Fall is coming. I can feel it in the air. That smoky "fall" smell hangs in the air as the sun goes down, and it's getting darker earlier every day. I love summer, don't get me wrong, but fall is my most favorite time of year. This end of summer feeling has got me lighting candles and listening to Sufjan Stevens while daydreaming of crunchy leaves, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches. Fall means hot apple cider, butternut squash soup, bundling up in scarves, and wearing tall boots. For me it's a time of reflection and slowing down as I head into the winter season. I also inevitably spend more time in the kitchen. Fall feelings make me long for roasted beets and fennel, mashed turnips, and biting into a crisp, juicy apple. In Washington, fall time is apple time.
I got some delicious Honeycrisp apples from the farmer's market. Farmer's markets are the best place to find fresh, seasonal produce. Also, not only are you supporting local sustainable agriculture, you are really getting more bang for your nutritional buck by purchasing from the farmer's market. Fruits and veggies that are mass produced are picked before they are fully ripe and are ripened in a warehouse. However, farmer's market produce stays in the ground longer and travels a much shorter distance to your plate, so the food you're eating is packed with more nutrients and antioxidants. Also, as an added perk the farmers who sell at farmer's markets really know and care about their crops, and they are great at helping me pick out the best product. They even give helpful hints on how to prepare new foods. The farmers I bought from helped me pick some truly delicious apples.
For me, a perfect apple needs to be very crisp and juicy. Honeycrisp apples are the best combo of these two factors that I've found. They are very crunchy and biting into one often causes juice to dribble down my chin. They are simply delicious.
After enjoying some of my apples by slicing them up and dipping them in fresh ground almond butter, I felt inspired to try and bake something. When I was a kid we had apple trees in my backyard and every year when they ripened we would pick them and my mom would make apple pie. My mom didn't bake super often, so I remember how I excited we would get when it was pie time. She had this special pie dish with painted apples on it, and we only used it for these end of summer pies. As I grew older I decided I liked apple crisp better than apple pie, so that is what I made last night.
No Starch Pecan Apple Crisp with Maple Whipped Cream
Mix together 1 cup finely chopped pecans, 7 Truvia packets, 2/3 cup peanut flour (or other nut flour), 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning, and 1.5 tsp maple extract.
Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in 5 TB butter. Mix until it sticks together to form small clumps. Set aside.
Combine the following in a medium saucepan:
-5 cups diced apples (about 3 medium apples)
-Juice of 1 small lemon
-1/3 cup Stevia in the Raw (this product is awesome for baking, since it measures cup for cup with real sugar)
-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-Dash of nutmeg
Cook on medium heat until the apples soften (about 5 minutes).
Pour the warm apple mixture in a baking dish, and use a spoon or your fingers to drop small clumps of the crumple topping evenly over the apples. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve warm.
I was really craving maple when I made the apple crisp, so I topped mine with Maple Whipped Cream:
Whip 1/4 cup heavy cream with 1 packet Truvia and 1/4 tsp maple extract. Spoon on as much as you want.