I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, so my gluten-free friends sometimes have to teach me what is, and what isn’t, gluten-free. When neighbors, one of whom is gluten-free, invited me to a pot luck last week, I offered to bring a fruit crisp for dessert. After discovering that not all oats are gluten-free, I also realized that all of my “go-to” crisp recipes use flour in addition to oats.
Not being one to let a few obstacles stop me, I found work-arounds; my neighbor brought me gluten-free oats to use and with a favorite Bon Appetit recipe for inspiration, I made a fruit crisp with a wheat-free, oats and almond topping. It was as delicious as leftovers as it was on the first day, and no one who ate it could tell the difference between this crisp and a traditional one with wheat flour.
This recipe is not one in which the exact measurements matter – a bit more fruit or a tad more topping won’t change the taste appreciably. I used Granny Smith and Ginger Gold apples this time, but Golden Delicious and many types of red-skinned apples – basically any apple that works well in my apple cake – will work well in this crisp.
Gluten-Free Fruit Crisp
Servings – 6-8 Cost – $5-6
- 3 – 4 apples (approximately 2 pounds), mixed varieties
- 2 – 3 Bartlett, Anjou or Comice pears (approximately 1½ pounds)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- Grated rind from 1 lemon
- ½ cup of ground oats and almonds mixed in a 1:1 ratio (or quick oats and almond flour)
- 1 cup oats (old fashioned or instant, but not quick), gluten-free if that’s an issue
- ½ cup chopped or slivered almonds
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 stick butter, chilled
- Rectangular pan approximately 10” x 6” (or make 1½ times this recipe for a 9” x 12” pan)
- Large bowl
- Measuring cups (for liquid and solids)
- Measuring spoons
- Cutting board
- Food processor or other way to grind oats and almonds
- Lemon zester and small plate
- Apple corer (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease the pan well with a dab of the butter. Cut the rest into chunks roughly 1 tablespoon each (markings on the wrapper are a good guide) and keep it chilled.
- Grind the oats and almond mixture. I started with ¼ cup of each, mixed and measured, then ground more until I got to ½ cup. You could use quick oats and almond flour if you don’t have a way to grind the ingredients, but I prefer the oats to be more finely ground than quick oats.
- Zest the lemon and set the peel aside.
- Cut the apples and pears into small-medium chunks. Mix the fruit, maple syrup, lemon zest and 1-2 tablespoons of the ground oats and almonds. Spread the mixture in the pan. In addition to adding a lovely citrus note, the lemon zest keeps the fruit from discoloring.
- Mix the unground oats and almonds, with the light brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and the rest of the ½ cup of ground oats and almonds. Add the chunks of butter and mix with your hands or a fork until the butter is incorporated but not too soft.
- Spread the topping over the fruit. I use my hands, but you could do it with 2 spoons if you don’t like to touching the topping, which feels like rough Play-Doh.
- Bake the crisp for 20-30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is browned and crusty. Let the crisp rest for at least 10 minutes before spooning it into serving bowls.