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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Heavenly Delicious Vegan-Friendly Apple Rhubarb Crisp!

Until last night, I hadn't enjoyed the simple pleasure of eating warm apple crisp in years! I used to love picking apples and rhubarb from our garden with my mom and then we would make an apple-rhubarb crisp (usually on Sunday nights). Of course back then we used butter and sugar to make our crisp.
While reading The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone, I stumbled upon her Peach Crumble recipe. The picture looked decadent (much better than mine!), but it seemed like a lot of work to make Crisp! I used to throw the unhealthy ingredients together with my mom in less than two minutes! I also had no idea what the ingredient Kuzu was, and decided that I could probably make the crisp without! Good thing that I decided to research what Kuzu was because I learned that it is Japanese wild arrowroot and acts as a thickening agent = very important in the crisp-making process! I'm so glad that found that out because I ended up going to Lifestyles Organic Market and buying some! It was a little pricey ($8.99) but a little goes a long way and kuzu can be used to also thicken soups, sauces, puddings and pie fillings! Apparently kuzu is naturally derived from the root of one of Japan's most vigorous wild plants. In the store I found kuzu where other Japanese products were such as Nori and other types of seaweed!
I decided yesterday after finding local rhubarb and apples, that I would finally try Alicia's recipe but instead of using peaches and blueberries, I would use rhubarb and apples! In the summer, I will definitely try the recipe with fresh Okanagan Peaches! MMM!
The aroma that rose while the crisp was baking was AMAZING but my husband and I agreed hands down that this was the best Apple Rhubarb Crisp we had ever had! And it's vegan! Whoohoo!
In her book, Alicia raves about the topping especially so the recipe ends up making about half-filling, half-topping. It was delicious and I would make it again the way I did for a dinner party, but I think that next time I make it for just Dan and I, I will make more filling (delicious fruit), and less topping (it's very filling).

So taken from The Kind Life by Alicia Silverstone (but substituting apples & rhubarb for her peaches & blueberries), here is the recipe for Apple Rhubarb Crisp:

4-5 large apples, peeled and cut into pieces
2 rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
1 3/4 cups of apple juice (I used Santa Cruz Organic Apple Juice - made from apples, not from concentrate! NO added sugar!)
2 tbsp. of kuzu
1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
pinch of fine sea salt

3 cups of rolled oats
2 cups of spelt flour (you can also use brown rice flour, or barley flour)
pinch of fine sea salt
cinnamon (to your preference)
3/4 cup of canola oil (or safflower oil)
3/4 cup of brown rice syrup
1/4 cup of maple syrup (I use pure, organic maple syrup)
1 cup of chopped walnuts (I also added sunflower seeds b/c I didn't have enough walnuts!)

Preheat the oven to 350'F.

Combine the apples and rhubarb in a 9" square baking pan (I just used the only pan I have and it's rectangular...and I have no idea the measurements)!

Reserve 1/4 cup of the apple juice in a small bowl, and heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups in a small saucepan. Place the kuzu in a small bowl, and add the reserved apple juice. Let the kuzu mixture sit for about 10 seconds so that the kuzu can dissolve into the liquid. Stir with a fork, and immediately whisk the kuzu mixture and the lemon juice into the hot apple juice, stirring continually to prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the vanilla extract and salt. Pour over the apples and rhubarb in the pan.

To make the topping, dry-roast the oats, flour, salt and cinnamon in a skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Heat the oil and syrups together in a separate pan, then pour over the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the nuts. Crumble the topping over the fruit and cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit filling bubbles a little. Cool the crisp for about 20 minutes before serving! Enjoy!

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as Dan and I did! It was such a nice treat and filled the air with a really cozy-homemade smell that reminded us of our childhood!

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