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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Easy Grain-Free Apple Crumble


This recipe was inspired by a recent apple-picking trip in the Hudson Valley.

It's simple, as crumbles go, but it has everything you love: warm, soft apples on the bottom and a brown, nutty, buttery crust on top.  I like to add a dollop of freshly whipped unsweetened organic heavy cream, but it would still be a winner without it.

Unlike other apple crumble recipes, this one is free of flour and sugar.  It does contain a small amount of xlyitol, a naturally sweet compound found in certain plants like birch trees, berries, mushrooms, corn husks, and oats. It's available as a granulated sweetener with a texture similar to sugar and can be used in cooking.

I usually recommend staying away from sweets. So why am I using xylitol?

Because studies show that consuming it regularly can:

The crumble topping is made mostly from nuts and butter, so it's a good source of healthy fat. Because there's no flour, it's naturally gluten-free. 

I used a mixture of red and green apples, some that go soft and some that hold their shape, to add depth and complexity to the flavor and texture of this dish. I left the peel intact because it's full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.

Make sure your apples are organic. According to a recent report from the Center For Food Safety, 47 different pesticide residues can be found in conventional apples and 99% test positive for at least one. More than 80% of conventional apples are also contaminated with the chemical preservative DPA (diphenylamine), which has been banned in Europe and prevents U.S. apples from being sold there.

½ cup (1 stick) organic butter
5 fresh apples
2 pinches sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
3 tablespoons xylitol, divided
1 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
1 cup chopped raw walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes and spread them out on the wrapper or a ceramic plate. Transfer the butter to the fridge to keep it cold.
  3. Quarter each apple. Remove the core and seeds. Dice them into ¾-inch pieces and transfer them to a large bowl.
  4. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon xylitol over the apples. Toss to combine everything evenly. Transfer the apples to a glass 11-cup baking dish.
  5. Add to a food processor the almond flour, walnuts, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons xylitol, and another pinch of salt. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together. Scatter the mixture evenly over the apples.
  6. Place the apple crumble in the oven and bake until the apples soften, a sauce develops, and the top becomes golden brown, about 55 minutes.
  7. Remove the crumble from the oven. Cool it slightly and serve it warm or cool it completely and serve it at room temperature, garnished with freshly whipped unsweetened cream if you wish. The more the crumble cools, the thicker the sauce will become.
  8. Store any leftover apple crumble tightly covered in the fridge.

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