Thursday, December 9, 2010

Apple Crisp with Cider, Spices and Prunes

If you have a sweet tooth like me, or are just around tons of holiday cookies and candies at this time of year, you might be looking for a sweet treat right about now that doesn't leave you feeling comatose or like you've got high fructose corn syrup coursing through your veins. This fruit crisp uses lots of seasonal fruit and only a small amount of added sweetener. I have been making apple crisps for years, and we eat them for dessert with cream, breakfast with yogurt, or straight up for a snack. This crisp turned out better than any I'd made before and the two key elements that I think made it so good are cider and prunes (think dried plums not your grandma's source of fiber); and the apple cider, which is the only sweetener on the fruit, making and the prunes plump during cooking and adding a richness and note of complexity to the apples.

Apple Crisp with Cider, Spices and Prunes
Apples about 10 apples, or enough to fill a 9x13 baking dish
1 1/2  Cups Prunes, whole pitted
2 Cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
5 Cardamom pods (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom)
1 1/2 Cups apple cider
2 Tablespoons butter (optional)

Crisp Topping:
4 Cups oats (I used 3 cups quick oats and 1 cup rolled oats)
1 Cup brown sugar (or honey, maple syrup, agave, molasses or fruit juice concentrate)
3/4 Cups oil
1/3 Cup apple cider
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
  1. Peel and cut apples into 1 inch cubes or 1/2 inch thick slices. Put apples, prunes, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and cider in a 9x13inch baking dish. dot with butter if you are using it.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the crisp topping. Pile the mixture on top of the fruit and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the cider is bubbling rapidly, the fruit is very tender and the crisp topping is nicely browned. If your topping gets too dark but the fruit needs to cook more, drape a piece of foil over the top until it is done.
Note: If you are trying to limit the fat in your diet, you can replace some of the oil with cider. Once you get the hang of it, you can make this type of topping without measuring; use whatever sweetener you like and combine the ingredients and to taste, making adjustments until you have a moist delicious mixture that looks like this:

The cider cooks into the fruit sweetening the apples and plumping the prunes.

This crisp is wonderful alone or paired with a drizzle of milk or cream, yogurt or ice cream. We ate this for dessert, breakfast and snack (not all on the same day) and it was a nice way to satisfy our cravings for sweets without too much sugar.

Do you have a great fruit based recipe? 
Feel free to share ideas by leaving a comment below.


  1. Looks fabulous. I will make it this weekend.
    I really appreciate your cooking and love of good food.It's a joy to read your blog!
    Thank you for your work!

  2. Thank you so much! It is my pleasure!

  3. I made it tonight and it was delish!! The topping was so much easier than the usual apple crisp--blending the butter, flour & oats together with a pastry blender makes me think twice about making it, but not this one! I also added cranberries because they looked so big and plump at Stop & Shop today. And yes, told the kids and dad that the prunes were "dried plums"!

    BTW, Tagan tell your mom that my son Peter W. says hi (and many other things!)

  4. will do! so glad you liked it! My husband always requests cranberry apple crisp, it is a great combo. I agree on the ease of using oil even a topping where you have to melt the butter is more work, and I find if you use the little bit of salt in the topping it adds an illusion of butter without the saturated fat, the expense or the extra step. I love butter, but when I can do without it, I do. thanks for reading and then cooking!

  5. What kind of oil do you like in the topping?