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Autumn apple & blackberry crumble

Autumn apple & blackberry crumble

The most gorgeous crumble I ever ate was made by my flatmate John from a glut of Victoria plums in the front garden.  This jewel-red crumble from apples and berries reminds me somewhat of that plum crumble.   Use apples and blackberries, raspberries or even blackcurrants, or apples on their own, or plums.   If you use plums it’s a good idea to quarter them and take out the stones before cooking.  Just make sure you have around 1150g of fruit in total – it doesn’t have to be exact though.   Remember to taste the fruit mix as soon as it has softened in the pan, adding more sweetening if you need to.

For 6
For the fruit mix:
1kg cooking apples
4 tbs water
Sweetening to taste: I use 30 drops of stevia or a couple of tablespoons of xylitol (see larder & shopping for details and stockists)
140g blackberries (about a mugful) thawed or fresh

For the crumble topping
30g virgin coconut oil, ghee or virgin macadamia oil or (if you eat dairy, normal organic butter is fine)
100g ground almonds
100g gluten-free oat flour (make by whizzing GF oats in your food processor) or organic brown rice flour
1 heaped tbs xylitol (or a little more to taste, if you like)
A little extra oil for greasing

Pyrex/ovenproof dish/small roasting pan – I use one 17x27x6cm high and the quantities work well.

1. Preheat oven to 170c.
2. Prepare the apples by washing, peeling and slicing.  Grease your dish with whatever sort of oil you are using.   Layer the apples and blackberries in your dish, sprinkling over some xylitol on each layer until all the sweetening is used up.  If you are using stevia drops instead, put them in about 3 tbs of water and use this to sprinkle over the layers until everything is used up.
4. In a bowl or food processor mix the oat/rice flour, ground almonds and xylitol  Rub in or process the coconut oil, ghee or butter or mix in the macadamia oil until the whole thing looks a bit like breadcrumbs.
5. Pour the fruit mix into the dish, spread the topping over evenly, and bake in the oven until the top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Why this is better for you:
Cooking apples are a rich source of pectin which helps chelate (bind) natural and man-made toxins in your gut, helping their excretion.  This can be helpful for all sorts of issues from digestive disorders to acne or even PMS or mood issues.  Pectin also feeds the beneficial bacteria which are important for almost all aspects of your health and vitality.  The crumble topping in this dessert is gluten-free.  Gluten is difficult for anybody to digest, not just people with gluten-intolerance or coeliac disease.  Gluten grains, especially wheat, are also high in phytates.  Phytates are natural plant substances that inhibit you from absorbing important minerals in your diet (eg magnesium, iron, selenium).  If you are dairy-intolerant, you can still enjoy dairy in the form of ghee (clarified butter).  This is where the butter is heated until it seperates and the milky white liquid on the bottom, underneath the pure butter fat, is discarded.  This gets rid of the casein (dairy protein) that is a problem for people with dairy intolerances.  Macadamia oil is also a good choice for crumbles as it isn’t converted by the heat of the oven into a toxic fat.  Virgin coconut oil is probably even better as it contains capryllic acid and medium chain triglycerides.  Capryllic acid helps inhibit overgrowth of disease-causing yeasts/candida in your gut.  Medium chain triglycerides are a good source of energy which are easily digested and are burnt for energy rather than being converted into body fat.