Pick up the English alphabet book and the chances you won't see a bright red gleaming fruit are unlikely. I steer away from Green Apple being too tart for my taste. A variety I love having is the Fiji Apple. Its skin has faded tints of red and yellow and look quite large for an apple. The flesh crumbles in your mouth like shortbread and it's mildly sweet. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top and in my mind, I'm having Apple Pie sans pastry.
Cinnamon. I am obsessed with this spice. I do not care what dessert (even cheesecake) I'm making but Cinnamon just has to be in it. During the childhood summers spent at Vappa's home, I'd have my eye on the enormous rosewood trunk in the pantry that was sealed to keep out ants and moisture during the monsoon months. I'd tip-toe inside, stealthily unlock and heave the bulky wooden flap with my tiny hands, making sure the hinges didn't creak. I'd stuff my pyjama pockets with cinnamon sticks, lock the trunk and dash out through the kitchen. Without fail, my grandmother would call out to my Umma that consuming my Cinnamon stash would give me a tummy-ache. I'm happy to report that it never ever happened. I'd sit out on the cool marble slab on the verandah watching the pouring rain and stretching my legs out as far as I can, chomping on my cinnamon sticks. I loved these flavourful barks that would have my mouth tingling with pungent heat and sweet notes. Occasionally, there would be ones that were hot enough to make my eyes water. The solution was to sip cool water that would escalate the sweetness of the cinnamon while cooling my tongue. Yes, cinnamon is an addiction I happily indulge in.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? With the cooler climate carrying viruses, how do you avoid one with every second person you know sneezing and coughing around you? The ingredients in this apple crisp have enough flu fighters to help keep those unwanted colds at bay. Eat dessert and fight the cold. Win-win situation, don't you agree?
For any apple crisp, the traditional streusel would be made of butter, flour and sugar. My streusel recipe is lighter, omitting the butter for coconut oil. The flavor of coconut oil is distinctly different from the comforting flavour of butter but I assure you it won't be missed. Substituting white flour with whole wheat and rolled oats adds more fibre to the recipe. With all those apples, it shouldn't be a concern anyway. For any apple crisp recipe, the skin would be peeled prior to the apples being cored and chopped. I retained my apple skin not because I am lazy, but because you are skinning away the nutrients from the apple including fiber, vitamins, minerals and of course, another mighty A, antioxidants. Baked to a golden hue, the combination of warm stewed cinnamony-apples and a crispy streusel, you won't stop at a single serving.
This recipe is by Deb, blogger for Smitten Kitchen and the author of her first book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It'll take me years to cook each recipe of hers. Her homestyle cooking with the simplest ingredients is the reason why you'd want to try each and every one of the recipes in her book. In her recipe for the apple crisp, she says "make it yours." How did I do that? Once the crisp has cooled down enough not to be a hazard to my mouth, I enjoy my bowl with a splash of cold cream and a spoonful of raspberry preserves. Next time I make it, I am going to add almond butter to the apples. A warm bowl of your version of apple streusel, a cup of tea and your favourite book. Doesn't it add more color to a grey winter afternoon?
Recipe barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 6 small to medium apples, unpeeled or peeled.
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons raw sugar
- 1/4 cup raw or Turbinado sugar
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Two pinches sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Use a baking dish or arrange ramekins on a baking tray.
- Halve and core apples, then chop them into 1/2 inch cubes. The smaller the pieces, the faster the crisps will bake.
- Toss apples with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 3 tablespoons raw sugar until evenly coated.
- If using ramekins, divide apples between them.
- In a medium bowl, mix rolled oats, wheat flour, raw sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
- Pour coconut oil over dry ingredients and stir until crumbly.
- Divide crumbs over apples, packing them on with your palms, if needed, to get them all on.
- Bake apple crisps for about 30 to 40 minutes if using ramekins or an hour if using a baking dish. Bake until you can see the juices from the apples bubbling around the crumbs.
- If tops brown too quickly, put a sheet of foil over the whole tray for remaining baking time.
- Let it cool on rack and serve when lukewarm.
IF YOU'D LIKE IT
- Peel the apples.
- Add 2 Tbsp almond butter to the streusel mixture.
Have a good food day!