Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recipe: No Bake Skillet Apple Crumble

With all the pumpkin this and sweet potato that floating around on food blogs, Pinterest, and every major media source these days, one might begin to suspect that we are approaching a major fall holiday. Thanksgiving, you say? Oh right.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday in the history of all time, and yet, here in Kathmandu, I am finding it a bit challenging to marshall the Thanksgiving spirit. This has nothing to do with my thankfulness and everything to do with the fact that I do not have access to many of my favorite Thanksgiving food ingredients, like rutabaga, brussel sprouts, and Libby's canned pumpkin.

What was that about thankfulness? Oh, right. In fact, I am very thankful right now, and I am looking forward to Thanksgiving celebrations with new friends in Kathmandu, even as we miss friends and family and reminisce about past holidays in the States.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's high time to get our kitchen on board with some fall flavors. Enter the No Bake Skillet Apple Crisp. Because, in addition to rutabaga, brussel sprouts, or Libby's canned pumpkin, we also have no oven.

This recipe is extremely easy, requiring just a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand and taking very little time. In fact, this little apple crisp is so simple and healthful that you can make it and eat it any time of day.

Now, it may not be the fanciest of apple crisps to grace your Thanksgiving table. It's not even particularly pretty. But will it do in a no-oven-kitchen, no-Whole-Foods-accessible-city, need-some-autumnal-spice-in-my-belly-stat pinch? Heck, yes.

Before we dig into the recipe, I just want to address one of the key ingredients: banana jam. I don't think we have discussed banana jam yet on this blog, and for that I am deeply sorry. Brian invented it and coined the term, so I give him full credit for this delicious use of bananas.

The recipe, if you can call it that, is this: peel banana, preferably slightly overripe to maximize sweetness; mash well with fork; toss in generous spoonful of cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt; and mix well. The result should look something like cinnamon applesauce. I swear that the combination of the fork mash and the cinnamon brings out an ethereal sweetness to the bananas. You can eat banana jam plain, but it is also wonderful on toast, chapati, pancakes -- the sky is the limit. Trust me on this and make.it.now.

Without further ado, the recipe.

No Bake Skillet Apple Crisp (vegan)

This simple apple crisp may be humble, but it is tasty and comforting. The recipe comes together in a flash, and it would be just as wonderful for breakfast as it is for dessert. Yogurt, ice cream or even banana soft serve would make excellent accompaniments. 

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


1 cup oats
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil, liquified
1 cup banana jam (see above for directions)
1 apple, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped nuts


1. Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet on medium-low. Mix oats, ground flax seed, salt, and coconut oil in the skillet and spread the oat mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan.
2. Spread banana jam on top of the oat mixture, and then sprinkle diced apples and chopped nuts on top of banana jam.
3. Cover skillet with lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes.
4. To serve, place a plate that is larger than the skillet on top of the pan and flip the entire skillet upside down onto the plate. Warning: this trick may result in a lopsided masterpiece (guilty as charged), but once you scoop servings into individual bowls, no one will be the wiser!

Ingredients assembled.

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A close-up of banana jam. It wins no awards in the looks department. But I assure you -- it is delicious.

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Ground flax seed adds some extra toastiness (and health benefits) to the recipe, but it is definitely not necessary.

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Similarly, you can easily skip the nuts (but why? Walnuts are so good!).

The dry ingredients toast in coconut oil.

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Banana jam is layered on top.

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Sprinkle on the apples and nuts.

Cover and cook and...voila.

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