Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cranberry Apple Crisp with Gluten Free Option

Plate of Cranberry Apple Crisp
With Optional Pecans and Cream

Recipe adapted from Simply in Season


Crisps are a perfect destination for not-perfect fruit. This year our tree produced many apples, as usual, but due to drought they were small, hard, dry, and a bit sour. Not pleasant for snacks, but cut up and mixed with traditional green baking apples and seasonal cranberries, they cooked up into a blog-worthy dessert. Crisps have three other benefits: they’re relatively healthy, they’re easily adaptable to accommodate gluten-free guests and on-hand topping ingredients, and they’re simple to make. Plus, everyone seems to love them.

For a recent potluck, I made a 9” x 13” pan of regular crisp, plus an 8” round casserole of gluten free crisp. The latter was for two guests, but could have served up to 4. I served chopped pecans on the side so that nut-free guests could also partake. Crisp toppings are easy to adapt in this way. Essentially, you mix together brown sugar, flour, spices, and other dry ingredients like oats, wheat germ or bran. Then you work in butter with your fingers until the texture is crumbly. In this recipe, some oil is worked in as well, an easy way to make the texture perfect.

For the gluten-free adaptation, I didn’t have gluten-free oats on hand. Most rolled oats are prepared by companies that also make gluten-bearing flours, so are not safe for the gluten-intolerant. I simply eliminated the oats and the oat bran, and cut down on the butter, the result being a sweeter and thinner topping. If desired, for more texture you can add gluten-free oats. Be sure to increase the amount of butter, and/or work in some oil to ensure that the topping bakes up crispy.

Use your creativity to change up this recipe to accommodate the fruit that you have on hand, including older apples, cranberries, and pears. It’s best to use more than one variety, for a spectrum of flavors. Cut the recipe in half, or double the gluten-free recipe. Use the amount of spice that you like best. Enjoy the season, and I hope that this dish simplifies your holiday potluck requirements.

Plate of Cranberry Apple Crisp with nuts
Dairy-Free with Gluten and Pecans
Cranberry Apple Crisp (gluten free adaptation to follow)
serves ~18 - 20

4 cups sliced red apples
4 cups sliced Granny Smith or other green apples
Juice from ½ - 1 lemon
4 cups cranberries, halved
½ cup white sugar
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1½ cups dark brown sugar
1½ cups white or whole wheat pastry flour
1½ cups rolled oats
1 cup oat bran
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
½ cup butter (1 stick)
2 tbsp. or more walnut oil
1 cup pecans, chopped
Ice cream, cream or whipped cream, optional for serving

Sprinkle apples with lemon juice and toss as you slice them, to prevent them from turning brown. Toss together apples, halved cranberries, white sugar, and grated orange peel in a very large bowl. Butter a 9” x 3” deep baking pan and layer the fruit mixture evenly in bottom of pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, oats, oat bran, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice with a wire whisk or mixing spoon until consistent. Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until butter is broken up and texture is crumbly. Add oil and work in with fingers until mixture looks moist and not floury. Stir in chopped pecans, if there are no nut allergies in the group that you’re serving. (Otherwise, serve nuts on the side with the ice cream or whipped cream.)

Sprinkle topping over the fruit mixture evenly. Press down gently.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 – 50 minutes, until fruit is soft and topping is crispy. Serve
with ice cream, cream, or whipped cream for maximum festivity.

Gluten-free Cranberry Apple Crisp
serves 3 - 4

2½ cups mixed variety of apple slices
juice from ½ lemon
1½ cups cranberries, halved
1 tbsp. or more white sugar
½ tsp. grated orange peel
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup rice flour
½ cup quinoa flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice
2 tbsp. butter
¼ cup chopped pecans, optional
walnut oil as needed

Sprinkle apples with lemon juice as you slice them, to prevent browning. Toss together apple slices, halved cranberries, and grated orange peel in a bowl. Sweeten to taste with white sugar, keeping in mind that the topping will be sweet. Butter an 8-inch round casserole dish. Place fruit in an even layer on the bottom.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together brown sugar, rice flour, quinoa flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice until well blended. Cut butter into small pieces and work into sugar mixture with fingers butter is broken up and mixture is crumbly. Work in a teaspoon or so of walnut oil (or butter) if mixture looks dry. Mix in chopped pecans if using.

Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit. Press down gently.

Bake at 350 degrees F until fruit is soft and topping is crispy, about 30 minutes. Serve with cream, ice cream, or whipped cream. You may also omit the nuts in the topping and serve them on the side.

Gluten free Cranberry Apple Crisp with cream
Gluten-free Garnished with Pecans and Cream

cranberry apple crisp with pecans
Last Bit of Gluten-free Crisp with Pecan Garnish

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