23 Jan Apple crumble, but healthier and vegan. Result!
N.B. I began developing this recipe around Christmas time and wrote the introduction to this post at the same time*, therefore please excuse the rather belated festive theme. Oh and merry Christmas of course! *and I’m too lazy to something new!
As is becoming tradition now, my parents decided to leave their children (apart from my little sister.. the spoilt little..!) for Christmas/Chanukah and head off somewhere sunny for the holiday period. With my brother preferring to spend Christmas with his girlfriend and her family for the second year running, it was once again but me and my older sister, abandoned in the family home. I know, it’s like something out of Dickens!
The arrangement is that I cook and she sleeps. This works out well for me however; for one, I can guilt trip Gaby into doing the majority of the cleaning up, with me claiming post cooking fatigue. But more pertinently, it means that the menu can be whatever I want it to be. I did joke that I was going to completely healthy-fy Christmas and would chant ‘Detox Christmas Detox Christmas’, or ‘healthy vegan Christmas healthy vegan Christmas’ around the house.
However, because I’m not a total food fascist, I did allow some enjoyment. I did let sugar snacks and sweets in the house, though Gaby took it a bit far for me, what with eating two chocolates… before dinner had even been served! I know, shocking. …”I’m making two desserts* for goodness sake, can’t you wait!”… yep, I know how to have fun at Christmas! To be fair, I was also relaxed enough to let Gaby to stick in a breast of chicken for her main to sate her meat eating ways. I basically had a plate of roast potatoes and vegetables as I ran out of time/couldn’t be bothered to make the nut roast I had planned on making.
I was however still keen to find a way to make the meal more healthy and desserts not a complete sugar blow out, without comprising on a day where indulgence seems to be the name of the game. Step in… low sugar vegan apple crumble. This was one of those recipes that came to me in a flash of inspiration, quickly grabbing my pad and feather quill/ phone and quickly scribbled/typed my crumbly thoughts in a rush of healthy dessert brain wavery.
It’s really quite thrilling to see a recipe through from its conception to a finished result of golden brown, bubbling goodness. One can never be sure if a recipe will come together as one hopes, particularly when it comes to experimenting with desserts, but this crumble worked a treat. I used to be a bit of a baker back in the day; I’m sure everyone remembers the hugely successful ‘Alex’s home bakery’, so vegan and low sugar desserts are quite a new thing for me. I have tried healthier recipes of previously loved favourites with internet promises of all the substitutions and reductions in sugar not compromising on the final product and have been disappointed, so I was pleased with how my own attempts at veganising and healthy-fying (both not words I know and apologise for) turned out. I have since refined the recipe several time, meaning I have been having crumble for a fair few number of lunches and breakfasts in my search for the perfect recipe and have now got it to the point where I am blog happy with it.
What I really love is that you can eat a big portion, or two and not have to think of all that sugar you’ve just gorged on. This recipe has around the same sugar content than pretty much every other crumble recipe per portion I have seen, even in those recipes that claim to be healthy.
A slight reality check is perhaps needed, it is hard to get past that it does taste like a healthy alternative to a super sweet dessert, but it’s oaty, it’s nutty and it’s pretty indulgent, all without actually indulging.
It was all about imparting maximum flavour without just chucking a load of sugar at it; we cook the apples in an infused nut milk mixture and pack the topping with all manner of textures and flavour contrasts.
- I did plan on posting both of these dessert recipes, but, well, the other dessert didn’t go quite so well, so you’ll have to make do with crumble for now!
100g of oats
100 grams mixture of chopped nuts – I used Hazelnuts, Pecans and Walnuts,
25g brown rice flour
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 – 2 tsp brown sugar (I tried to leave this out in one attempt, but I do think this little bit of added sugar is needed for the dish; if you like it that bit sweeter, go for 2 or even 3 tsp and vice versa)
20g desiccated coconut
3 heaped tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1kg apples, peeled, cored and cubed (Pink Lady and or Braeburn worked well for me) ((keep the cubed apple pieces in some lemon water to stop them from browning))
1 cup nut milk of choice, my favourite being Rude Health’s coconut milk drink
1 Cinnamon stick and or 1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp arrowroot
- In a pan, slowly heat your nut milk, cinnamon, 1 tbsp of maple and 1 tsp vanilla. When this mix starts to heat through, add the apple (which needs to be first drained from its lemon water).
- Simmer and cover until a knife can be inserted into the apple cubes with little force, but they are still keeping their structural integrity; around 5-10 minutes. You can stew the apples until an apple-y mush has formed if you prefer your crumble that way, but I personally prefer to retain just a little bite.
- Whilst this is going on, for your topping, mix all of the ingredients together, saving the coconut oil till last to bring it all together. It should meld together when pressed, but still be crumbly, basically like a flapjack mixture.
- If you have any of the apple cooking liquor left (if it has all evaporated/been absorbed, no dramas), add enough to your baking tin to cover the base very thinly. Mix through 1 tsp of arrowroot into your apple mixture and then add to your tin. Sprinkle a little more arrowroot on top of the apples and top with your crumble topping. The arrowroot just helps to thicken things, but isn’t wholly essential if you don’t have any in.
- I usually leave enough of the topping to make some flapjacks, but if you like extra crumble in your crumble, use the whole mix, it’s really up to you. If making flapjacks, press tightly into brownie tins. They should be fine without having to line.
I also used, in one of my many attempts, a loaf tin for my crumble, which worked a treat as well.
- Bake for around 20 minutes, but check after around 12 minutes to ensure nothing is burning. Flapjacks will take around 15 minutes.
And there we have it, my far healthier, less sweet, but still fab and indulgent take on the classic that is the apple crumble. A recipe I have probably eaten three of four times a week since Christmas in order to get it absolutely spot on (and because I like crumble), so I hope you enjoy it as much as I have… and did for my breakfast this morning!
Back tomorrow with Travel Tuesdays and then, well I’m not too sure at the moment, need to get on do some cooking that isn’t apple or crumble related!
Thanks for stopping by tofuandtempeh. If you’d like to comment, I’d love to hear from you, otherwise, I shall see you the next time.