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Friday, February 18, 2011

Gluten-Free Apple Crumble

This humble apple crumble is always a hit. You can throw it together in minutes and bake it in anything: individual ramekins or a baking dish or a pie pan.

It's hard to make a good crumble topping without sugar and flour, but I've perfected the recipe. Ground dates add a natural sweetness, while nuts and seeds add protein and healthy omega-3 fats. And because there is no flour, there is no gluten. It's just fruit and nuts and seeds.

Here I used almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, but you can substitute what you already have on hand or what you like best. Other good choices include pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, hemp nuts, ground flax seeds and unsweetened coconut flakes.

This recipe makes enough for 4 apples. If you plan to make fewer servings, or if you have fewer apples, save the crumble topping you don't use for future desserts. Wrapped air-tight, it will last in the fridge for a week or more, or for months in the freezer.

6 tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks (keep it in the fridge until you're ready for it) plus more to coat the ramekins/baking dish
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
4 organic apples, Golden Delicious or other, skin-on, chopped apples
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds or pepitas 
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup roughly chopped pitted dates
Pinch sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Coat the insides of 4 one-cup ramekins or a baking dish with butter. Add the chopped apples and pack the pieces in well because they will lose volume when they cook. Drizzle the apples with honey and set aside.

Add the almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dates, sea salt and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the cold butter and continue to pulse until clumps form. Remove it from the food processor and distribute the crumble mixture evenly over the apples.

Transfer the apple crumble to the oven and bake until the apples are soft and the top turns golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly or cool to room temperature before serving, alone or with a dollop of unsweetened freshly whipped cream.

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