Gravenstein apple tree.
Gravenstein apples at Andy's Market in Sebastopol, Ca.
Blackberries on the West County trail, Sonoma county.
The Celebrated Gravenstein Apple
When I moved to Sebastopol in 2008 I was quickly introduced to the Gravenstein apple and the many traditions surrounding it. In the early 1900's, apple farming and the processing of apple products were becoming a major industry in Sonoma county. Sebastopol continues to celebrate the importance of this wonderful fruit. In April, the town has an Apple Blossom Festival and in mid August, next weekend in fact, there is a two day Gravenstein Apple Fair. Unfortunately, this delicate and versatile apple is becoming extinct. In 1945 there were 14,000 acres of Gravensteins growing in Sonoma county. Now there are less than 1,000. I developed this recipe to celebrate the Gravenstein apple while we are still lucky enough to have them available. Since they don't travel well and are very perishable, there's a good chance that many of you will not be able to get Gravensteins so feel free to substitute any baking apple in this recipe. For those of you who can get this wonderful fruit (in California, Nova Scotia and Germany), go out and support your Gravenstein apple farmers by purchasing lots of apples and enjoying this mouth-watering crisp.
Blackberries are in Season
Besides seeing Gravenstein apple trees everywhere in Sebastopol, you will also find an abundance of blackberry bushes. There's a trail near our home known as West County trail which goes for miles and is lined with this wonderful and healthy berry. Locals can also find them in small berry farms, like Sebastopol Berry Farm, who have been growing and selling organic berries since 1986. I thought it would be fitting, since both of these local fruits ripen about the same time, to make a healthy dessert using them both. This dish is low in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol and is high in fiber and omega 3 fatty acid.
Vegan Gravenstein Apple and Blackberry Crisp [serves 6]
For the crisp
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons Sucanat or organic brown sugar
2 small packets stevia extract (optional for added sweetness)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons of vegan earth balance margarine or vegetable oil
For the fruit
4 cups peeled and sliced Gravenstein or baking apples
1 cup fresh blackberries
2 teaspoons Fruit Fresh produce protector (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 tablespoon Sucanat or organic cane sugar
1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the oats, Sucanat, stevia, flour, cinnamon and margarine. If you want added sweetness and do not want to use stevia (a zero calorie, herbal sweetener), you may add another tablespoon of sugar or your favorite low calorie sweetener). Mix with your fingers or with a fork until the mixture is course and looks like a crumble. Set aside. In another bowl, mix apples and blackberries and sprinkle with Fruit Fresh and sugar. Stir in walnuts and place fruit mixture in an ungreased 8" x 8" pan. Cover evenly with the crisp mixture and bake for 45 minutes. Crisp should be bubbly and slightly browned. Remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes and serve.
Per serving: 190 calories, 7.7 g fat, 1.6 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 3.1 g protein, 29.4 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g fiber and 0.6 g omega 3 fatty acid.