What do you do with all those apples you picked at the orchard? If you’re like me, then you definitely went for the 10 or 20 lb bag and are now saddled with a literal mound of apples on your kitchen counter. The only thing to do? Bake and cook them into everything! A fall staple in my home is classic apple crumble. The texture of the crumble has to be just right; a good ratio of clumps to crumbs without being either too crunchy or too soil-like.
And the apple variety is equally as important. For years I used Mackintosh apples because they’re known as a baking apple but I was never satisfied with the texture of my pies and crumbles. They were always too melty, too soft, held too much water, and were not rich enough with apple flavor. That is until one day, years ago, I switched to a mix of Spy and Spartan, and my life was forever changed. I now use some Cortland if they are available, and try to mix two or three varieties in each recipe. These apple varieties melt the appropriate amount during baking, such that you can still detect the shape of the apple slices without them turning to mush or not melting at all. I find that a firmer variety such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious stays too firm, while a Mac just turns to applesauce. So as you can see, a crumble is all about balance and years of perfecting your recipe.
Free from peanuts, nuts, dairy, egg, soy, fish, shellfish
Alternatives to lard: your preferred vegan butter such as Earth Balance or Becel Vegan. Remember to read the ingredients to ensure that it is allergy safe for you, as many are not free from the allergens listed above.
2 lbs. apples (Spy, Spartan, or Cortland are my favorites)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup lard
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350F
Peel, core, and slice the apples. Toss them in a large mixing bowl with the cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, and salt. Mix until everything is evenly coated. Pour the filling into an 8 inch square baking dish.
Cream the lard and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the flour, rolled oats, and salt, and mix until it has come together into a sand-like consistency with lots of chunks. Use your hands to form some larger crumb clumps, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. Bake for an hour and a half, or until the filling is soft and golden and the topping is nicely browned. Using a glass baking dish will allow you to monitor the doneness of the filling. Serve warm.