Is It Apple Walnut Crisp or Cobbler or Crumble?

Fall in the Pacific Northwest brings a crispness to the air (wordplay intended), summer gardens are almost done producing, and life shifts from outdoor to indoor activities (except for a football or soccer game or two… or three). During halftime and inking out a few minutes between televised games, I convinced hubby it was time to pick the remaining apples off our trees. 

A traditional apple pie would be the next item on the agenda for today’s baking but a friend (Holly R – thanks!) posted an oldie but goodie recipe for an apple crisp (handwritten on recipe cards – does anyone do that anymore?).  A quick glance at the recipe convinced me that I would have to make this recipe… today! 

Now I did have a quick conversation with myself before making this crisp. I wanted to make sure it truly was a crisp and not a crumble, or buckle or… well here’s more on the variations from my July 10 newsletter.

Difference between a crisp, crumble, cobbler and buckle: a quick definition so you know the distinction between them. (source Martha Stewart Magazine)

Cobbler: Fruit base baked with a golden topping of biscuit dough, dropped in dollops over fruit. 
Crumble: Fruit base baked with a sugary streusel topping.
Crisp: Fruit base baked with a sugary, streusel topping (like the crumble) with added oats or nuts.
Buckle: A single layer cake with berries or fruit in the batter, giving it a “buckled” appearance.

I used a variety of apples so I could take advantage of the apples from our trees. We have Gravenstein, honey crisp, Braeburn, golden delicious, McIntosh, and granny smith, all on two trees. They are grafted with these varieties and trimmed espalier fashion. More about our apple trees and apple pie can be found at Apple Of My Eye Pie

Sprinkle each layer of apples with cinnamon, sugar, and dot with butter. 

The “crisp” topping goes on last and melts into the apples as they cook. 

I served this apple crisp with a spoonful of Ricotta Honey Ice Cream. Oh yah!

Serves 6

Old Fashioned Apple Walnut Crisp

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  • 2 pounds apples, peels, cored & diced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Generous dash of cinnamon
  • Crisp Topping1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Generous dash of cinnamon*


  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8" baking dish by spraying it with cooking oil or butter.
  2. Layer apples in the dish sprinkling each layer with brown sugar, cinnamon and dotted with butter. Continue layering until all apples are used.
  3. Mix together crisp topping of oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, walnuts, and melted butter. Put on top of last layer of apples.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes (or until topping appears crisp-ish). Serve warm or at room temp.


*I like apples "cinnamony" so I probably add more than the average person. Eliminate dashes of cinnamon on apple layers if your tastes are more conservative when it comes to cinnamon.


Calories: 437 cal
Carbohydrates: 62 g
Fat: 22 g
Sodium: 12 g
Cholesterol: 41 g
Protein: 4 g
Fiber: 5 g

1 thought on “Is It Apple Walnut Crisp or Cobbler or Crumble?”

  1. Pingback: Fritter Away Your Apples – Yum! – Christina's Food And Travel

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