Ginger Apple Crisp

Ginger Apple Crisp

Ginger Apple Crisp

I know that I haven’t posted in some time. The world got crazy, but I had committed to getting back to baking and blogging at the start of the year. And then I cut my hand. (I was cleaning the food processor, but that’s a long story). It wasn’t severe, but it make food prep a little more complicated and it turned typing into a frustrating game. But the Decadent Vegan Baker is back and ready for action. So, without any further ado, I bring you this week’s vegan, high-altitude baking experiment.

Okay, this one wasn’t very difficult. I decided to ease into things with an apple crisp. Generally apple crisps pop up in autumn, but where I live the weather is warm, then cold, then warm again, so it felt appropriate. The tweaks I made were to follow my personal desires, which I inspire any baker to do. Crisps are a good backdrop for making changes because they don’t involve the scientific perfection of something like a cake.

I added ginger to give the crisp a spicy zip. I also chose coconut sugar as the sweetener to change the flavor profile a bit, and because my brown sugar had become a doorstop. You can use gluten free flour instead of the all purpose flour if you prefer. If baking gluten free, then look for gluten free oats.

Ginger Apple Crisp adapted from Gluten Free and Vegan Apple Crisp

Filling:
6 apples, peeled and sliced
1/4” crystallized ginger, chopped fine
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS all purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Topping:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup oats, run through a coffee grinder until course
6 TBS vegan margarine, cut into small pieces (I used Spectrum vegetable spread)
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, mix apples, ginger, vegan sugar, lemon juice, 2 TBS flour, and 3/4 tsp cinnamon. Place in a 9 x 13” glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, oats, cinnamon and brown sugar and stir. Add margarine and cut in with two forks until combined. Don’t worry; it will still be lumpy.

Spread topping over filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until topping turns golden brown. Let cool and then serve. I topped mine with vegan vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8 x 8” baking pan for the same amount of time as listed in the recipe.

Until next time, happy baking!

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The Low-Down on Rhubarb and Crumbles

rhubarb

Image courtesy of Whitney at flickr.com

In my blog on Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble I mentioned that I had to scour the internet to do research for the post. I was only briefly familiar with rhubarb and needed to learn more in order to make a tasty treat. SeriousEats.com told me that “rhubarb—technically a vegetable, but usually treated like a fruit (is) … puckeringly tart when raw (and) is especially tasty when its sourness is tempered through cooking with sugar and/or pairing with sweet fruits … Note: Only the stalks of rhubarb plants are edible, while the leaves are poisonous.”

Once I got the info on the rhubarb plant, I went off in search of ways to bake it. I saw a multitude of recipes labeled “crumble” or “crisp” that looked like the same type of recipe. They are almost identical, but a little detective work uncovered their differences. “Crumbles and crisps are very similar … They both contain fresh fruit with a streusel-like topping that gets baked until the fruit is cooked … The original difference between the two lay in the streusel topping: crisps would contain oats and crumbles would not. In an actual crisp … the oats in the topping crisp up as it bakes, hence the name.”

At that point I had enough data to start my baking experiments. Strawberry was often paired with rhubarb so that was a good place to start. Also, it’s strawberry season and fresh berries were plentiful. I ended up with a crumble and not a crisp because it seemed easier, and who doesn’t like dessert to be simple. Next I threw in a little “healthy” and my Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble was born.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

strawberry rhubarb crumble

strawberry rhubarb crumble

Rhubarb. I opened up my farm box and that’s what stared back at me. Of course I had heard of rhubarb before but I had never tried it. Not knowing what it tasted like meant I didn’t know what to do with it. I had seen rhubarb recipes before but they were for jam (with lots and lots of sugar) or for pie (and I don’t like pie – it’s a crust thing). So I began an extensive search on the vegetable.

The recipe that finally caught my eye was for a crumble. I was intrigued by the fact that it contained turmeric, that anti-inflammatory herb that has received so much press lately. Another ingredient in the recipe got my attention – the lack of refined sugar. I had found a recipe for a healthy and delicious dessert that I could easily modify.

The changes I made were simple. First off I adapted it to include my star ingredient – rhubarb. Next, I decided that this dish should contain some healthy fat in the form of coconut oil. Why add fat? Well, the crumble seemed like it would make a nice breakfast. It had protein, fruit and fiber, but it needed a little fat to round it out. Here it is, ready for breakfast or dessert.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble adapted from OrganicConnectMag.com
¼ cup + 2 TBS maple syrup, divided
1 TBS dried ground turmeric
2 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
1 cup almond flour
2 TBS cold coconut oil
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease an 8×8” baking dish. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup maple syrup and turmeric. Add rhubarb and strawberries and toss to coat. Add mixture to baking dish. In a bowl, combine almond flour, 2 TBS maple syrup, and coconut oil. Mix in almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Evenly spread topping over mixture in baking dish, breaking up clumps as you go. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until berries are bubbling and topping is golden. Serve warm.

Until next time, happy baking!