time & still enjoy it & we all benefit from it. helyn

  6. What a fun thing to have! I bet you enjoy looking at it as well as cooking from it.

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