Let’s say it’s Thanksgiving, and you’ve just been diagnosed with gluten and casein intolerance. Suddenly you are faced with a life of no wheat and no dairy. Ever. You and your loving boyfriend are cruising the grocery aisles, planning your holiday feast: ham (read label, check additives…okay), roasting potatoes, baby carrots, green beans. All is well, until your loving boyfriend wanders into the bakery and begins fingering cakes. He pauses at an angel food, ponders a chocolate torte, and finally, after much deliberation, settles on a deep dish honey crunch apple pie. “Let’s get ice cream!” he exclaims.
In your mind he is writhing on the floor in a pool of melted French Vanilla, clutching his groin. In reality, you grit your teeth and follow him through the dairy aisle (pretending not to notice the Chunky Monkey you will NEVER TASTE AGAIN), hit the checkout, drive home, open the ice cream, spit in it, put it and the damned pie away and finally collapse in a fit of despair. Then you make this awesome apple crumble, which is only for you because you have become someone with Special Dietary Needs, and people with Special Dietary Needs can call no share-sies.
Fit of Despair Apple Crumble
amounts are approximate – just go by feel
2 apples, peeled halved and sliced
2 tsp sugar (or sweetener of choice)
Cinnamon (as much as you want)
1 tsp ghee (or so)
2 tsp ghee (approx)
¼ cup brown sugar (or sweetener of choice)
¼ cup almond flour (ground almonds)
¼ cup or so crumbled pecans or other nuts
1. Grease a pan with ghee. Chuck apple slices in pan, sprinkle with sugar/sweetener and cinnamon. Dot with 2 tsp ghee.
2. Mix the other 2 tsp of ghee into brown sugar/sweetener. Mix with almond flour and nuts. Plop atop apples. Bake covered at 350 for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake until crumbly bit has browned and apples are tender, about 30 minutes or so depending on your oven, the weather, whether the moon is in Mars, etc.
3. Serve warm or cold. Top with whipped coconut cream. And let everyone else eat their crummy store-bought pie. Wheat-eating losers.
Whipped Coconut Cream
1 can coconut milk
Vanilla extract or vanilla bean
Okay kids, I’ll give it to you straight – this one’s a labour of love. It’s pissy and touchy and annoying as hell, but sooooooooo worth it.
First, you gotta let a can of coconut milk sit for a day or so, so that the water separates. Sometimes you’ll get a can in which this has happened. Unfortunately, it’ll never be when you want to make whipped coconut cream. I have found that getting a brand to which water has been added makes this easier.
After a day or so, stick it in the freezer for another day. See, this is annoying and requires advance prep.
Remove from freezer and open both ends of the can. Ta da! The water bit has frozen separately from the creamy bit. Use one lid to push the whole thing out in a big block, then hack off the watery bit. If you have a can opener that cuts around the outside of the can rim, and therefore cannot use the lid to push said block, do what I did and chip away at the watery bit with a huge knife. Profuse swearing will make the process seem faster.
Stick the frozen creamy bit in a food processor and whiz. Add a capful or so of vanilla extract, or snip and squeeze the innards of a vanilla bean. Bung in some sugar/sweetener. Taste and adjust according to how sweet and vanilla-y you want it. (Note – extract is fine, but bean innards will give you lovely brown specks throughout PLUS the smug satisfaction that can only come from using an honest-to-god vanilla bean). Stuff whip into a freezer bag or other storage apparatus and let it sit in the fridge for another day or so.
It won’t be as whippy as, say, Cool Whip -but it’ll be BETTER.
What is ghee?
Sigh. Ghee, you dairy freaks, is clarified butter. Basically you take butter (organic, unsalted) and heat it in a pan until the milk solids separate (30-60min), strain it, and you’re left with butterfat that tastes sort of caramelly and nice. You can buy ghee many places, especially at Indian markets, but I prefer to make my own because I a) am a control freak and b) don’t often go out. Use it wherever you’d use butter.