Spiced apple crumble



Hello beautiful people,

Yesterday was such an amazing day. It was the first time we were bringing our son Adriano apple picking. Well not only was the sun shining and the weather nice and warm, but the farm was holding its annual Fall Festival with live music, tractor rides and my favourite, a corn roast. But the best part of the day was watching Adriano climb the trees with his dad and wanting to bite into every apple he would get his hands on. This child definitely inherited his love of food from both his dad and I.


After climbing trees all morning and running around the farm chasing Adriano (my husband and I definitely got a good workout in, unintentionally! loll), we sat down to eat some of the juiciest and sweetest corn I’ve had all summer. It was pure delight… I could also smell the freshly baked apple desserts but none were vegan so I promised my family that when we got home, I’d make us my famous apple crumble. And so as soon as we got home, Adriano crashed in his crib for a well deserved nap and I headed to the kitchen to start peeling the apples for my crumble.

Luckily, the apples that are ready for picking at this time of the season are McIntosh, Cortland and Lobo. As far as baking goes, Cortland and Lobo apples are your best pick as they are firm and will keep their shape while baking. McIntosh apples are also good but they do get a little “mushier” when baked so I prefer to use them for apple sauce. Some recipes call for Granny Smith apple, which is also a nice firm apple but it is a little too sour for my taste for a crumble. That being said, if you enjoy the more sour taste of the Granny Smith apple, you can definitely add some to this recipe. Since this recipe calls for about 8 cups of diced apples, or 5 large apples, you can easily swap 2 of those apples for Granny Smith.

Now that the type of apples for baking is taken care of, let’s talk about spices. If you read my previous post, you already know that I love my spices. To me, it’s what makes the dish. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until I started traveling on my own and exploring beyond the usual touristic path, that I developed my love for spices. Until my late teens, I didn’t know much about spices other then the ones my mom used, which were mainly from the French cuisine repertoire. But then I travelled to Jamaica, Bermuda, Nassau, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize and discovered the incredible taste of Caribbean and South American cuisine which is so rich in flavour and spices like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, all-spice, cayenne pepper and cumin. I was hooked. Later on, I travelled extensively to Europe and the Middle-East and discovered spices like paprika in Hungary, saffron in Spain, caraway seeds in Poland, Sumac in Jordan and cardamom in Egypt.

From then on, my cooking took on an international flair and my dishes were now spiced with flavours from all around the world. This apple crumble is no exception. While it does include the usual cinnamon, it also includes nutmeg and cardamom.

Nutmeg has a sweet but bitter taste and according to the people at Organic Facts, Nutmeg has a long list of associated health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function, and prevent leukemia, and improve blood circulation. Not bad for a spice!

Cardamom has more of a pungent taste and according to the folks at The Epicentre, the ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner. It also has many health benefits including treating mouth ulcers, helping with digestive problems and even depression.

So your apple crumble will not only taste amazing, have an international flair, but it will also bring you added health benefits. Not bad for a dessert, no?

I hope you guys enjoy this dessert and let me know in the comments what you like to bake after a day of apple picking.


Spiced apple crumble
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 portions
This apple crumble uses Cortland apple, which hold their shape well while baking. Lobo are another great option as is Granny Smith, if you enjoy a more sour taste.
  • 8 Cups diced apples, (about 5 apples)
  • 1/4 Cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (cardamom has a very bold flavour so use sparingly)
  • 1 1/4 Cup white spelt flour (or gluten-free flour for a GF dessert – Bob’s Red Mill Baking GF flour works great)
  • 1 1/2 Cup rolled oats (I don’t recommend using instant oatmeal but you can use GF rolled oats)
  • 1/2 Cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 Tbs cold vegan butter, diced small (I use salted vegan butter by Earth Balance)
  • Coconut oil for greasing
  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with coconut oil.
  3. Core and peel the apples.
  4. Place the chopped apples in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, sugar and spices. Mix with a wooden spoon until the apples are coated and pour into the baking dish and spread evenly.
  5. Set aside.
  6. In another bowl, mix the flour, rolled oats, sugar and cinnamon. Combine with your wooden spoon.
  7. Add the butter to the mixing bowl and with your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it forms little clumps.
  8. Top apples with the rolled oats mixture and bake in the oven until the crumble is starting to brown and the apples are bubbling through the sides.
  9. Enjoy


