Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone jumped from peaches and tomatoes right over to the pumpkin patch? I love pumpkin lattes, breads, pies and desserts as much as the next person, but what happened to apples? I’m guessing pumpkins are all over the internet because those orange baked goods are prettier to photograph, and who doesn’t love the smell of pumpkin pie spices? Oh yeah, and it’s a lot easier to open a can of pumpkin than it is to peel, core and slice all of those apples.
Apples are my go-to fruit all fall and winter long, and not just because we went apple picking and have bags of them. I love the subtle differences in flavor and texture between the different varieties, as well as their long shelf life, their portable, pack-ability (no cutting, peeling or containers needed), and of course, their health benefits.
Although they’re often overshadowed by more colorful cancer fighting berries, and yes, beta-carotene rich pumpkins, apples are pretty darn nutritious in their own right, and there actually is some truth to the “Apple a Day…” saying. Apples are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which can reduce cholesterol, help stabilize blood sugar, and even promote weight loss. Soluble fiber is the kind that attracts water and forms a gel, and delays the emptying of your stomach, so you feel fuller longer, and according to the research, if you eat a few apples each day, you’ll get those benefits.
Of course apples are great on their own as a snack, but they can also make a quick dessert. If I have lots of extra time, I love to make apple pie, but when time is short (always), baked apple crisp tastes just as good, and it’s healthier for you sans crust. This recipe can be pulled together in about 6 minutes flat – much easier than pie. No long bake time, or crust to make (or thaw 🙂 ). No need to peel or slice those apples into uniform slices. And the oats, nuts and seeds in the crumb crust are delicious, and good for you too!
- 3 large baking apples, quartered and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
- 1 tsp corn starch
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tbs butter
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitos)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place apple pieces in a pie plate or shallow baking dish, and toss with olive oil to coat.
- Mix pumpkin pie spice and cornstarch together in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice-cornstarch mixture over apples, and toss lightly.
- Microwave apples for approximately 3 minutes on high, or until apples are slightly softened. Sprinkle cranberries over cooked apples.
- While apples are cooking, place oats, walnuts, brown sugar, and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 15 times until mixture is well combined and resembles damp sand.
- Mix in pumpkin seeds by hand.
- Sprinkle oat, nut, seed mixture over apples and cranberries.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until apples are bubbly and tender, and topping is golden.
- Serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or vanilla yogurt if desired.
Do you buy apples every week in the fall and winter? Which variety is your favorite?