With a bushel of delicious, crispy, juicy and slightly tart organic Empire apples from upstate New York’s Hemlock Grove Farm in West Danby (Tompkins County) to enjoy and share this fall season, a recipe for Morning Apple Crumble included in the All About Sweeteners brochure of the National Co-op Grocers (NCG) seemed a good way to warm up the kitchen and start off a chilly October morning. This particular brochure is a useful keeper for another reason. It includes a chart noting Sweeteners Equivalent To One Cup Of Sugar for ten types of sweeteners including maple syrup, honey and molasses which this home cook prefers to use in lieu of sugar.
The recipe for Morning Apple Crumble calls for 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of honey. Since 1/2 cup of honey replaces one cup sugar, this morning treat with a little more than 1/4 cup of honey would prove not too sweet: just the right amount of sweetness to balance the slightly tart flavor of the Empire apples and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice also called for in the recipe.
In addition to the organic Empire apples from Hemlock Grove Farm, I used local butter from pasture raised cows, Himalaya pink sea salt freshly ground, local raw honey and an organic lemon squeezed for its juice. And the other ingredients (all organic) were obtained from the wonderful Bulk Food department (with its 1,000 bins of bulk foods) of the Honest Weight Food Co-op in my hometown of Albany, New York. (The Honest Weight Food Co-op is one of ten co-ops in New York State included in the NCG’s Find A Co-op Directory for the United States.)
Why organic? Check out one of the first book reviews posted on this website of Maria Rodale’s Organic Manifesto. And why bulk food? The Bulk Is Green Foundation is helping to spread the message about the many environmental and economic benefits of bulk foods.
Morning Apple Crumble
Five to six tart apples (2.5 pounds)
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger; divided
Pinch of salt
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup shredded coconut
6 tablespoons butter (3 ounces), cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a baking dish.
I used a favorite Bennington Potters (stoneware pottery 70 years made in Vermont) square baker that was slightly smaller than a 9 x 9-inch glass baking dish called for in the NCG brochure’s recipe. (In deciding to forego a glass baking dish, it was helpful to read chef Susan Reid’s informative blog post on glass verses metal verses ceramic in baking on the website of King Arthur Flours.)
Core and cut the apples into bite-sized pieces. To peel or not to peel, that is the question. I did not peel the apples as suggested by the NCG brochure’s recipe. For an apple pie, peeling apples is almost always advised, but not so often for a crisp or a crumble. I also used 1 teaspoon of cinnamon instead of 1/2 teaspoon as suggested by the NCG brochure’s recipe. I like cinnamon!
In a large bowl, gently toss the apples with raisins, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons honey, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and a pinch of salt. Spread the apple mixture evenly in the bottom of the baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, flour, shredded coconut, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and a pinch of salt. Cut in the butter and 1/4 cup of honey with the rest of the ingredients to make a crumbly mixture. Spread mixture evenly over the top of the apples, then place in oven and bake until bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crisp. This can take 45 minutes to a long hour. In my pottery baking dish (smaller and deeper than the recommended glass baking dish), the morning apple crumble baked for 60 minutes. (And another few minutes would probably have been even better!)
My breakfast helping of warm morning apple crumble was topped with a helping of Maple Hill yogurt. I’ll enjoy it later after dinner, for dessert, cold and topped with a scoop of organic vanilla ice-cream.
(Frank W. Barrie, 10/26/18)