This is actually a very difficult recipe…to write down. You see, it’s such an incredibly easy and versatile dish to make, that it comes out differently (and very tasty) every time. So, this “recipe” is a snapshot of what I did this time, with tart pink lady apples, spicy cardamom and tangy succulent dried cranberries. I’ve made it before with sweet fuji apples, and sour granny smith apples…with dried currants or raisins…and with cinnamon and dried ginger. Cardamom and apples play so nicely together, this is a yummy spiced departure from the ubiquitous cinnamon and apple combo.
As I mentioned in my mashed potatoes recipe, in most cases, I don’t peel my fruits and veggies (especially since they are organic). You lose so many nutrients and fiber when you throw away the peel, as well as some nice color. So, you do what you prefer, but I don’t include peeling the apples in the recipe.
For the crisp topping, I used to make it with wheat flour, but a couple years ago I made it for a friend with a wheat allergy, and switched over to flavorful ground almond meal. We liked it so much, I never went back using wheat in this dish. So, wheat flour isn’t necessary, but you could swap it out for the almond meal if you need to. Almonds have wonderful nutrients, protein and fiber, plus, mixed with the sugar the whole house smells of apples and marzipan while it bakes. Yum! Since almond meal has no gluten, it has more of a crumbly texture in baked goods. That’s a little trickier in cakes or breads, but this topping is supposed to crumble.
This is a cute mini baking dish from Portugal that I got at Cost Plus for individual servings.
This was the first time I measured the ingredients out, so really, I hope you just use it as a proportional guide and then do your own thing to your tastes with what you have in your kitchen. It’s a bit of a quick pantry raid (that’s right, I said pantry). Feel free to make this in a large baking dish, or in small personal ramekins. It can be just a homey everyday dessert presentation, or gussied up for special company. As always, please use as many local/sustainable/organic ingredients as possible.
Cardamom Apple Crisp with Dried Cranberries
For 8 inch square baking dish (you can very easily scale this up or down)
5 apples, chopped (a combination of sweet and tart is good, but use your favorite baking apples)
zest and juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (depending on the juiciness of your lemon and the tartness of your apples)
1/2-3/4 cup dried cranberries (or blueberries, cherries, currants or raisins)
1/2 C. oats
1/2 C. ground almond meal (you may replace it with flour if you prefer, but I think this has a better flavor)
pinch of salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (or cinnamon, ginger or pumpkin pie spice mix)
1/3 C. organic evaporated sugar cane juice (it’s unbleached granulated sugar that has a blond color and still has the natural minerals and enzymes from the sugar cane. great stuff if you haven’t tried it yet and tastes delicious.)
3 Tbs. cold unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the chopped apples, lemon zest and juice, and dried cranberries in the baking dish.
In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix topping ingredients together. Taste a little of the topping. Is it sweet enough, spiced enough? Tinker with it until you are happy with the result. Particularly if you are using tart apples, you want the topping slightly sweeter than you like, since this is the only sweetening the apples will get.
Sprinkle topping over apple mixture and bake until apples are a little bubbly and the topping is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes.
SERVING NOTES: This apple crisp is delicious on it’s own, or topped with creme fraiche, freshly whipped cream with a little almond or lemon extract added before you whip it, or your favorite ice cream (everybody loves a la mode). It’s also easy to throw together hours or a day ahead since it’s delicious at all temperatures. I’ve even made the crumble topping a week ahead, and then chopped the apples and baked everything that day to save some time. Enjoy!