autumn + a simple apple crumble

What autumn means to me, so far this year:

  • dahlias that thrive from the union of cool, misty mornings and sun-dappled afternoons;
  • becoming a soccer mom;
  • taking Nina to her first college football game, a real nail-biter that was a blur of pompoms and cacophony of cheering;
  • apples, ergo the quest to perfect baked apple cider doughnuts;
  • and this lovely apple crumble.

What a lovely start to my favorite season.

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Apple crumble with muscovado and rye

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I’ve been on a dark rye + muscovado kick lately, and when my neighbors gifted me several pounds of apples, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. This recipe is a marriage of an apple crumble filling from Nigel Slater, and a rye crumble topping from Kim Boyce. A mixture of apple varieties is best in my opinion, so that some bits are tart, some are sweet, some melt into a slush and some remain slightly firm. The thing about Slater’s recipe I love most is that the apples are tossed with sugar then quickly browned before baking, giving the finished dish undertones of toffee or caramel. I think this tastes best without the addition of any spices, although I wouldn’t object to tucking a couple of bruised sage leaves into the dish just before baking. Another grain that pairs well with muscovado sugar is buckwheat, which also happens to be gluten free.

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Filling:
2 1/2 to 3 pounds apples, preferably a mix of tart and sweet
Juice from half a lemon
1/3 cup muscovado sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil, used in two teaspoon increments

Crumble:
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup dark rye flour (or buckwheat to make this gluten free)
1/3 cup almond meal
6 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Large pinch of fine grain sea salt
3 to 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F / 180 C. Lightly oil a 1.5 quart casserole dish and set aside.

Peel, core, and chop the apples into 3/4-inch chunks. In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice and sugar; stir to combine.

In a heavy bottomed pot, melt two teaspoons of the coconut oil. When the oil is nice and hot, arrange a layer of the apples on the bottom of the pan. Resist the urge to nudge the apple pieces around; the goal here is for them to begin to caramelize. After three to four minutes the apples will begin to brown in spots; transfer them to the casserole dish. Repeat the process until all of the apples have had their turn in the pot. If there are any sticky bits in the pot, add a splash of water, loosen them up, and add them to the casserole dish.

To make the crumble, combine all of the dry ingredients (everything except the coconut oil) in a food processor and pulse a few times until the oats are coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl and add three tablespoons of the melted coconut oil. Using your hands, stir to combine, squeezing as you stir to create small crumbly bits. If the mixture falls apart when squeezed, add another tablespoon of coconut oil. You want the crumble topping to have a dusty texture, similar to breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes

It’s been a busy summer.

Hoosier_campsite

Cubs

We camped our way to the Upper Peninsula, stopping in Chicago to catch a Cubs game before spending nearly two weeks on lake Superior.

killdeer_nest

wave_jumper

There was a bear cub sighting, a killdeer nest, and ten straight days of sand and sun.

kitchengarden

moonandstars

pattypan

zucchiniWe returned home to find out it rained every single day we were out of town. My kitchen garden? Completely overrun with basil and shiso. My vine garden? Completely overrun with melons. Even my zucchini and patty pan plants survived, despite the annual squash bug plague.

pearsPears are in season. Tip of the iceberg. I suspect a few pear recipes may make an appearance once I get out from under these knobbly green pomes.

blueberry_oatshakeThe past five years we forgot to net our blueberry bushes, which made the local deer happy. This summer we finally got around to it, and have been picking berries every day for over a month. Most of them go straight into Nina’s mouth; any stragglers she leaves behind make it into the kitchen. She has recently declared herself a superhero-in-training*, and we came up with this shake to keep her healthy and strong.

Blueberry superhero oatshake

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This is more milkshake than smoothie, packed with all manner of things a growing superhero needs (…antioxidants, protein, fiber…). An equal amount of rolled or steel cut oats can be substituted for the groats, and 2 tablespoons cashew or peanut butter can be substituted for the raw cashews. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, there will be little flecks of oats and cashews in your shake. To avoid this, simply pre-grind the cashews and oats to a powder with a burr grinder before blending with the rest of the ingredients. I often combine everything in a large mason jar and pop it in the refrigerator before I go to bed, then blend it right in the jar with my immersion blender in the morning.

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1 large handful fresh blueberries
1 small handful baby spinach
1/2 Cup sprouted oat groats
1/4 Cup raw cashews
1/2 to 1 Cup almond milk
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

Blend until smooth, starting with 1/2 Cup milk and adding more if needed to reach desired consistency.

Yield: 1 superhero or 2 mortal servings

Prep time: 5 minutes

*Awesome Girl. Is anyone even a little bit surprised?