Crisp, crumble, slump, dowdy and grunt. In the days when many home-cooked meals supported manual labor, these words often formed the answer to the daily question, "What's for dessert?" Hard-working families could burn dessert calories and providing a sweet ending to the meal was a homemaker's daily challenge. Whether you called it pudding or cobbler, one of these combinations of fresh or canned fruit, flour, sugar and spice usually used up the last of the oven heat and filled the need for dessert. The quickest and easiest of these dishes, apple crumble, will bring old-fashioned smiles to a modern meal.
Rub baking pan or casserole with 1 tablespoon of butter. Toss apple slices with lemon juice, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cinnamon and spread them in the pan.
Chop together chilled butter, flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar, using the pastry blender or two sharp knives, to make coarse crumbs. Work quickly to keep mixture crumbly.
Spread crumbs over apple mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and crumble-crust is lightly browned. Serve warm or cold. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.