This Gluten-Free Apple Crisp is proof that healthier desserts don’t have to be boring. Made of melty apples under a crisp gluten-free topping of ground almond, oats and pecans, this rustic dessert is pure comfort. I love how it’s a snap to prepare, it doesn’t have to look perfect and it’s a delicious crowd pleaser.
A Crisp or a crumble – do you know the difference?
In France, I grew up preparing and eating what we call in French “crumbles” – and that was the only name I ever knew. I have always loved the combination of soft fruit filling against the crunch of the topping. This dessert is very popular in France, and I remember making it very often during my University years as it’s simple, affordable and always pleases your company.
When moving to Canada, I started to hear about “crisps” and “crumbles”, and assumed these were basically two different words for the same dessert. But as I did more research I learned that “crumble” designates a dessert made of fruit filling topped with a crumble of flour, sugar and butter. While a “crisp” is topped with a crumble of flour, sugar, butter and oats. A crisp topping is typically less dense and more crisp (hence the name), while a crumble tends to be more “cakey”.
Choose the Right Apples
This rule applies to any baking project that includes apples: choose baking apples. Compared to eating apples, baking apples aren’t as juicy and won’t turn mushy once baked. Good baking varieties I recommend are:
You can opt for one single variety or a mix. For instance, you can combine tart and tangy Granny Smith apples with sweet Honey Crisp apples for a nice balance of textures and flavors.
More cooking notes:
- Make sure you use Gluten-free old-fashioned oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill.
- For the ground almonds, blanched or un-blanched both work
- For slicing the apples, use a very sharp kitchen knife or a mandolin.
- I love pecans in this crisp topping. The taste and texture pairs perfectly with the apples and cinnamon. Walnuts would work perfectly too if you prefer.
- The baking dish I used for these photos is 8”x11” and it was perfectly sized.
I hope you’ll love this Gluten-Free Apple Crisp recipe as much as I do! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.
You may also like:
- Apple Breton Pound Cake
- Apple Cinnamon Galette
- Classic French Apple Cake
- Orange Yogurt Cake
- Salted Butter Breton Sables
2 lbs (900g) baking apples
2 tbsp (30ml) lemon juice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (85ml) honey
For the crisp topping:
1 ½ cup (140g) Gluten Free Old Fashioned or Rolled Oats
½ cup (50g) ground almond
½ cup (55g) pecans, coarsely chopped
¼ cup (50g) brown sugar (light or dark)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed.
(Optional) For serving: crème fraiche.
Step 1 – Peel and core the apples. Cut them in half or quarters, and slice them into very thin slices by hand or by using a mandolin. As you go, place the apple slices in a large bowl with the lemon juice and toss them to coat (so the apples don’t brown). Add the cinnamon and honey, and toss again to coat evenly.
Pre-heat your oven to 350F (180C) with a rack in the middle.
Step 2 – In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, ground almond, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the cubed butter and mix the ingredients together using your hands (rub between your palms) until you get a crumbly texture and pea-size bits of butter are still visible.
Step 3 -Place the apples in a large baking dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over top of the apples. Do not pack it down.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the topping is golden.
Let the crisp rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve in individual bowls, on its own and with a dollop of crème fraiche on top.