So you have an abundance of apples, make blackberry apple crisp! This is such a simply delicious and beautiful use of apples. Plus this recipe uses nuts and gluten free oats, so not only is it gluten free, it has 7 grams of fiber + protein, to blunt some of those sugar effects.
This is a great use of some of falls best crops, apples and blackberries, let’s dig in!
What’s the difference between a crisp and a crumble?
So there are really three similar types of fruit dishes like a crisp.
The cobbler, which got its’ name from a cobble road because blobs of pastry dough are dropped in an asymmetrical pattern atop the fruit.
Crumbles and crisps have streusel toppings, a combination of butter, sugar and other ingredients. The difference between these are; typically crisps are made with oats, and crumbles are not. Otherwise, they’re similar, and often used interchangeably.
- Apples: it’s best to use a variety of apples here to be sure you’re getting a nice texture and flavor. Too much of one apple (say granny smith) would result in a too sour crisp, or too many galas may be too soft. Plus, each apple is a different species, feeding your gut differently! Bonus!
- Blackberries: choose plump, deep colored berries. If you don’t have these, feel free to omit.
- Oats: Choose whole oats, organic, gluten free as needed.
- White sugar: choose beet sugar if you need vegan, or non gmo.
- Lemon juice: you can use whole lemons or lemon juice here’s my favorite!
- Pecans, almonds: Choose whole, unsalted, raw. Feel free to try other nuts (or seeds) too!
- Turbinado sugar: I love the course ground this raw sugar offers. It’s minimally processed, however that doesn’t mean it’s significantly better. It has a trace amount of nutrients, but nothing to write home about. You can use brown sugar if you don’t have turbinado sugar.
- Butter: choose a dark yellow, grass fed butter which has higher levels of vitamin A.
Should I peel my apples before making a crumble?
Please don’t! The skins and peels of foods is often where those soil microorganisms live, plus the fiber, and phytonutrients. Apple skins may be special because the pectin (that polysaccharide that forms like a mash) can help feed your gut bugs!
I keep the skins on in this recipe and “pre-bake” just the apples to soften them some and avoid overcooking the crisp.
How do you make the crisp gluten free?
This part is easy. Because a crisp already uses oats, it’s usually as simply as making oat flour instead of all purpose flour.
This crisp has an especially crispy top due to the nuts. Adding the nuts in provides you with additional unsaturated fats, vitamin E, selenium, magnesium and other phytonutrients. Plus the added fat and protein slows your bodys absorption of sugar, which is key to stabilizing blood sugars with a dessert.
How do you keep a crumble topping crisp?
First, make sure the crisp is completely cool before storing. If it’s still hot that trapped heat will turn to steam and soften the top.
Next, you can cover and refrigerate for about 2 days, I suggest leaving it in the pan you cooked it in so as not to disrupt the layers. Then, throw it back into the oven to enjoy a second time.
You can also freeze a crisp if placed in a container with a tight fitting lid.
Is it necessary to cover your dish while baking?
Covering the dish can help to further soften the apples while more slowly cooking the crisp. Which is a good thing so as not to over-brown the crisp.
My method actually pre-bakes the apples while covered, then baking for additional time uncovered.
What is the best way to store a fruit crumble?
First, make sure the crisp is completely cool before storing. If it’s still hot that trapped heat will turn to steam and make the top soft.
Store it in the fridge for a couple days, covered.
Help! My apple crisp is watery
Try two things.
First, be sure you let your apples sit in lemon juice and sugar for a bit to macerate them. This helps remove some water before adding the apples to the dish with a slotted spoon.
Next, wait to dig in! Okay, so apples have a fiber, called pectin, that helps bind water and forms a mesh when heated. If you scoop into the crisp too soon the apples will release this water. BUT, if you can wait even 10 minutes or more, the pectin will form a gel and bind the water better.
Now let’s enjoy some of falls tastiest fruit.
Blackberry & Apple Crisp
- 9 x 13 pan
- 2 Large mixing bowl
- Pastry cutter, or 2 knives, or your hands
- Chefs Knife
- Measuring Scoops & Spoons
- Food Processor or good blender to grind oats and nuts
- 8 cups ~ 12 small apples, sliced 1/4 " thick, skin on
- 1/4 cup white sugar to macerate, see notes
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, the juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup oats, ground into flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup pecans, pulsed into small eraser size pieces
- 1/2 cup almonds, pulsed into small eraser size pieces
- 1/2 cup whole oats, stirred in
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick room temperature butter, split into 2 – 1/4 cup portions
- 6 ounce carton, ~ 1 cup of blackberries
- Turn your oven to 400.
- Slice your apples into 3/4" thick chunks. No peeling necessary. Pour them into a large mixing bowl.
- Cover with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar and mix well.
- Let sit for 30 minutes to macerate – see notes.
- Grind the 3/4 cup oats into a fine flour in a food processor or high speed blender. Add the salt, cinnamon and pulse to mix.
- Add the nuts to the food processor or blender and pulse until the pieces are 1/4" small, about the size of an eraser. The chunks are a nice textural crunch.
- Pour the ground oats and nut mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- Hand stir in the remaining whole oats and sugar. Mix until well combined.
- Cut 1/4 cup (1/2 of a stick) of room temperature butter into the mixture using two butter knives, a pastry blender or your hands. Work this in until your mixture holds together in small eraser size pieces.
- Now that your apples are macerated, transfer them into your 9×12 baking dish with a slotted spoon (so as to remove the excess liquid). Do not use a metal or insulated baking pan – see notes.
- Cover with tin foil and place the apple filled pan into a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Until the pectin starts to form a nice mesh, making a cohesive apple bottom. Yum!
- Pull from the oven and add 1 cup of washed, whole blackberries to the apples. Then press the apples down with the back of a spatula to make a nice thick bottom.
- Spread your crumble mixture evenly on top of your apples.
- With the remaining 1/4 cup of butter, microwave until melted liquid.
- Once melted pour the butter mixture onto the apples evenly and bake at 400 for another 15- 20 minutes or until the topping begins to brown.
- If you wish to top with additional chopped or slivered nuts, do so when about 5 minutes are remaining in bake time.
- Top with additional 2- 3 tbsp sliced almonds towards the end of the cook time, when about 5 minutes remain.
- The sugar mixed with the apples is to help macerate, or release the juices from the apples. This improves their texture but also reduces the amount of liquid added to the dessert, making it less runny. Try experimenting with a little less sugar based on your preferences.
- Use a glass dish, which is best at retaining heat. Since you don’t want to have to transfer your dessert for serving, a glass dish that’s both pretty, and helps with heat is a great choice!
- Resist the urge to DIG IN! Let the crisp cool just slightly to allow the fiber from the apples to trap the water so it doesn’t run out all over.