Monday, September 23, 2013

autumn apple crumble.

the weather is finally starting to cool off, and the fruit scene at the farmer's market is slowly transitioning from one of peaches and plums to apples and citrus. while i hate to see stone fruit on the way out, my sweet tooth can't wait to whip up a storm of apple crisps, cobblers, and crumble over the next few months.a lot of people have asked me what the difference is between these three c-desserts. it's actually pretty simple: a crisp involves fresh fruit with a streusel-like topping that gets baked until the fruit is cooked. the streusel is usually a mix of brown sugar, butter, flour, and spices. a crumble is the same thing but with some oats tossed into the streusel. a cobbler adds a biscuit topping to the fresh fruit. the biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small rounds which gives the appearance of a cobbled road. alright, that's enough education for today. i made this apple crumble from a mix of tart apples (jonagold, gala, and mcintosh). it doesn't actually matter what kind you use, but i would recommend avoiding any variety that is already very sweet on its own. i found this site a particularly helpful resource on the subject. a few notes: the original recipe said to peel the apples. i did that for the first 3 and then i got lazy and stopped. it makes little difference. if anything, keeping the skin on makes this dessert exponentially more rustic. healthier too.i made this recipe vegan by substituting margarine in for butter. it can be made gluten-free by swapping out the regular flour for an all-purpose gluten-free blend. i added almonds into the topping, but i bet walnuts would work just as well. cashews would also be tasty!finally, this is a great dish to prepare in advance. i assembled the entire thing one afternoon in my own kitchen and brought it over to a friend's for dinner to bake. the aroma of apples and cinnamon in her apartment while we finishing up dinner, and the hot, gooey, fresh out of the oven taste made this an instant hit. 

apple crumble

7 tart apples, cored and diced in various sizes
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cloves
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sliced almonds or walnuts
½ cup vegan margarine, melted

spread the chopped apples in an ungreased 9×13″ pan or baking dish. in a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, water and cornstarch. cook on medium, stirring constantly, until thickened and semi-translucent (about 15 minutes).

pour the mixture over the apples, then sprinkle everything with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

in a large bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, and brown sugar. stir in the margarine until the mixture is crumbly. use your hands to break up any chunks.

sprinkle the streusel evenly over apples and press lightly.*

bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until apples are tender and streusel is golden. serve hot!