Autumn apple & berry (or plum) 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 of it. 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 1000g 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. Here I have used 900g apple and 100g of blackberries.
For 6 servings:
1kg cooking apples (or add some red fruits and reduce the amounts of apple)
4 tbs water
Sweetening to taste: I use 30 drops of stevia or a couple of tablespoons of xylitol/erythritol (health shops)
140g blackberries (about a mugful) thawed or fresh
30g virgin coconut oil, ghee, avocado oil (or, if you eat dairy, normal butter, organic if possible)
100g ground almonds
100g gluten-free oat flour (make by whizzing GF oats in your food processor) or use normal oats if you have no problem with oats
1 heaped tbs xylitol or erythritol (or a little more to taste, if you like)
A little extra oil for greasing
Pyrex/ovenproof dish/small roasting pan (I use one 17 x 27 x 6cm 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/erythritol 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 flour, ground almonds and xylitol/erythritol. Rub in or process the coconut oil, ghee or butter or mix in the avocado 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:
Cooked apples are a rich source of pectin, a type of prebiotic fibre that feeds your beneficial gut bacteria so critical for your immune system (and your whole body). Prebiotic fibre in oats, berries and plums also feeds good bugs. If your weekly eating contains many different types of plants, herbs and spices you will be working wonders for your gut bacteria and your health. Different beneficial bacteria need different plant fibres.
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 (e.g. zinc, needed for efficient immunity).
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. 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. Avocado oil is also a good choice for crumbles as it isn’t converted by the heat of the oven into a toxic fat. Avocado oil and olive oil are monounsaturated fats so much less damaged by heat then nut/seed oils like rape, sunflower or vegetable oil.
Virgin coconut oil iis also good 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.