Monday, November 04, 2013

Apple, Pear, And Fresh Cranberry Crisp
Vegan And Gluten Free

Add this Apple, Pear, and Fresh Cranberry Crisp
to your Thanksgiving dessert menu!

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Thanksgiving Isn't Just About Pumpkin Pie!
One of my favorite desserts, whether it be raw or baked, is fruit crisp. It's a dessert that really focuses on the fruit and doesn't need an overpowering amount of sugar. It also doesn't require mastering the art of making flakey pie crusts, which is challenging enough when you're using butter and white flour and not a bit concerned with how healthy it is. But trying to make one that is vegan, gluten free, and kinda healthy - well, it's tough.

But making a crisp is a snap. You just start with delicious, ripe fruit, sprinkle with a simple topping, and voila! And no one would taste the difference between Earth Balance and butter or would they know you added gluten-free oat flour or white whole wheat flour to the rolled oat topping rather than white flour. Or that you cut down the sugar by adding a touch of stevia. 

Today's recipe is the perfect dessert to serve for the holidays. It will stand proudly beside your pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table or will be a great addition to your Christmas dessert selection.

Make Dessert the Main Attraction
If you like to entertain but preparing an entire banquet is more than you can handle, invite your guests over for a selection of healthy desserts. Serve with a selection of nice teas, freshly brewed coffee, or a well-paired dessert wines. Desserts deserve more respect than to be served after a huge meal. Unless, of course, you have an extra "dessert stomach" like my grandson Matisse claims to have.

Complementing Autumn Flavors 
The orange and cinnamon flavors in this recipe season the baked pears and apples perfectly while the tartness of the fresh cranberries contrast beautifully with the sweet oat topping. 

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Apple, Pear, and Fresh Cranberry Crisp
Vegan, Gluten Free (with oat or other GF flour)
[makes 8 servings]
Requires an 8 inch square baking pan

For the topping
1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread plus some for the pan
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup oat flour or white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the filling
3 cups peeled and sliced baking apples
2 cups peeled and sliced pears
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon loosely packed grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan with a small amount of Earth Balance. Set aside.

Prepare the topping by placing the oats, oat flour, sugar, stevia, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Add the Earth Balance and mix with a fork or your fingers until crumbly.

If you have severe sensitivity to gluten, use certified
gluten-free oats and oat flour for the topping.

Prepare the filling by placing all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.

Combine filling ingredients.

To make the crisp, place the filling in the baking pan, making sure that the cranberries are evenly distributed. Sprinkle the topping over the crisp uniformly.

Ready for the oven.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crisp is bubbly and the topping is browned, about 30 minutes. The apples and pears should be fork tender and not mushy. 

Remove from the oven, let sit for 10 minutes, and serve.

Per serving: 170 calories, 7 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, and 57 mg sodium.

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