I make a lot of fruit desserts, but not because they're healthy— anyone who's spent five minutes with me at Valerie Patisserie will tell you I'm no health food nut. No, I have a more insidious reason for my little fruit fetish—namely, rot. When those apples and bananas are beginning to oxidize (a cooking euphemism for "rot"), I grab flour, bowls, and cookbooks (sometimes) and end up with something tasty and not too artery-clogging. I've even considered writing a cookbook called "The Rotten Fruit Cookbook". Or maybe "The Oxidized Fruit Cookbook."
I've made crumbles, crisps, and cobblers many times, but this effort turned out exceedingly well. In fact, it was gone before I could go back for seconds, so make sure you have plenty of not-too oxidized apples.
Apple Crumble with non-dairy caramel ice cream.
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup (3/4 cups in all)
1/2 cup rolled oats, processed briefly in food processor or blender
5 - 6 cooking apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350ª. Combine flour and margarine until the texture is crumbly. (A food processor works best, but clean fingers will also do.) Add 1/2 cup sugar and oats and combine. Set aside.
Peel and slice apples (about 1/2 inch per slice). Arrange in oven proof serving dish. Sprinkle cinnamon on apples and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Spoon flour mixture on top. Bake 40 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes, then serve, perhaps with caramel non-dairy ice cream. (Or go with a cow-based version if your Northern European ancestry has laid the groundwork.)
Notes on ingredients: I use transfat-free Smart Balance margarine, although it's not strictly vegan as is its HFS (health food store) sister, Earth Balance. Smart Balance Lite and other soft margarines will not work as well. Substitute butter if you prefer. I used Cox apples, which are pretty ugly but taste fine. Granny Smith would also work well. Other fruit could pinch hit for the apples, especially blueberries, though bananas would probably taste like crap. As a last resort, substitute canned fruit (leave out the 1/4 cup sugar in this case). Preparing the apples last prevents them from turning brown, which some people find important.