Apple Bake-off Winner’s Prize-Winning Recipe!

Lisa Risley

Is there any such thing as an un-yummy apple dessert? If so, we don’t know about it.  But the entries at last week’s Apple Bake-off were all stellar! Judge (and Medford Mayor) Michael McGlynn was overheard saying, “This is really hard work.”

After careful tasting, the four judges finally sifted out these three top entries:

  • First prize: Lisa Risley for her apple plum crisp with maple mascarpone
  • Second prize: Tanya Howard for her apple blondies
  • Third prize: Peggy Brown for her apple cake

Lisa Risley (pictured at right after the winners were announced) lives in Medford, works in Winchester, and is working on a cookbook. (When, Lisa? WHEN?)
Congratulations to everyone who participated, and thanks for sharing your wonderful creations with all the shoppers who hung around for tastes!

And here…drumroll…is Lisa’s winning recipe, complete with a secret ingredient (or at least one unfamiliar to many New England cooks).

Lisa Risley’s Apple-Plum Crisp with Mascarpone Maple Cream


3 Granny Smith apples
2 Cortland apples
2 Honeycrisp apples
3 plums (firm, not over-ripe)
1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout*
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt


4 cannoli shells
1/2 cup butter
1 sleeve graham crackers
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Mascarpone Maple Cream:

1-16 oz. container mascarpone cheese
1/2 Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons maple syrup

For the Filling:  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, slice & core the apples.  Cut the plums in half, twist to remove the stone, & peel.  Slice.  Toss fruit with lemon juice & spices, and spread in a 9×13 baking pan. 
Put cannoli shells in a large zip bag; squeeze the shells into large crumbs. Repeat with the graham crackers.  Press the air out of the bag & seal.  Using a hammer or rolling pin, crush them fine & empty into a small bowl. Melt the butter. Add the sugar and spices to the crumbs, pour the butter over all, and mix well.  Sprinkle over the filling.  
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  
Whisk together the ingredients for the maple cream.  
Serve crisp warm with a dollop of the maple cream.  
* Ras el Hanout is a traditional Moroccan spice blend which translates literally as “top of shop.” I use the blend from Soluna Garden Farm in Winchester.  Chinese Five-spice Powder can also be substituted.  If you want a more traditional flavor, use cinnamon and nutmeg.  Adjust spice levels to please your palate.