I make these desserts year-round because I love their nostalgic, satisfying flavors, because they really are healthy desserts, and because they’re easier to make than pies with their pastry crusts. Crisps have a crunchy, sweet textured streusel topping. Streusel is the German word for “sprinkling” or “strewing.” Today’s natural foods-style crisp recipes call for a crumbly mixture of whole grain flour and oat flakes, sometimes with nuts. The British called these desserts “fruit crumbles” or “crumble puddings.” The name cobbler most likely comes from the look of the finished dessert: the biscuit-like toping gives the dish the appearance of cobblestones.

Makes 9 servings


2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Golden Delicious with Granny Smith or Pippin apples are two classic combinations.)

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon or Chinese Five Spice Powder

¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt (Learn about Celtic Sea Salt on my website.)

½ cup brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup

Zest of a small lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crisp Topping:

¾ cup rolled oats

¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

2 tablespoons light vegetable oil (such as Spectrum walnut oil)

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup

Cobbler Topping:

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup unbleached whole wheat pastry flour

1½ teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

3 tablespoons light vegetable oil

1/3 cup brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup

¼ cup soymilk

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. To prepare filling, combine fruit with dry ingredients (arrowroot, spice and salt0, then stir in remaining ingredients. Transfer to a small (1½-quart or 2-quart capacity) baking dish or pie plate. Cover dish with a sheet of parchment paper under a layer of foil. Bake until fruit is tender when tested with a toothpick in the middle and liquid thickens, about 40 minutes.

3. To prepare crisp topping, mix dry ingredients. Stir in oil, then sweetener.

4. To prepare cobbler topping, mix dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients (oil, sweetener and soymilk). Mix with dry ingredients and spoon batter over apples.

5. When fruit is tender, distribute topping over fruit. Return to oven to bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.

Nutritional Analysis, per serving, for Crisp:
Calories:195  Protein: 2 gm  Fiber: 3gm  Carbohydrate: 39gm  Fat: 4gm   Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 47mg
Calories from Carbohydrates: 77%    Calories from Fat: 18%    Calories from Protein: 5%

Variations: Substitute pears for all or part of apples. Add ¼ cup raisins.