So on with another dessert — a quick-to-make and easy-to-adapt recipe that is one of our favorites. I first made this recipe two summers ago inspired by something I found on goneraw.com (haven’t been able to find this one on there since, so no link, sorry). I used fresh, local peaches with the same crumble topping and oh my GOSH was it delicious! I have since made it with berries, cherries, pears, apples and plums. All have been scrumptious, but peach and cherry vie for first place for me personally. The cherry blossom petals are snowing my backyard, which means it’s not too long til cherry picking time! Yay spring!
Another beautiful quality of this dish, aside from versatility and quick prep, is that it can be made last minute with things I tend to have on hand. And honestly — why limit it to a dessert — it makes a very fine breakfast, lunch or snack as well. Not to mention that having a jar of both parts of the recipe (fruit as well as crumble topping) means you can add a new dimension to banana ice cream, chocolate mousse, banana pudding and more.
Oh, and did I mention that you can also make it ahead of time, keeping the crumble separate from the fruit until ready to serve. This makes it a great holiday dish when you have other things to do last minute besides worry about dessert. Seriously, what more could you want from a delicious dish!? I had stored some apple filling in a small metal tiffin, so I dumped this out into a plate and it held it’s shape. So I put crumb topping around it instead of on top for the picture. It’s much prettier with some sort of berry or cherry, but hey, looks aren’t everything, right?
Better than Betty’s Apple Crumble
- 2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups pecans
- 1 cup dates
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbs honey
- cinnamon to taste
- pinch salt
- Pulse nuts in food processor until smallish — if you take it down to a flour at this stage your crumble will have a different, more cohesive, dough like texture, less crumbly. Not a bad thing, still delicious, just a different feel.
- Add remaining ingredients and process just until the dates are broken down. Pour out into a bowl or storage container if you aren’t serving immediately. I don’t bother cleaning out the food processor bowl, as this comes out without leaving much residue, so on to the fruit without further ado.
- 4 lbs apples, cored
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 Tbs honey
- cinnamon to taste
- 1/2 banana
- I chopped my apples into 1 inch cubes or so. Well, actually, I quartered the apples (a mixture of green, braeburn and pink lady) and tossed all but 3 of them into the processor. And couldn’t get my Cuisinart to process them — the chunks were too big, and the blade just couldn’t get to most of them. So, I dumped out half and cut it all into smaller pieces and was able to get it to process.
- After the apples were almost pureed, I put in the rest of the ingredients. I added the half banana because it seemed like it needed something to give it a bit of creaminess as well as sweetness to balance the tartness of the green apples I used. I would consider adding a whole banana next time, but this one was really ripe, thus intensely flavored, and I didn’t want to taste banana when I ate it.
- Once the puree was all set, I scraped that out into a bowl and added small pieces of the 3 remaining apples to the processor. I pulsed until these were what looked like a good size (small enough to chew politely but big enough to give my teeth something to do) and then mixed them into the puree.
- The nuts will get soggy if you mix this ahead of time, so I like to serve it in two bowl and let people take the amount of crumble they want right at the table.
I think you can easily make this recipe without the honey, using whole food sweeteners like the dates, raisins and bananas. The original recipe called for a tablespoon of coconut oil in the fruit mixture, but I tend to leave that out. I bet coconut butter would also be delicious — especially if you use mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberry or a combination of those for the fruit.
I also occasionally add a couple tablespoons of hemp, chia or ground flax to the crumble once it’s been processed to boost the nutrition. I’ve been adding hemp seeds to guacamole — Dante and Lucia haven’t noticed and I feel good knowing I’m getting lots of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and protein into something they love to eat. Make sure you have enough dates or dried fruit going on in the crumble to absorb these extra dry ingredients if you choose to do so.
We use organic apples, so I just wash them and leave the skins on — if you haven’t had a chance to see the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide to know which fruits and vegetables contain high levels of pesticide residue even after washing, head on over to our post about limiting chemicals in your home.