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 a gluten-free neighbor 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. Still, I was determined to make a gluten-free fruit crisp. So I came up with this gluten-free apple pear crisp. It’s so good, even my beloved gluten-glutton loves it.
My neighbor introduced me to gluten-free oats and gave me some to try. (Of course, there is no difference in taste from oats that do not have with a gluten-free certification.) With a favorite Bon Appetit recipe for inspiration, I set to work. The wheat-free, oats and almond topping convinced me it is simple to make a delicious crisp gluten-free. The leftovers were scrumptious too, 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 Apple Pear 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.