"Sometimes you just want all the pleasure of apple pie without any of the work of making pie dough. That's how I came up with the idea of topping a piece of buttery toast with warm-spiced sautéed apples and a nugget-y streusel pie topping. The toast stands in for the bottom crust--and I promise, you'll barely miss it."
Apples and streusel
2 Granny Smith apples (or other crisp-tart apples), peeled, cored, and chopped into ½-inch (1 cm) pieces
4 tablespoons (¼ cup) dried cranberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy (double) cream
2/3 cup (40 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornmeal
Four ¾-inch (2 cm) thick slices country-style bread
Unsalted butter, softened, for the bread
Confectioners' (icing) sugar
1. Make the apples and streusel: In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, cranberries, 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, the lemon juice, cinnamon, and ? teaspoon of the salt.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apple mixture, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices from the apples have mostly evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and continue to cook until the apples are very soft and can be easily mashed, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and using a fork, smash about half of the apples.
3. While the apples simmer, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/Gas Mark 4). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cornmeal, and remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and ? teaspoon salt. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) butter and drizzle it over the flour mixture, using a fork to stir until the streusel forms knobby bits. Transfer the streusel to the baking sheet and bake until it is golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove the streusel from the oven.
5. Make the toast: Toast the bread according to the instructions on pages 7-8. To serve, spoon the apples over the toast and top with a handful of streusel, pressing down on the streusel to get it to stick. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.