Glorious Fall Breakfast

Good morning beautiful people,

I’m so excited about today. My mother-in-law is coming over for breakfast and then we are headed out to the flea market. Finnegan’s flea market is an outdoor market in the town of Hudson, just a 15 minute drive away from our house. The market is only open on Saturdays from May till October and has been around  since 1972. Finnegan’s market is a huge market with 100 or so vendors offering all kinds of goodies like antiques and organic produce. My aim for the day is to find all kinds of cool props for my food photography, buy some beautiful organic produce to inspire my recipes for the week and eat all the delicious vegan baked goods I can find.

And since the predicted weather for the day is cold and overcast, and because I don’t want us to make the rookie mistake of going to the market on an empty stomach, I’ve prepared my glorious fall breakfast. This breakfast is made of cream of barley that’s cooked in chai tea and served with caramelized butternut squash. It’s warm, nutritious, sweet and luscious. This breakfast is going to set the tone for the rest of the day.

I chose cream of barley as opposed to regular oatmeal as it has a much creamier taste and is not as chewy as oatmeal. Although I do enjoy1 oatmeal quite often, there’s something that makes cream of barley feel more like a weekend treat. And to cook it in Chai tea simply infuses all those delicious flavours into your breakfast. The longer you steep the tea, the bolder the flavours. I personally steep my tea for about 2 minutes when used for cooking. When it’s for drinking, I like it a bit stronger so I’ll steep it for 5 minutes. You can use any variant of Chai tea you like, whether you want the energy boost of Chai black tea, the detox benefits of Chai green tea or if you’re like me, and you just want a sweet Chai herbal tea. My personal selection is a Chai rooibos tea from Yogi Tea.

Rooibos tea is from South Africa and according to Organic Facts, “the health benefits of rooibos red tea include its use as a cure for nagging headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension, allergies, and premature aging. The tea is absolutely free from caffeine content and is also low in tannins. It is also rich in many mineral contents such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium and alpha hydroxy acid. It also contains antioxidants”. Now that’s something I want to drink more of!

I hope you guys enjoy this breakfast and let me know what tea you chose!


Glorious Fall Breakfast
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
I buy cream of barley at my health food store but if you’re having trouble finding it, you can easily replace it with oatmeal or cream of wheat. Simply cook the cereal according to the packaging as it has a different water to cereal ration then cream of barley.
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 Chai tea bag
  • 1/2 cup cream of barley
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into little cubes
  • 1/2 Tbs coconut butter
  • 1 Tbs coconut sugar
  1. In a pot, bring the water to a boil on high heat.
  2. Take the pot off the heat and add the tea bag. Steep for 2-5 minutes, depending on taste.
  3. While the tea is steeping, prepare the butternut squash and steam cook for 10 minutes or until tender.
  4. Remove the tea bag and bring the pot back onto the heating element.
  5. Bring the water/tea back to a boil and add the cream of barley. Stir and reduce to low heat.
  6. Let the cream of barley cook on low heat for 5 minutes then remove the pot from the heat. Stir.
  7. While your cream of barley is slowly cooking off heat, add the coconut butter and coconut sugar to a pan set on medium high heat.
  8. When the coconut butter is melted and mixed with the sugar, add the cooked butternut squash.
  9. With a spatula, coat the squash with the buttery sugar mixture.
  10. The squash will start to caramelize.
  11. Allow all the squash pieces to caramelize for another 2-3 minutes.
  12. Pour the cream of barley into a bowl and top with sweet butternut squash.