Apples are in season, and this week, with all the Thanksgiving-themed shows on, I was starting to get hungry for fall food, stuff like pumpkin, stew with lots of root vegetables, and apple pie.
I’m not much of a pie eater, but I do love me a good Dutch apple pie. Since I hate to make the crust, and it seems like extra calories anyway, I made this crustless version. In other words, a vegan apple crisp. Here’s the recipe.
This came out far more delicious than I expected. My experimental butter substitution ended up actually tasting pretty buttery. Go figure, but what a happy surprise!
I love a lot of spices in my apple desserts, so I added cinnamon, cardamom, and lots of fresh, minced ginger. The ginger gives it a real kick, and the warming feeling can feel like heartburn. But it will warm you up from the inside, something that may be ideal if the weather is cool or cold. (It’s pretty hot and muggy here this fall.)
You can reduce the amount of ginger, or omit it altogether, if you prefer. Also, some people find cardamom overpowering. If so, add only half the amount in the recipe, then taste, and decide if you want to add the other half called for.
As far as sweetening goes, the amount of sugar you use will depend on how tart or sweet your apples are, and how you like your crisp. Again, start with the smaller amount of sugar, taste, and add more if desired. If you go too sweet, you can add a bit of lemon or lime juice to round out the flavor, probably about 1-3 teaspoons or so.
Vegan Apple Crisp Recipe
For the filling:
5 to 6 large apples, cored and chopped
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 Tablespoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
lemon or lime juice, optional
For the topping:
2 cups oats
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons water
To make the filling:
Mix ingredients together well. Taste and adjust sweetness/tartness level.
There is no need to peel your apples! There is a trace mineral called boron, which is essential to strong bone health, in apple peels. Why throw that away and run the risk of getting osteoporosis? Buy organic apples if possible, and wash your apples well.
To make the topping:
Put half the oats and half the pecans into a blender. Blend until ground. Dump this into a bowl. Repeat with the other half of the oats and pecans.
Add the brown sugar, salt, and flour. Mix well.
Mix in the canola oil. Stir very well to incorporate the oil. You might want to just use your hands. Drizzle in 2 Tablespoons water, or enough so that if you take a handful of the mixture and squeeze it, it will clump together.
Place the filling into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. There will be liquid that has released. Add that as well.
Evenly sprinkle the topping over the entire filling. Press down to create a crust-like layer.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned, the filling is bubbling up around some of the edges, and the apples are tender.
Let cool until it is warm. Consume with gratitude!
I hope you try this vegan apple crisp recipe while apples are in season. You can eat it without guilt, since there is no saturated or hydrogenated fat in it, but you still get a rich, buttery flavor. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.