Healthy Apple and/or Pear Crumble Recipe
By Erica Zelfand

Let’s skip the personal essay.

I loathe the long essays people write at the introductions of recipes, so I’ll spare you the blatherings about how much my family loves this recipe and how it smells so good baking in the oven, yadda yadda.

But I will say this: this recipe contains NO gluten or refined sugar, and can be made dairy free as well. It’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Oh yes, and dessert.

Note: I almost never measure anything, so the measurements herein are merely suggestions. Adapt the ratios as your taste buds see fit.

Note: I have no clue what the difference is between a crumble, a crisp, and a cobbler.


Healthy Apple Crumble

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats – I like Trader Joe’s or Bob’s Red Mill brands
  • 1 cup chopped nuts and seeds – I like walnuts, pecans, and hulled sunflower seeds – unsalted is ideal, but salted is ok too
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour or all purpose gluten free baking flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter – if using salted nuts, use unsalted butter. If using unsalted nuts, use salted butter. I like Kerrygold brand. For dairy free version, use 5 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger root powder

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 5 large apples, preferably organic. For a tart flavor, use green apples.
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger root powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove powder
  • Splash of filtered water
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Wash the apples and peel them. You can also leave the peels on, if they’re organic. Core and chop them into bite-sized pieces. I find it makes a nicer texture to have a mix of sizes, with some finely-chopped pieces and some bigger chunks.
  3. Combine chopped apples with the maple syrup or honey, the juice squeezed from the lemon (watch out for seeds!), pinch of salt, and the powdered spices.
  4. Place apple mixture into a baking pan, cast iron pan, or dutch oven. Add a splash of water.
  5. Combine oats, nuts, seeds, coconut/GF flour, and powdered spices in a bowl.
  6. Melt the butter by placing it in a microwave-safe dish and microwaving for 30 seconds. Add the melted butter to the oats/seeds, and mix so that all of the dry ingredients are coated with butter.
  7. Optional: For a chunkier topping, place the oats/nuts/butter mixture in the refrigerator for 5 minutes, and then stir again with a fork.
  8. Top the apple mixture with the oats/nuts/butter mixture
  9. Cover the baking pan or dutch oven with a lid or aluminum foil.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes covered, followed by 20 minutes uncovered. For a crispier topping, move to the top rack of the oven and broil, uncovered, for 1 minute.

Healthy Pear Crumble

For a seriously tasty pear crumble, swap out 6 very ripe pears for the 5 apples, and cardamom for cinnamon in the above recipe.

A combination of apples and pears can also be used for a tasty apple/pear crumble.

Note: the ingredients for the topping can be be baked to make a nice granola. See my granola recipe here.

Note: if you cut up more fruit than you ended up needing, you can easily use it to make compote.