Years ago, a friend invited me to be a part of her Thanksgiving Recipe Carnival. And since she is so darn sweet, I simply couldn’t say no. She wants to show people that it doesn’t need to be difficult to feed guests with special diets for Thanksgiving. I joined in with this maple pecan apple crisp recipe. I’ve made this dessert several times since that event, and recently took new photos. So today I’m updating this post!
Recipe Tips & Options: Maple Pecan Apple Crisp
Crisps are amazingly versatile for various diets, particularly since the topping is permitted to be crumbly. Ingredients that bind or help with rising are of little to no concern and there’s no need to fuss with trying to get the perfect flaky crust. You can even adjust this forgiving dessert as you go. Here are some tips to make it easy.
Pick Your Flour
Crisps and crumbles are very forgiving when it comes to flour type. If you don’t have gluten issues, use all-purpose for the most traditional results. You can alternatively use whole wheat pastry flour or white-wheat flour for a heartier finish.
For gluten-free, you can use your favorite gluten-free flour blend. In a pinch, I used 1/2 cup brown rice flour place 1/4 cup tapioca starch for the flour, and the results were delicious. I’ve also used just oat flour! But do not be tempted to just swap in coconut flour, almond flour, or garbanzo bean flour. These are not the types of flours that can easily be swapped in a dessert recipe in a 1:1 ratio.
Adjust to Taste
This maple pecan apple crisp isn’t too sweet, so that it can be enjoyed with tea or paired with a sweet topping. But if you prefer a “sugary” topping, you can increase the brown sugar to 2/3 cup or more. Taste test the topping as you go and adjust it to your liking. If it’s too sweet, cut in up to 1/4 cup more flour (or starch) and increase the coconut oil to a full 3 tablespoons.
Go Ahead – Mix it Up
For flavor variations, you can use other fruits or nuts. I made this Maple-Walnut Pear Crisp Recipe, which is a variation of this recipe.
Choose the Right Apples!
Apple crisp isn’t just about the topping. Choosing the right apple for the filling is just as important. I often read reviews of crisp recipes on recipe sites where people complain that the recipe didn’t work because the filling turned out mushy. This is NOT the fault of the recipe. Choose your fruit wisely people! Not all varieties are the same. Some are firmer than others, and hold their shape when baked, others turn to mush.
For crisp, my favorite apples to use are Golden Delicious. They are just slightly tart (I find that Granny Smith’s work great in baking, but require more sugar), and hold their shape nicely. A few others that I’ve used recently with success were Fuji, Cortland, and Braeburn apples.
Special Diet Notes: Maple Pecan Apple Crisp
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- ¾ cup pecans
- ¾ cup flour (see notes in post above)
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon firmly-packed brown sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 5 cups apples, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (can sub tapioca starch)
- Dairy-free vanilla ice cream or whip, for serving (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Place the pecans in your spice grinder or blender, and pulse 4 or 5 times to coarsely grind with some chunks remaining.
- Put the pecans, flour, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to combine.
- Add 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 2 tablespoons coconut oil and whisk or stir with a fork to create a coarse meal. If the mixture is too dry, add up to 1 tablespoon additional coconut oil (for richer) or maple syrup (for sweeter).
- Put the apples in an 8×8-inch baking dish and drizzle with the lemon juice. Add the starch, remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and remaining ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Stir until no starch is visible.
- Shake the pan to even out. Evenly sprinkle on the crumble.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the topping begins to brown.
- Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve topped with dairy-free ice cream or whip, if desired.