Nothing says early fall more than apple pie. However, I want to surprise my fall dinner party guests, so instead of making classic apple pie or apple crisp, I'll make an apple buckle.

A buckle is a simple streusel topped cake similar to a dessert coffee cake. It is typically made with summer fruits, but this nontraditional version wonderfully showcases fall apples. It will pair perfectly with a dessert wine or a cup of just brewed coffee, so get the recipe now

Autumn Apple Buckle
From Food & Wine magazine
Image Source

Crumb Topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 pounds Granny Smith apples--peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Sweetened sour cream, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. Make the Crumb Topping: in a food processor, pulse the flour with the brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles moist sand. Add the walnuts and pulse 3 times. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and press into large crumbs.
  3. Make the Batter:in a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, ginger and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the honey. Add the lemon zest, vanilla and eggs and beat until smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with the half-and-half and beat at low speed until smooth. Fold in the apples.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake the buckle in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 1 hour before unhinging the springform and removing the ring.
  6. Cut the buckle into wedges and serve with sweetened sour cream.

Serves 10-12.

Make ahead: The buckle can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.