Milk Crumbs, Boiled Cider & Apple Dessert

Simple, inexpensive, tasty and healthy, is that too much to ask for in a dessert. It turns out that. . . No, it isn’t!

Apples are plentiful and cheap, and they are good for you. I was looking for a healthy but satisfying apple dessert when I read the September Bon Appetit article about Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar. Besides her incredible talent and accomplishments, she is definitely an “outside-the-box” creative cook. Consider her secret ingredient in her ‘Blueberry and Cream Cookies’. It’s dried milk. She uses it in many of her recipes to impart a creamy taste without adding cream, fat, or even a liquid. That is the brilliance of using dried milk. It isn’t a recipe-altering liquid.

milk crumb topped apples

milk crumb topped apples before baking

One recipe called to me as I read the article. It was for ‘Milk Crumbs’. It is basically streusel, the same I make buckets of at the Hudson Valley Dessert Company where I work. But, instead of all that sugar, she adds dried milk. Her milk crumbs are meant to be baked and used as a dry ingredient in other things, but I recognized their potential as a traditional topping. I’ve made them several times to use on apple tarts and pies. See:

It’s Apple Season! Applesauce & Apple Pie Afternoon

Just recently I eliminated the bottom crusts and simply served the baked apples with a crumb topping. The results were so spectacular, in a simple, healthy and delicious way, that I wanted to share them.

Christina Tosi’s Milk Crumbs

¾ cup nonfat dry milk

½ cup all purpose flour

3 Tbls sugar

2 Tbls corn starch

¾ tsp coarse kosher salt

6 Tbls unsalted butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. Add butter and stir with a fork until clumps form.

She goes on to bake them, but I stopped there. I wanted the streusel evenly crumbly, so I stirred more, breaking up the large clumps. If I were to make this in a large quantity, I would use softened butter, not melted, and mix it with my hands to the desired crumbliness. By doing that, I avoid having any leftovers setting up as a hard mass when the butter solidifies, but for small amounts it is not as much of a problem.

That’s it! You can use the crumbs for any topping without guilt. It makes a small bowl of crumbs I’ve used on a 13×9 and a 8×8 dessert with some left over. It comes out to about a teaspoon of butter per serving – for dessert! (refrigerate crumbs between use)

Ah, but there is another trick to making this delicious dessert – Boiled Cider.

BOILED CIDER – is fresh apple cider that has been reduced to a rich, velvety syrup with nothing added but time and energy. Its pure apples. Boiled Cider creates an apple flavor burst in every dish.

I’m told that Boiled Cider is made in one place in the US, by Willis Wood, in Vermont. Contact

The dessert:

Apples To Apples serves 2 – 4 people

3 large apples, washed, unpeeled, sliced (I used Ida Red because I like the color and flavor)

¼ cup raisins or cranraisins (I prefer the tartness of the cranberries)

½ cup Milk Crumbs

1 Tbls Boiled Cider

Spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with Pam. (Or, if you don’t worry about fat, use butter.) Layer the apples loosely in the dish, with occasional sprinkles of raisins, until all the fruit is used. Drizzle the boiled cider over the top and sprinkle with milk crumbs. Bake in a 375 degree oven until browned and done, about 20 minutes. (Cover with foil for the first 15 minutes.) Increase the ingredients (not the baking time) by half again if using the larger 13×9 baking dish.

This is so good without all the things you may want to put on it, like ice cream, or whipped cream, that it is easy to forgo the added calories and just enjoy the Apple-goodness of it.

That’s all there is to it – Bon Appettit!


About richardfrisbie

I'm a professional baker, reader, bookseller, publisher, columnist, photographer, cook, hiker, kayaker, freelance writer, and workaholic who likes to garden
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