Gluten-Free Wild Blueberry and Apple Crisp with a Healthy Twist
Cobbler. Crisp. Crumble. Whatever you call it, it’s a dessert with many flavors. My delicious Wild Blueberry and Apple Crisp was baked with the fruit mixture on the bottom and has a crumb topping, making it a crisp. If you didn’t know, the difference between a crumble and a crisp is the topping. A crisp typically consists of an oatmeal and/or nut topping that crisps while baking. A crumble topping is more cake-like, consisting mostly of butter, flour, and sugar.
A cobbler is altogether different and is more of a fruit pie, with a thick, usually biscuit-like crust, atop a fruit filling.
Although these fall-inspired desserts may have different names, there is one similarity across the board…they are delicious. What makes them so delicious? It appears to be all the sugar and fat! I have yet to come across a cobbler, crisp, or crumble that isn’t loaded with sugar and butter. I decided to ask an expert why this is the case, so I went straight to the source: my sister. Georgie is a very gifted baker, knitter, painter, and gardener. She’s pretty much awesome with anything that involves intricate measuring and hand-work (a trait not inherent in my DNA). Her answer to my question was simple, succinct, and totally her style: “it’s dessert.” She even went so far as to say that she didn’t think many recipes needed so much fat and sugar, but that is the way it has been done by home cooks for generations.
Needless to say, I set out to challenge the status quo. I wanted to create a crisp that was not only tasty and dessert-like (i.e., husband and daughter-approved), but had what I consider ‘normal’ amounts of fat and sugar. This is how my Wild Blueberry and Apple Crisp was born.
It’s tasty. It’s sweet. It’s dessert-like. It’s even considered healthy. Of course anytime you cook with frozen Wild Blueberries, you’ve upped the healthy ante ten-fold over most fruits. They are antioxidant wonders! Just one cup of Wild Blueberries has more total antioxidant capacity than 20 other fruits and veggies (including cranberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries, and even cultivated blueberries). In fact, Wild Blueberries have twice the antioxidant power of “tame” blueberries!
Apple season is just around the corner so I added naturally sweet apples to the mix to celebrate the arrival of fall; it’s my favorite time of year! I think the apples and Wild Blueberries complement each other really well flavor-wise, too. I also added a secret ingredient to this crisp to up the healthy ante that much more. Instead of using corn starch to thicken the delicious sauce that oozes from every slice of this flavorful crisp, I used chia seeds. I’ve used these potent seeds before to thicken up the Wild Blueberries, so I knew it would work. I stirred a few tablespoons of chia into the Wild Blueberry and apple layer on the bottom. It worked like magic to create a perfect texture for the Wild Blueberry sauce.
This recipe is gluten-free and vegan. I used minimal sugar and steered clear of the butter. I used a fraction of fat that other recipes call for and just two tablespoons of brown sugar for the entire recipe. Once you taste the intense flavor of the Wild Blueberries in this crisp, I promise you will not miss the butter or the sugar!
I think I succeeded in challenging the norm. I hope you’ll try this tasty crisp for yourself and let me know.
Here’s to the onset of fall!