We bought some apples. I was pretty excited. The fulfilled all my apple critera, hard on the outside, bought from the market, small and uncoated. I expected a nice rewarding crunch. Unfortantely, all I got was mush. I don't remember the variety, not your normal Gala/Fuli/Granny Smith or anything like that. But it wasn't pretty.
Anyway, I'm stuck with a few of these apples. Apple sauce is out of the question as neither I nor cjr are really that into the stuff. So I decided to incorporate them into a crumble. I would never suggest putting bad apples into a crumble on their own though, so I cut them with some sturdy/tart granny smiths. But you can use any mix (I recommend at least doing about 50% sturdy/tart apple like granny smith for texture though).
I also have a bag of cranberries still languishing in my fridge. I was surprised to find most of the berries in a fairly usable state. So apple-cranberry crumble it is!
I asked my friend the internet to find me a recipe and this one came up. Like it was fate! I love anything with lemon/citrus peel and anise seeds. I did make a ton of alterations though. The nice part of crumbles is how easy they are to modify since they're a rustic pile of mush and crunch to begin with and so they're not as fussy as other baked goods.
The first thing I did was cut a lot of the sugar out. Sorry, it had to go. Secondly, I upped the cranberries and put in less apples. I I wanted those cranberries gone and I had a hard time parting with my good apples which make such delicious snacks. I left the skin on the apples. There's good fiber in there! I added some ground ginger. Also, I made it vegan. Out when the butter, in came the earth balance. Out when the egg, in came some coconut milk. Also, no course "polenta" (just a fancy word for corn meal anyway) in came the american "fine" cornmeal. Out went the pastry flour (don't have any) in came good old all purpose. Oh, and I cut the topping amount in half.
The crumble certainly came out on the "tart" side, but actually was quite nice. And the topping crisped up nicely and actually tastes like fruit!
If you miss the sugar, add a scoop of ice cream or sweetened whipped cream but I wanted to lighten it up and make the fruit be the star, instead of a heavily sugared buttery topping.
Cranberry Apple Cornmeal Crumble
3/4 pound sweet apples such as gala, cored, and sliced thinly
3/4 pound tart apples such as granny smith, cored, and sliced thinly
1 bag of cranberries, washed and picked through
1/2 cup brown sugar (increase to 3/4 cup if using only tart apples)
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 small orange
juice of 1 medium to large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp aniseed
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup earth balance margarine, cut in cubes, cold
1-3 tablespoons coconut milk (any kind) or favorite milk substitute
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Mix all the filling components together (I suggest doing the lemon first and tossing the apples in that as you go along). Scatter in a 13x9 inch baking dish.
3. Add all the components of the topping in a bowl except the margarine and coconut milk and toss to combine.
4. Add the margarine and use your fingers or a pastry blender to incorporate the cold margarine into the flour mixture.
5. When margarine is incorporate, add coconut milk 1 tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together in a loose ball.
6. Crumble the topping over the filling and bake for 50-60 minutes until bubbly and the top is golden brown.