Thursday 8 December 2016

A sweet ending without the guilt

Aoife Barry

Published 05/06/2010 | 05:00

What's a great dinner without a delicious dessert to top it all off? There's nothing like ladling spoonfuls of a hot, sweet pudding into bowls after a gorgeous meal -- especially if the dessert in question uses juicy, seasonal fresh fruit and healthy ingredients.

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This weekend I decided to make a crumble, but not any ordinary crumble -- a gluten-free apple and raspberry crumble. Instead of the lashings of butter, sugar and flour that traditional crumble recipes contain, I used a base of almond flour and walnuts. Their natural healthy oils help to cut down on the butter needed, while unrefined sugar is used in small quantities so that the fruit can speak for itself.

In this dish, the natural sweetness of the apples is enhanced by the use of vanilla extract, while the raspberries add a hint of tartness to the dish.

Instead of stewing the apples and raspberries in a little water, as is usually done, I stewed them in enough to ensure that there was a delicious liquid left behind at the end. This was then reduced to a syrup, which completes the dish, adding a sweet edge to the savoury, nutty topping.

This dessert is vegan and gluten-free, so suitable for coeliacs and those intolerant to dairy products.

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Gluten-free Apple and Raspberry Crumble

Five cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks

1 tsp unrefined cane sugar

250g fresh raspberries

1 tsp pure vanilla extract Topping 200g almond flour (ground almonds)

100g chopped walnuts

75g chopped blanched almonds

50g unrefined cane sugar

50g dairy-free butter or margarine

1 Chop your apples and put them in a large pot. Add the sugar. Add enough cold water to barely cover the apples, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the apples are cooked through but not mushy. If they taste a little tart, add another teaspoon of sugar.

2 Turn off the heat and add the raspberries and vanilla extract, stir through, cover the pot and leave while you prepare your topping. The raspberries will start to break down -- that will help in making the syrup later. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.

3 In a large bowl, combine almond flour, walnuts, almonds and sugar. Add your butter and rub through until the mixture begins to come together and resembles breadcrumbs.

4 Using a slotted spoon, place your apple and raspberry mix into a pie dish. Spoon a little of the leftover fruit juices over it, but retain the majority of the liquid. Spoon your crumble topping gently over the mixture.

5 Put the dish into the centre of your oven and cook for about 30 minutes. The topping should be lightly browned and the fruit will be bubbling when the dish is ready.

6 While the crumble is cooking, bring the leftover juice to a simmer until it has reduced by a quarter and is a little thicker. This should take around 15 minutes or so. When cooked, serve the crumble with the syrup spooned over the top.

Irish Independent

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