September 28, 2020
Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts of all time. The tangy apples, sweet brown sugar and cinnamon, combined with a crumbly, crunchy oat topping make the perfect companion to my non-dairy vanilla ice cream.
Today I live in Miami, where it's warm year-round. But when the calendar reads October, I start daydreaming of picking apples at the apple orchard and taking hayrides in the crisp fall air. And, of course, making the perfect fall dessert: apple crisp.
I made eight versions of this vegan apple crisp recipe before I got it just right. Some methods called for melting the vegan butter in the crumbly topping. But that resulted in a gritty, sand-like texture, instead of the classic crunchy, crumbly topping. So I stuck with the classic method of cutting in cold butter. This produced the best topping, even with vegan butter.
What type of apple should I use? The best apples for this recipe are tart apples like Granny Smith. You could also use a slightly sweeter apple like Pink Lady apples, Honeycrisp apples, Ambrosia Apples, or Gala Apples. If you use sweet apples, I recommend cutting the amount of sugar in the filling to 1/4 cup instead of 1/3 cup.
Can I use cold coconut oil instead of vegan butter? You technically could, but it won't produce the same flavorful crisp topping as vegan butter. If vegan butter is unavailable in your area, or unreasonably priced, try my homemade vegan butter recipe.
How can I make this recipe gluten-free? For a gluten-free apple crisp, use gluten-free oats and oat flour instead of regular oats and all-purpose flour. You'll need to increase the amount of oat flour (as noted in the recipe), because the oat flour doesn't absorb as much moisture as the all-purpose flour does. If you use a lower amount of oat flour, your topping will be more like a crunchy, chewy caramel than a traditional apple crisp. (But if that's what you want, go for it!) The gluten-free version does have a very slightly different texture than the regular version. But you probably wouldn't notice unless you tasted them side by side.
Which vegan vanilla ice cream do you recommend pairing with this apple crisp? I personally think So Delicious Wondermilk is the best vegan vanilla ice cream for apple desserts. Oatly is also a good option. I taste-tested 12 brands of vegan vanilla ice cream with a friend, feel free to check out the results of that taste test for other options.
Prep Time70 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time110 minutes
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Then spray a baking dish (large size, about 12 x 8 or 13 x 9) with oil (or grease with vegan butter). You can also use two small (7- to 9-inch) cast-iron pans, as shown in the photos.
Cut apples into 3/4” wide slices, then cut slices in half. Place the chopped apples in a large mixing bowl.
Add the lemon juice and vanilla to the apples, and toss to coat the apples.
In a small bowl, mix the 1/3 cup of brown sugar, cornstarch, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. salt until well combined. Slowly sprinkle the dry mixture over the apples, occasionally stopping to toss the apples to coat them evenly. Pour the apple mix into the greased baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl (you can use the apple bowl, but dry it first), combine the remaining dry ingredients (oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt), and mix well. Cut the butter into thin slices and cut it into the dry mix using a fork. Once the butter is about half-combined with the dry ingredients, mix using your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Don’t overmix it or allow the butter to soften too much.
Sprinkle the oat crumble topping over the apple mixture evenly, and place the dish in the preheated oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until apples are fork-tender and the crispy topping has turned slightly golden brown (your baking time may vary, depending on the apples you use and whether you use a glass or metal dish).
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve in a bowl with a scoop of non-dairy vanilla ice cream.
Be sure to use cold butter. If your butter is too soft, or if you melt the butter, your topping may have a gritty or sandy texture.
If you're using apples that are less tart than Granny Smith, you may want to reduce the brown sugar that gets mixed into the apples from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup.
Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 10 minutes.
Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.
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