Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugar
With days getting shorter and weather bringing the first hints of winter, most of us appreciate the warmth and serenity of our homes much more than in the summer. The nostalgic beauty of the fall with its ever-changing colors inspires us to introspection and soul nourishment. During this season, to survive the cold and dark in a good shape, we need warm and comfy clothes, intimacy with family and friends and food that gives us consolation and sense of well-being.
Whether we realize it or not, in the fall we limit the consumption of cold and raw foods, such as salads and cooling fruits and veggies and replace them with more grounding and nourishing cooked meals that subdue the cool and windy nature of the fall. Although in the fall, the cravings for high on sugar, carbs and fat comfort foods could be intense, it’s a perfect time to make healthy changes in the lifestyle and diet to counter the effects of this season. Giving in to the cravings several times a month shouldn’t wreak havoc on our health, but now, when we spend more time inside engaging in indoor activities, we can learn how to make our favorite comfy foods with healthier ingredients and keep the dishes even more delicious.
According to the Chinese medicine, fall makes us more susceptible to dryness – dry throats and chapped lips – and recommends eating more sour flavors, including apples, cranberries and citrus fruits to prevent it. Although we may not realize that, many of us naturally make this transition to help support the immune system and fend off colds and flu.
The apple-cranberry crumble is the quintessence of an autumn treat. Both apples and cranberries, now in season, are available in stores and at farmer’s markets, are affordable and rich in nutrients. Apples are a good source of antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin C and dietary fiber and cranberries are a phytonutrient powerhouse. The antioxidants in apples and cranberries may help reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
Adding the crumble to this fall treat is essential, because good high-carbs, and oat flour is one of them, are effective remedy to beat late fall and winter mild depression (seasonal affective disorder). Including more carbs in the diet at this time of the year may help pick you up out of the slump.
For the crumble:
- 11/2 oat flour
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, softened
- 1/4 maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 5-6 mediums apples (e.g. Pink Lady, Smitten), cored and peeled
- 1 cup organic fresh cranberries, washed
- 1/8 cup aronia berries (optional)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt for the topping. Using your fingers, gently work in the coconut oil until pea-sized lumps are formed and the mixture looks like a wet sand. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour.
In the meantime, chop the apples into small pieces. Place them in a medium pot along with cranberries, aronia berries, cinnamon, coconut oil, maple syrup and grated ginger. Mix all ingredients well and cook them over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the apples soften and cranberries burst.
Scoop the apple mixture into springform pans filling them to 70% of their capacity. I am using four pans 4 inch in diameter, 2 inch tall, purchased on Amazon for about $18.00 for the set of four, but if you don’t have the forms of that size and don’t want to buy them, use a single, regular size springform cake pan.
Place the crumble on top of the apple-cranberry mixture and generously sprinkle with sliced, lightly toasted almonds. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until golden, at 375 F.
Serve warm, drizzled with organic honey. Apple-cranberry crumble can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.
It makes a great dessert, perfect light breakfast or delicious afternoon snack.