Grandma Mary’s Apple Crisp with Sweet Biscuit Topping

This buttery, cinnamon-scented apple crisp recipe has a simple, sweet biscuit topping you’ll love.

By Amy Traverso

Oct 03 2022


Apple crisp with sweet biscuit topping

Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

My grandma Mary made this buttery, cinnamon-scented crisp every fall, and to me, it’s the flavor of home. This is her adaptation of a recipe from the November 1945 issue of Country Gentleman magazine; I still have the original, now tissue-thin and torn at the creases. I make it in summer or fall, filling it with whatever’s fresh: apples, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, raspberries, or pears. But it really is best with apples.

This is probably a different sort of apple crisp than you’re used to. It has a simple, sweet biscuit topping made with flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and eggs. That’s it. Just drizzle with the butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. In flavor and texture, it resembles a cross between a biscuit and a sugar cookie and I love it. You can serve it with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of heavy cream, or no topping at all.

Notes: You can cut your prep time in half by using an old-fashioned apple corer/peeler, which makes short work of cutting the apples into perfect, even slices. For the perfect texture, I like to mix tender-tart apples, such as McIntosh or Jonathan, with firm-sweet ones, such as Jazz, Pink Lady, or Jonagold. The tender apples cook down and create a sort of thick sauce, in which the firmer slices are suspended—a mixture of smoothness and texture.


8 to 10 servings


10 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into1/4-inch-thick rings or slices (see Note)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350°F, and set a rack to the middle position. Arrange the sliced apples in an even layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (no need to grease it); set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs and, using a fork or a pastry cutter, work in until crumbly. The mixture will look like streusel, with a mix of wet and dry bits. Have no fear; the eggs provide enough liquid.

Spread the topping evenly over the apples, then drizzle all over with the melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake until the topping is golden brown and apple juices are bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes, then serve warm from the pan.