Normally, I don’t use agave. While I have nothing against it, honestly, I’m a sugar-sweetened gal. But when making a dessert for a dinner where one guest is sugar- and gluten-free, this Agave-Sweetened Fresh Fruit Crumble was the perfect choice.
I had on hand fresh peaches and sweet cherries. They were a great starting point. The peaches were juicy and the cherries would provide a beautiful color contrast. Taste-wise they go together well too.
For inspiration, I checked my older blogposts and my cookbooks. I looked for both crisps and crumbles, because they are basically the same thing. Both have a streusel topping. It used to be that the recipes with streusel made of oats were crisps and crumbles typically used just flour, sugar, and butter for the topping. However, now the two terms, crisp and crumble, are used interchangeably, and crumbles often include oats and/or nuts.
I could have made a version of my own Stone Fruit and Blueberry Crisp or my Gluten-Free Rhubarb and Apple Crisp.. But I wasn’t into figuring out how to substitute agave for sugar. (Agave is a liquid and doesn’t have the same crisping qualities as sugar, so a substitution that was only about sweetness wouldn’t work.) My cookbooks weren’t much help either.
So I went online. Two recipes caught my eye: one for Clean Peach Crumble from Amy’s Healthy Baking and the other, a Cherry Peach Crumble, from Elana of Elana’s Pantry. I was particularly pleased to find the recipe from Elana. I’ve featured her in my charoset roundup this spring and knew that the friend for whom I was making the dessert is a fan of hers.
My recipe ended up as a mash-up of the ones from Amy and Elana.
The basic outline is simple.
How to Make Fresh Fruit Crumble (Whether or Not It is Sugar and Gluten-Free)
- First, cut up the peaches – or other stone fruit – into chunks. While they don’t always separate from their pits easily, it doesn’t matter if the process gets a bit messy. Once the crumble is added on top, no one will ever know how neat (or not) the chunks were.
- Next, pit the cherries. For fresh cherries, a pitter is pretty much essential. This handy gadget also works well for olives, so it’s not the dreaded single-use gadget everyone warns you never to buy. If you don’t have a pitter and don’t want one, use good quality frozen, pitted sweet cherries.
- Add in the sweetener and other filling ingredients. Once the fruit is cut up, add everything else but the topping ingredients and mix them together.
- Time for the topping. Let the fruit, moistened by its juices, sit while you prepare the crumble.
- Prepare to bake the Fresh Fruit Crumble. Fill individual ramekins that you have lightly oiled or buttered with the fruit, then add the topping.
- Bake. The fresh fruit crumble is done when the juices are bubbling a bit on the side and the top is a nice golden brown. Now, wasn’t that simple?
Agave-Sweetened Fresh Fruit Crumble
- 3 cups large peaches cut into chunks (about 4 large peaches)
- 1 pound sweet cherries pitted and halved, about 40 cherries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon divided
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats not quick
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds preferably skinned
- 1/4 cup agave divided (4 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted or margarine + bit more for greasing ramekins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter or oil six 8-ounce ramekins.
Combine the peach chunks, pitted and halved cherries, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, 1 tablespoon of the agave, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium size bowl. Set the mixture aside.
Separately, mix together the oats, almond flour, sliced or slivered almonds, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, the remaining 3 tablespoons of agave, and the melted butter or margarine.
Spoon the fruit mixture evenly in the bottom of the 6 ramekins. Add the crumble on top, spreading it out a bit so it doesn't all clump in the center of the ramekin.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling at the edges and the crumble topping is getting golden brown.
Cool down for a few minutes before serving, or serve room temperature.
As an alternative to the single serving ramekins, you can use a casserole dish approximately 9" square or 8" 10". In that event, the crumble will take a few minutes longer to cook.
If you don't have almond flour, grind almonds into a medium-fine powder.