A classic, this gluten free cinnamon apple crisp is the perfect dessert to celebrate fall baking.
Some of my earliest baking memories involve apples. I remember being in elementary school, likely in fifth grade or so, and having an overwhelming impulse to make homemade apple turnovers. My mother was working, and I thought that I would surprise her with a fresh baked treat.
The only problem was that I had never made apple turnovers before, and I didn’t have a recipe. Not being willing to be halted, I gathered the ingredients I thought that I would need: flour, butter, milk, sugar, and apples. That’s it. While I don’t remember my “recipe” (thankfully), I do recall using copious amounts of flour and milk. When the dough became too loose, I would add a bit more flour. When the dough became too dry, I would add a splash of milk. This back and forth occurred far too many times.
I recall my younger brother walking into the kitchen and exclaiming that mom was going to be mad. There was flour all over the kitchen. I assured him that she wouldn’t. I popped the turnovers into the oven and hoped for the best.
The turnovers that resulted were very dense, quite hard, and just plain terrible. I followed through with my plan and presented them to my mother when she arrived home. She tried one…just a small bite of one. I told her that I knew that they were too hard. She agreed. So instead of enjoying warm and delicious turnovers, we enjoyed time together cleaning up the flour dusted kitchen.
After that incident, I put baking aside for several years.
My next attempt came during my freshman year in college. My friend and I were both commuting students and decided to make an apple pie from scratch. We followed the instructions on the box of pie crust mix (that was our idea of homemade). We rolled out the dough, lined the bottom of the pie plate, and filled it with diced apples. We then crimped the top crust, vented the top, and baked it to perfection.
When we removed the pie from the oven we were both astounded at how normal and beautiful our pie looked. We took our pie to a dinner gathering later that evening. We were so anxious to cut into our pie, but when we did, we were greeted with a pool of juice and some sad, sad looking apples. We were stumped.
A woman, a bit older than we, kindly asked us how we made our filling. When we told her that we literally just cut up apples and popped them inside, she began to tell us the error of our ways. I suppose we ate a bit of humble pie that evening (but we still laughed our way through it).
So apples and me, we have history together.
Today one of my favorite ingredients to cook and bake with are apples. How ironic? I love their versatility. I love all of the varieties and how each of them has just the right recipe to shine in.
The recipe that I am sharing with you today is for the dessert that I make with the most regularity. It’s often my go-to dessert when company comes. It has a place at every holiday dessert table and has been known to be requested in lieu of birthday cake. It’s apple crisp.
Selecting the proper apples for apple crisp is quite important. Opt for overly juicy apples and you’ll be left with a lot of water and juice in the bottom of your baking dish. Select apples that are very hard and you’ll be left with an overdone crumb topping and somewhat underdone apples.
I opt to use Gala apples in my crisp. They have just the right firmness, just the right sweetness, and just the right amount of juiciness. Honeycrisp apples would also be a great option.
Whichever apple you select be sure to take care when prepping them. I like to use an apple slicer to ensure that my slices are uniform. I then take my time in cutting each wedge into three pieces that are relatively close in size. Keeping the apple chunks similar in size will ensure even cooking. If your apple chunks vary too greatly in size, some pieces will be overcooked, while others will be undercooked. The end result will be underwhelming.
I hope that this Gluten Free Apple Crisp finds a place at your table this fall.
Gluten Free Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
10 cups peeled, cored, and diced Gala apple (about 6-8 medium sized apples)
2 & 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum (I used Bob’s 1 to 1)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks cold), salted, butter cut into small chunks
Whipped Cream Topping:
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peel, core, and dice enough apples to yield 10 cups. Scatter the diced apples into an 8″ x 10″ baking dish.
Next place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl.
Remove the butter from the refrigerator and cut into small chunks. Place the butter into the bowl and using a pastry blender or your hands (my preferred method) work the butter into the dry ingredients. This will take a few minutes and a bit of elbow grease. Work together until nice sized crumbs form. You do not want crumbs that look like sand on the beach.
Scatter the crumbs over the apples.
Bake on the center rack in the oven for 40-50 minutes. You’ll know that your crisp is done when you can see a little juice bubbling up around the edges of the baking dish.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Just prior to serving make your cinnamon whipped cream.
Place all of the ingredients for the whipped cream in a blender. Blend on low until the cream thickens to your liking. Place into a bowl and serve alongside of the apple crisp.