A simple fall dish that highlights the perfect fall fruit, the apple. Cinnamon, apples and dates make this crisp more about the apple than the crisp.
I am not much of a baker, I may have mentioned that before. The familial skill of pastry making alludes me, I over knead and just have the knack for veering off a recipe. At the end of the day, if I bake it, I eat it and I don’t want to be filling my body up with refined flour and sugar pastries. So early on I became a master of ‘the crisp’. If you are unfamiliar with a crisp, it is a cross between a fruit pie and an fruit casserole. Baked fruit topped with an oft-times oatmeal cookie crumble that crisps up to counterbalance the texture of the soft baked fruit below.
As you may have seen on my Facebook feed, I have about 30 pounds of apples to cook, bake or eat after a very successful apple picking session with the kids. Automatically, I turn to my dessert-go-to, apple crisp. The only problem was that I was really short on sugar…like I barely had 1/3 cup of coconut sugar on hand. Even though I like to limit my ‘sweets’ intake, this was going to be one tart apple crisp.
Then I had this kind of amazing idea. Why not sweeten the apple base with a date puree? By naturally sweetening the filling I could use less sweet crisp topping. The result was delicious and may or may not have made a very satisfying substitute for oatmeal breakfast one day 🙂
A few notes on the ingredients:
Derived from the sap of the coconut tree, it’s kind of like maple syrup. It’s similar to brown sugar and, to me, tastes a little less sweet. Coconut sugar is marketed as lower on the Glycemic Index than conventional sugar, because it is mostly comprised of fructose. This means it doesn’t hit the blood stream the same way that glucose does (the primary component of conventional sugar). It’s also less processed and more ecologically friendly than conventional sugar (higher yield per acre and less resources required). However, it is still sugar, not a health food.
Like I said, I am not much of a baker and knowing which apples to use for baking and for eating is just a little beyond my capabilities. That and the fact that currently I am reaching into bags filled with an orchard mix, lovingly curated by children. That said, I try not to use delicious, granny smith, fuji or honeycrisp apples in my crisps. I know these are great eating apples (if you are an apple connoisseur) and won’t yield the best texture to sweetness balance.
These sweet nuggets are rich in a number of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Magnesium helps lower blood pressure and anti-inflammatory qualities help reduce the risk of illnesses like heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimers. One study shows that a diet rich in dates has no adverse effects on blood sugar and has positive results on triglycerides and antioxidant stress levels (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-dates-good-for-you/).