One of the things I realized when I was back in Alberta a couple of weeks ago is that change takes time to accept and meld into our lives. It’s okay to dig our heels in the mud once in awhile and wish things were easier, cry a bunch, and hibernate from the world. Then, once you’re done with all that, it’s up to you to strap on your boots and make the most of the situation. As my Dad said, you won’t know you hate it in Montreal until you give it a fair chance.
Dads always give the best advice.
I came back to Montreal, made a list of all the cool things I’d heard that this part of our country had to offer, and made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t decide whether or not I truly wanted to go home until I’d tried them all.
I call it Operation Fall in love with Quebec.
First up – apple picking.
I found this fabulous list of apple picking orchards near Montreal and decided on Le Verger Labonté for our first apple picking experience. I’m glad I trusted my gut on this one because the place was absolutely amazing! The owner, Nathalie, has a passionate soul that can literally be seen in the brightness of her eyes! Her vibrant zest for life overflows into her business and the energy that surrounds her slice of paradise in Ile Perrot.
We arrived at 9am, just as the orchard was opening, paid $16 for our bucket, and began our first apple picking experience.
I must say that walking through an apple field with a bucket and an eye out for the perfect, succulent apple is quite soothing. I didn’t want the activity to end.
There were about 6 rows of Macintosh and Spartan apple trees to pick from, all which had enough fruit at arms reach that we didn’t have to use a ladder to find the perfect apple. Good thing too, because I have a history of bad experiences around ladders. It was safe for everyone involved that I didn’t climb up one.
Visitors began pouring into the orchard right around the time we were finished picking our last apple. We went into the store to return our bucket, Kevin got to try one of Le Verger Labonté’s famous apple muffins, and we bought a large bag of dehydrated apple chips. Kevin loves apple chips something fierce but hates every other type of dried fruit. Go figure.
During our drive home, I began trying to figure out what I was going to do with the incredibly large bag of apples we now had in our possession.
Apple crisp seems like a good start, don’t you think?
Christine, our babysitter, used to love making apple crisp. She was so good at it. Every time she came to take care of my sister and I, she’d make us a batch and get us to help her with coating the apples or mixing the topping with our fingers. It’s one of my most favorite childhood kitchen memories.
When our parents decided to move our family into the city, Christine gifted us with the recipe for her apple crisp. It’s one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received… my first recipe card. Would you believe it, after 8 moves, 4 cities/towns and 14 years, I still have that original recipe card! It’s a bit worse for wear, but it’s legible and loved.
It was about time that I converted this tried and true recipe into a gluten-free, sugar reduced one.
Topping inspired by Karina
- 6 cups diced apples, do not remove the skin
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoon white rice flour
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (the secret ingredient)
- juice from ½ lemon
- Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 9x13 dish or large casserole dish with a dab of coconut oil and set aside.
- Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat apples in the mixture. Make sure everything is well mixed before dropping into the prepared casserole dish.
- Place topping ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
- Sprinkle topping over apples.
- Place in preheated oven for a total of 50 minutes, covering with a loose fitting glass lid or sheet of aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent the top from burning.
- Once complete, allow to sit with lid off for 20 minutes or so.
- Serve with ice cream, coconut cream, or straight up.
Begin by making sure that 6 cups of chopped apples will fit in your casserole dish. If not, you’ll have to adjust the recipe accordingly. Apple crisp is very forgiving, so don’t worry too much about it.
Add lemon to the diced apples as soon as you can so they don’t brown. I suppose this doesn’t matter too much if you’re not planning to take pictures of your food, but hey.
Add the remaining filling ingredients.
Stir to coat all apple pieces with the flour and sugar mixture.
Press apples into a lightly greased casserole dish.
Now, to get your topping ready!
I managed to find quinoa flakes at Tau Marche. Thanks for the suggestion!
Mix all of the topping ingredients in a small bowl.
Then pour over top of the apples. You’ll have a lot of crispy coating to go around, so no worries on that!
Bake as instructed, and prepare yourself for a delicious (and healthy) Fall dessert!
If that’s not enough apple for you…
You can also find me over at the DeLallo Foods blog today sharing some insight into gluten-free grains and, you guessed it, another apple recipe! An Apple Raisin Pasta Bake that can be enjoyed for breakfast or topped with ice cream as a light dessert to be exact. Yes, dessert pasta.
Check this out if you’re in need of a dairy-free version of this pasta bake recipe.
More apple recipes to come.
Gosh, I hope you like apples.