Our weeknight hours are very limited. We get home between 6:30 and 7:00 and bedtime is 8:30. I try to squeeze as much quality as I can out of that time. My twin 7-year-olds and I talk about our days, discussing academics, relationships, and the international news. If I’m lucky, the girls will have liked the dinner served at childcare and I can put off my own dinner until they’re in bed. Sometimes, though, they come home without having eaten and I have to scramble to feed them before bath time.
I have a number of weeknight quick meals in my repertoire: hummus, chips and fresh fruit; turkey and cheese sandwiches with baby carrots; whole grain mac and cheese with frozen sweet corn. I can’t plan for these meals since I never know when the girls will decide that dinner at the YMCA is yucky.
On occasion, the girls will ask for dessert, and our default is ice cream. Last night, however, we had fresh-baked apple crumble. While I make a fine apple-cranberry pie in the winter, there’s no way I could whip one up in during the evening rush. Instead, on weeknights, I make a super-quick version of apple crumble
This is no healthy dish. It’s loaded with sugar and butter. However, I believe that giving in to hedonism every now and then is a good thing. I’m teaching my girls to indulge in moderation. And, as J put it the first time she tasted my apple crumble, “This is so good! The ingredients say it should taste like apple and sugar, but it tastes like love.”
Usually, when I share recipes, I at least pretend that I measure my ingredients and give measurable quantities alongside my ingredient list. You won’t get that here. Part of the way I keep this reasonable for weeknights is to minimize dishes that require washing. No measuring spoons. One mixing bowl. I pop the crumbles in the oven when I pop the girls in the bath and we eat them once the children are dry and dressed.
With no more ado, here’s my recipe:
- Frozen single-serving pastry shells
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple per 2 shells
- Handful of brown sugar
- 2 handfuls of all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- Teensy touch of nutmeg
- 1 handful of granulated sugar
- Chunk of butter
- (Optional) Handful of oats
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Place your pastry shells on a baking sheet. If you think they need extra support, a muffin tin should help.
- Peel and core the apples. Dice into small pieces. We like the pieces tiny, but feel free to do as much chopping as you have time for.
- Place apples, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg and one handful of flour in a bowl. Mix. The mixture should glisten. If it looks watery, throw in some more flour.
- Divide the apple mixture between the pastry shells. Not enough apple? Mix up some more… or just make some extra crumble topping to fill it up.
- Mix the remaining flour, sugar and oats (if you’re using them). I just use the apple bowl because I’m lazy like that. Rub the butter into the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs or you run out of time, whichever comes first.
- Divide the crumb topping between the apple-fixed shells.
- Bake for about 20 minutes. They’re done when you start to smell them. The apple mixture should be bubbling and the topping lightly browned.
- Remove children from bath and serve. Serve the crumbles to the children, that is, not the other way around.
Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun. She also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.