Autumn Apple & Pomegranate Crumble
Can someone please explain to me the difference between a fruit crisp and a fruit crumble? I won’t even begin to bring a fruit cobbler into the mix. They’re all baked desserts filled with seasonal fruits and topped with some sort of crunchy, crispy topping – usually made of oats, flours, and nuts. Can we agree that they are kind of the exact same thing?!
Good, then this is the VK version of a crumble.
Or crisp, if you will.
Sans refined flours, refined sugars, and anything artificial of course.
This crumble is filled with the flavors of autumn: spicy cinnamon, sweet pomegranate seeds, and the total star – apples. In this particular case, these apples came all the way from Pennsylvania from my grandfather’s apple tree. He’s 93 and still churning out bumper crops on the tree in his backyard – how amazing is that?! His apple tree is grafted, meaning that he has all sorts of different varieties of apple growing on the same tree. Through a magical technique involving beeswax, various tree cuttings of the desirable apple variety, and some patience and good luck, you too can have a tree that simultaneously produces tens or even hundreds of different apple varieties. Apple goals.
For that reason, when I asked my Grandpa what apple varieties he sent me, he had no idea. Probably some McIntosh, Cortland, Empire, Summer Rambo…‘who knows’ he exclaimed! Well then, I figured the best way to use this mystery batch of seasonal fruit was to bake them in a crumble with sweet spices and crunchy pomegranate seeds. I urge you to do the same when baking your own crumble: chose a variety of apples with different textures, tastes, and sweetness in your dessert. Some of the best apples to bake with include Jonagold, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Rome Beauty, Braeburn, Melrose, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Gala, Mutsu, and Pink Lady. Of course, with so many delicious apple varieties, you truly can’t go wrong!
An Apple A Day…
Arguably the best way to consume an apple is in its raw form for all the incredible nutritional benefits. However, you need to live a little – and what better way to enjoy an apple than in a baked dessert? Apples are wonderful sources of dietary fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols, and Vitamin C – or in other words, consuming the whole foods version of an apple is truly amazing for your body. That whole apple, unlike apple juice, reaps blood sugar stabilizing fiber, the ability to slow down carbohydrate digestion thanks to certain flavonoids, and the ability to stimulate insulin responders, which helps to increase the flow of sugar out of the bloodstream and into our cells for energy. They’re truly a wonder fruit and should be incorporated into your seasonal autumn diet.
Another note on apples. America’s favorite fruit is always headlining the top of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. This means the skin of apples is usually smothered in pesticides, which I’d prefer (and I recommend for you) to not consume. Purchase organic apples from the farmer’s market or your local health food store for the tastiest and most delicious apples around.
Crisp seasonal apples + crunchy pomegranate seeds + sweet coconut sugar + warming spices + sticky dates + fiber filling oats + fat loving coconut oil = Your favorite new autumn crumble. Or crisp. Or whatever you want to call it!
Autumn Apple and Pomegranate Crumble
Apple and Pomegranate Filling:
4 medium apples of different varieties
½ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 medjool dates, pitted
½ cup almonds or pecans
1 cup rolled oats
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Begin with the apple and pomegranate filling. Wash and thinly slice apples into bite sized pieces and add to a medium sized baking tray. Add in coconut sugar, lemon juice, and pomegranate seeds and stir to combine. In a separate small bowl combine spices, salt, and arrowroot powder and stir well to incorporate. Pour this dry mixture into baking dish with fruit and mix to combine. Set aside while you prepare the crumble topping.
In the base of a food processor add in almonds and pitted dates and pulse until semi-broken down, but bits of nuts and dates still remain. Add in oats, cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut oil and pulse until a clumpy oat mixture forms, about 20 seconds or so. You can use your hands to clump the mixture together even more before topping the crisp.
Pour crumble mixture over apple filling evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until topping is lightly browned, apple mixture is bubbling, and your kitchen smells like Autumn bliss.
Remove crumble from oven and serve warm with cinnamon coconut whipped cream. Recipe Below.
Coconut & Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1 can coconut cream, chilled in refrigerator overnight
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Place can of coconut cream in refrigerator and chill overnight. In the morning, remove can from refrigerator and gently flip upside down. Open can and pour off clear liquid at the top – this can be saved and added to smoothies and porridge. Scoop out hardened white cream in the bottom and add to a large bowl along with cinnamon and maple syrup. Beat coconut cream on high for 30 seconds or so, until creamy peaks form.
Place whipped cream in refrigerator to keep chilled and fluffy before serving. Leftovers will stay fresh in an airtight container for about 3 days. If cream becomes too hard once refrigerated, give it a quick re-whipping.
-Gluten free? Make sure to purchase gluten free oats to use in the crumble topping. Oats themselves are naturally gluten free, but can be processed in a plant that handles gluten. If you are extremely sensitive, be cautious of where your rolled oats come from!
-No apples? Swap them for pears or plums for a unique twist on this seasonal crumble.