Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Apple-Cranberry Walnut Crisp

This homey dessert features a classic crisp topping: flour, oats, (vegan) butter, and cinnamon, but the extra touch of sweetness from maple syrup and the addition of cranberries give this version a New England feel.  You can use either apple cider or apple juice, but I chose the former.  Either way, the dessert makes the perfect finish to any evening in your home, and I also enjoyed leftovers for breakfast.

For the filling:
  • 9 cups peeled and sliced Gala apple
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt
For the topping:
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl.  Spoon into a 13x9-inch baking dish.

2. Combine all of the topping ingredients in a second bowl.  I found that the easiest way to mix was with my hands.  Because the ingredients are simply mixed together, instead of cutting the butter in with a pastry blender, it is almost like cookie dough.  Sprinkle evenly over the apple mixture.

3. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes - the topping should be crisp and you want the juices to be thick and bubbly.

I recommend serving a la mode, with vegan vanilla ice cream on the side:

Note: if you want to make the crisp in advance, it reheats well; place in the oven at 250 degrees until warmed. 

Nutrition Info:
10 servings (1 portion), Calories 282 

Tasting Notes:
The topping tasted like a cross between homemade granola and crisp oatmeal cookies.  Crisp on top and soft and chewy underneath where it touched the warm fruit, it was almost like eating a fresh-baked granola bar.  The fruit filling was yummy, but not outstanding in any way.  I would increase both the vanilla and cinnamon next time.  The walnut flavor in the topping, on the other hand, was very pronounced and delicious.