I’m guessing I’m not the only one turning to warm, cozy foods when the days get shorter, darker, and colder. But my experiences so far with grain- and refined sugar-free apple crisps had left me…well, less than comforted. I think we can all admit that without wheat flour and oats, crisps just aren’t the same.
I wanted soft, cinnamony baked apple goodness topped with some toasty nuts, but most recipes I’ve found and tried rely way too heavily on nut flours—and honey, that ain’t crispy. It just turns into an unappealing, gloppy mess, which is a crime against good apples.
I wrestled with myself over the use of the word “crisp” here, seeing as how the nut topping is more crunch than crisp. You need sugar, wheat, and oats for that crispy factor. But it is the best descriptor of the dessert niche it occupies, so to properly convey the dessert’s purpose, “crisp” stays. After you taste this, I don’t think you’ll argue with me. And if you do, it’s not my fault you’re crazy.
I used a deep 1.5 quart casserole dish for this, so if you’re using a smaller pan (like an 8×8 inch or pie pan), use fewer apples.
*Note: I’ve gotten a bit of feedback about the apple mixture ending up too soupy, and I think I know why. When I made this, I used local apples which tend to be smaller and less watery with more fiber. If you’re using those gigantic apples from the grocery store that are juicier, feel free to reduce or eliminate the apple cider listed in the recipe. You can also just keep reducing it until it’s less watery and more concentrated.
5-6 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 Tbsp. pastured butter (optional, this is purely for flavor)
1 cup apple cider (no sugar added)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cardamom
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter (if using) then add the cider, maple syrup, and spices. Whisk together and bring to a gentle boil. Let boil for about 10-15 minutes to reduce and thicken.
2) Meanwhile, put diced apples in a heatproof bowl. When cider mixture is ready, pour over apples and toss to coat. Pour apples into baking dish.
3) In a medium bowl, stir together all the topping ingredients and then spread evenly over the apples in the baking dish. Cover dish with tin foil and place in the oven, setting timer for 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the topping. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, then serve it up with a shovel.
NOTES: I made this for company, so I served it with a vanilla coconut milk ice cream. It would be equally as good with regular ice cream, whipped cream, or a simple drizzle of coconut milk. You could even gussy up the coconut milk with some vanilla and cinnamon.