An easy, vegan blackberry and apple crisp (or crumble) that’s oil-free, butter-free and on the healthy side.
Food terminology can be downright perplexing. For example, what is the difference between a crisp and a crumble? Why is a zucchini called a courgette in the UK? How come a US measuring cup is 240mL while a metric cup is 250mL?
What is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan (or is it ‘fry pan’)? Why is a standard tablespoon measure 15mL, but an Australian tablespoon is 20mL?
And what on earth is with the Boston Cream Pie? It’s clearly a cake.
Okay, some of those questions have (relatively) logical explanations. ‘Courgette’ is the French term for zucchini, which is Italian. I’m not sure why the British decided to use the French word rather than the Italian, but that’s a mystery for another day.
The 250mL metric cup makes sense, since four of them make one litre (or liter). And two US cups are approximately equal to a pint, while four are about equal to a quart.
As for the Boston Cream Pie, the most likely explanation is that in the 19th century, cake tins and pie tins were used interchangeably – and so were the words ‘cake’ and ‘pie’ – so the Boston Cream Pie merely reflects its history.
But the difference between skillets and frying pans, and the randomly larger Australian tablespoon, still befuddle me. (I think a skillet is a bit deeper than a frying pan, but I could be wrong).
Anyway, the question that’s most relevant for this post is, of course, what’s the difference between a crisp and a crumble? From what I can gather, the topping for a crisp contains oats, while a crumble topping does not. But the names are often used interchangeably.
Given that the topping for today’s recipe is predominately made from oats, I’m calling it a crisp. But it’s not your typical crisp – this one’s completely vegan and there’s no butter, oil or refined sugar required.
The topping is simply made from rolled oats, almond meal (or almond flour), nuts, spices, maple syrup, vanilla and a tiny bit of almond milk (or your milk of choice). The topping’s also ridiculously easy, since all you do is mix everything together in a bowl. I can’t really take credit for the topping, however, as it’s just a modified version of my mother’s recipe.
The filling is made using frozen blackberries because they’re (a) available all year round; and (b) cheaper than fresh berries. Two tablespoons of flour makes sure that the filling stays juicy, rather than soupy. Seriously, don’t omit the flour – frozen berries are somehow 250% water.
There’s only one tricky part to the this recipe: getting the cooked crisp from the baking dish into bowls. I have a bad track record when it comes to cutting or serving food. Every slice of bread I cut from a loaf is wonky, every piece of pie is oddly shaped, and – as you can see – I’m pretty terrible at scooping crisps into bowls.
Luckily, however, my poor serving skills didn’t affect the taste!
- 2 medium apples (12oz/340g), chopped
- 3 cups (370g) frozen blackberries
- 2 tablespoons (15g) all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cups (100g) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (20g) almond meal
- ¼ cup (20g) shredded coconut
- ¼ cup (30g) slivered almonds
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Filling: Place the chopped apples and frozen blackberries in an 8-inch (20cm) square baking dish. Sprinkle over the all purpose flour, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract, and gently mix until combined.
- Topping: In large or medium-sized bowl, combine the rolled oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, slivered almonds, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add the maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Spread the topping over the blackberry and apple filling.
- Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges of the dish.
Any kind of milk can be used.