Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vegan Pear and Apple Crisp

All right, waistline.  It’s just me and you.  (Cue Western shoot out music – you know the tune.)  We’re going to duke it out.  Even though the holidays are coming (Butter!  Cream!  Gravy!  Oh my!), I’m going to win.  Especially since Alyse and I have been training all this month for our first ever 5k!  (Yes, we were the girls in the back of the junior high P.E. class who never volunteered for any sort of organized sports team.  It’s how we met, actually). 

I’m also going to win in the battle over my waistline because I’m creating delicious, lower-fat alternatives to my fall favorites.  (Ellie Krieger is my fave Food Network personality, after all.)  I love, love me an apple crisp, but usually the crisp topping is loooooaded with buttah.  Recipes for vegan baked goods aren’t necessarily healthier when it comes to fat content - those vegan muffins I love at one of my favorite cafés are full of all kinds of oil.  But this crisp topping, with only four tablespoons of trans-fat free oil, is relatively guilt free.  I’m also always looking out for vegan recipes for my dad.  He’s been lactose intolerant for a few years – with butter being the number-one thing that upsets him.  He’s been griping over how much he misses crisps, so the next time he and Mom come over, I’ll wow them with this number.

This crisp, served warm, is bubbly, spicy, and sweet, the perfect way to follow up a walk through red and yellow leaves.  The pears give it something unexpected, and the lemon adds a little brightness to the heft of the maple syrup.  Is it as indulgent as one made with butter (you’re probably asking)?  No.  But that’s why we put a smidge of ice cream on it.*  It is dessert, after all.

*I realize this makes it not vegan.  But, per my suggestion below, you can use a soy or rice ice cream to keep it vegan.    

Vegan Pear and Apple Crisp

Serves 6 (or, erm, 4, if you’re having your girlfriends over for dinner)

Inspired/Adapted from Joy the Baker

For the fruit:
1 1/2 cups fresh apples (about 3 apples), peeled, cored, and chopped into chunks (I used a Gala, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious)
1 cup fresh pears (about 2 pears), peeled, cored, and chopped into chunks (I used Bosc pears)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest (zest of half a lemon)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of cloves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

For the crisp topping:
3 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons canola oil
4 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons water

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2.  In a baking dish, combine the apple and pear chunks and toss with flour, spices, lemon juice, lemon zest, and maple syrup.  Set aside while you assemble the crumble topping.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, salt, and spices.  In a small bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and water.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend with a fork.  Make sure all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the oil and maple syrup mixture. 

4.  Spoon the crisp topping over the fruit in the shallow baking dish and pat down slightly with the fork.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping looks crisp-like and the apples are completely cooked through.

5.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.  While the crisp is still quite warm, scoop a small dollop of vanilla ice cream or something suitably ice cream-like (one of those soy or rice ice creams or some frozen cool whip).  Consume immediately. 

Serving suggestion – reheat leftovers and serve with a scoop of sweetened vanilla yogurt the next day for breakfast!  How can you anyone dislike dessert that doubles as breakfast?

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