Recipe: vegan apple crumble with an oaty nutty topping

When we planned on doing a communal meal we wanted to make it as inclusive as possible so being vegan-friendly was a must. Most members of Cantiaci are vegetarian anyway, but we also wanted to cater for people with food intolerances and allergies so it made sense to make the meal vegan (as well as using gluten free flour).

For the dessert we had a whole lot of apples from various places so something apple-based and seasonal was really the only sensible option, and who doesn’t love an apple crumble? I’d never had a vegan apple crumble so I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. Using olive oil and ground almonds gives you just the right fatty taste without any animal products so it’s win-win for people, animals and the environment.

You can use any nuts for this but pecans work particularly well. At the meal we had some foraged sweet chestnuts that I had roasted for about 25 minutes then shelled, crushed and sprinkled on top, but I don’t think I really had enough to be able to taste them. Oh well! I liked the idea of a foraged element but I’m yet to be convinced that sweet chestnuts are worth getting repeatedly stabbed for…

Vegan apple crumble recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients

For the apple filling:

  • 8 dessert apples
  • ¼ cup (60ml) apple juice
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour

For the oaty nutty crumble topping:

  • 1 cup (90g) oats
  • ½ cup (55g) ground almonds
  • ½ cup (43g) gluten free flour
  • ½ cup (100g) muscovado sugar (or other brown sugar)
  • ½ cup (50g) chopped nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, almonds)
  • ½ cup (120ml) olive oil
  • Handful flaked almonds

Method

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.

First peel and core the apples, then chop into thin slices.

Put into a bowl and pour on the apple and lemon juice. Sprinkle on the dry ingredients (flour, mixed spice and sugar) and stir well until all the ingredients are mixed together.

Put the apple mixture into into an ovenproof dish.

Mix all of your dry topping ingredients together EXCEPT the flaked almonds. If your nuts aren’t pre-chopped just put them into a jug and use the flat end of a rolling pin and bash them until you have fairly small but uneven chunks.

Pour in the olive oil. When properly combined the mixture should go a bit darker in colour – you might need to add a little more olive oil if you still have a lot of of dry bits.

Spread the mixture evenly over the top of your apples, then sprinkle on the flaked almonds.

Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes – 55 minutes. Check it halfway through – you should see a little bit of juice bubbling up at the side. If you don’t you might need to add a dash more apple juice to stop it drying out – that’s fine, just carefully pour it into one corner and tilt the pan so it can spread. The top should go a golden colour and the apples should go nice and soft.

Serve warm, and if you have leftovers just reheat them in the oven until warmed through.

Rebecca Elliott

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