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Anna's autumn apple crumble

We continued to use our glut of cooking apples yesterday and ate this warm out of the oven.  You could use eating apples (such as French golden delicious) instead of cookers, in which case you don’t need to sweeten the apples at all.  If you have one, use a food processor to blitz the oats to make the crumble super-nice.  If you don’t have one, use oat flour from the health shop ( NB oat flour is usually not gluten-free so coeliacs beware).  You can buy miniature food processors in Argos or department stores and save yourself time and effort.

For 6 people:
1 kg cooking apples
1 tbs water
20 drops stevia (or 2 rounded tbs xylitol)
Alternatively use 1kg sweet eating apples (e.g. French golden delicious) and omit the stevia/xylitol
Remember to check out my larder & shopping section for unusual ingredients

Crumble topping:
100g (1¼ cups) gluten-free porridge oats (or normal porridge oats if you can eat gluten)
50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
40g (3 level tbs) virgin coconut oil
1-2 rounded dsp xylitol (amount depends how sweet you like the topping)

1. Into a large saucepan put 1 tbs water and 20 drops of stevia (or the xylitol).  Put on a low heat to warm while you peel and slice the apples into the pan.  Stir around to make sure the stevia/xylitol is evenly distributed.  Cover and cook gently for around 10 minutes until the apples are softened.
2. Preheat oven to 170C (for fan oven, for non-fan oven, 180C)
3. Meanwhile make the crumble.  Blitz the porridge oats in the food processor.  Tip into a bowl with the ground almonds, a dessertspoon of xylitol/coconut sugar and the coconut oil.  Chop the coconut oil into the mix with a knife until it resembles breadcrumbs.   Taste for sweetness and, if you like, add another dessertspoon of xylitol/coconut sugar and mix around.
4. Grease a 20x30cm pyrex dish or roasting tin – a bit smaller or larger won’t matter much but this size gives you a nice depth of dessert.
5. Empty the cooked apples into the dish.  Even out by shaking gently or evening out with a spoon.  Then scatter the crumble evenly over the top.
6. Cook in the oven for around 30 minutes until slightly golden.
6. Serve on its own or with one of the following:
Dairy-free: natural soya yoghurt sweetened with a few drops of vanilla extract and xylitol or some stevia drops
Dairy: a blob of natural yoghurt or Greek (sheep’s) yoghurt


  • Instead of 100g oats you can use 50g gluten free oat flakes and 50g buckwheat flakes, all blitzed in the food processor to a coarse flour.  If you are able to eat gluten, you can also buy oat flour in health stores and use this instead.  NB.  Unless certified gluten-free, oats are often contaminated with wheat (gluten).
  • Add a pinch of ground cloves and a teaspoon of cinnamon to the apple mixture for extra health benefits and delicious fragrance
  • You could also use coconut sugar instead of xylitol for extra caramel flavour and crunch – its delicious and contains some minerals.

Why this is better for you:
Apples, especially cooking apples, are a rich source of a soluble fibre called pectin.  Soluble fibres like pectin feed beneficial bacteria in your gut.  Pectin binds to harmful toxins (e.g. mercury from dental fillings and tune, or arsenic from non-organic rice) in the bowel.  This makes them inert and aids their excretion.  Oats also contain soluble fibre.  Coconut oil is a rich source of medium chain triglycerides that help boost energy rather than being stored as body fat.  Unlike most other oils, coconut oil is stable at high temperatures and so is safe to use in cooking.  Using pure stevia (as herb) as your zero calorie sweetener for the apples is a 100% healthy form of sweetening.  Xylitol is made from birch tree sap and causes fewer spikes in blood sugar than “normal” sugar or honey.  I use xylitol for the crumble as stevia didn’t really seem to sweeten the topping enough when I experimented with it.  Sweeteners such as xylitol, honey, coconut sugar, molasses and maple syrup are still not actively good for you though, so sweetened foods like this dessert are best kept for occasional (rather than daily use).