Cookbook Profile

Apple-Fennel Crisp
with Pine Nut Topping

Serves 6 to 8


"In August, fennel flowers fill the driest corner of the garden with yellow lace and the smell of licorice. In September, the flowers go to seed—just in time for apple season. I cut the seedheads while they are still plump and let them dry in a bowl in the kitchen so I can continue to enjoy the scent. Then I bake."
— Ariel Swartley (Los Angeles, CA)


Butter, for the baking dish
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 pounds firm, sweet-tart apples,
   such as Gravenstein, Granny Smith, Gala,
   or Braeburn, quartered, corded and thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon crushed mace blade
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter,
   at room temperature, cut up
Heavy (whipping) cream or
   ice cream for garnish (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-1/2 quart ceramic or glass baking dish.

2. Toast the fennel seeds in the oven, an ungreased skillet on the stovetop or a microwave oven until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. (You can toast the fennel seeds and pine nuts at the same time; be sure to keep them separate.) Remove and let cool enough to handle. Crush in a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.

3. Place the apples, mace, fennel seeds, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in the baking dish and stir to mix.

4. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, salt, pine nuts, and butter in a medium bowl and mix with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle over the apples.

5. Bake until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown, about 1 hour, depending on the type of apple.

6. Cool slightly, then serve warm, accompanied with cream or ice cream, if using.

Buy the Book!


The Smith & Hawken
Gardeners' Community Cookbook

Written and compiled by Victoria Wise
Workman, October 1999
Hardback, $35.00
ISBN 0-7611-1772-5
Trade paper, $19.95
ISBN 0-7611-1743-1
Recipe reprinted by permission.


The Smith & Hawken
Gardeners' Community Cookbook



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This page created May 2000