Friday, October 8, 2010

Molasses Spiced Haralson Apple Crisp with Crispy Oat and Pecan Topping

When I was 10 my Mom made the best apple pie!  Well certainly the best I had ever tasted, and everyone else that tried it told her so as well!  None of this too sweet tastless canned apple stuff with a boring crust.  Her apple pie was wonderfully tart and sweet, the perfect balance of flavors.  Instead of a top pie crust, she used a crunchy oat topping laced with cinnamon, and her pies always tasted caramelly because she didn't use white sugar in them.  Of course love was the secret ingredient, as it always makes things taste the best, but recently I asked her what made her pies so good, and she replied "the Minnesota Haralson apples, they are so good they don't need much sweetening."  So I needed to try making something with them to see if this was the case (since she hasn't made a pie in over 10 years).  So I bought some Haralson apples and went to work on a dessert!  I opted for a crisp with a oat crumble topping however not wanting to fuss with a bottom crust of a pie this time.  I wanted my pie to taste caramelly as well, so I went with a mixture of agave nectar, molasses and maple all baked up into a pile of caramelly apple goodness just the right amount of tart and sweet like Mom's.  I spiced my crisp up a little however using a mixture of cinnamon cardamom and nutmeg, and added some pecans and coconut to my topping.  Although my crisp was different from Mom's pie ingredient wise, the flavor was there!  It is the type of comfort food you crave warm in the fall with a big scoop of cool ice cream to melt down the side as you enjoy it.  My Mom thought so as well...of course I had to have her taste test it!  I gotta agree with her on the Haralson apples, they do make a heavenly pie!

Molasses Spiced Haralson Apple Crisp with Crispy Oat and Pecan Topping
Serves 4

6 large Haralson, cut into small chunks
1 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp agave syrup
2 Tbsp maple sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp maple extract
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

6 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
3 Tbsp maple sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp nutmeg
4 Tbsp cold organic butter
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3/4 cup large flake coconut

9 inch glass pie plate

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack at the center position. Place a baking sheet lined with foil on the rack. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, molasses, agave nectar, 2 Tbsp maple sugar, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, maple extract, vanilla, and 1/4 cup flour. Spoon into prepared pie plate, and cover with foil. Place plate on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until fruit is cooked through and bubbling. Meanwhile, to make the topping, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, butter and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, or 2 knives, cut butter into the flour until it is in pea sized chunks and clumping together. Add oats, coconut, and pecans. With hands, squeeze the mixture together forming larger chunks as well as incorporating the oats coconut and pecans until it is evenly distributed as you go. Place in the fridge until the crisps are ready to top. When the fruit has baked for 35 minutes, and is bubbling, remove from the oven and top with the crisp mixture. Place back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown and toasted (keep a close eye on it as coconut burns very quickly). Remove from oven and let cool until warm...enjoy!


  1. Now I need to track down some of those apples! I loved hearing your memories of apple pie...and it was fun to see your recreation of your mom's classic. This looks delicious, and I bet the coconut added such a wonderful flavor and texture. Beautiful crisp, love!

  2. I love anything with molasses - especially when it's a fall-ish treat. I'm not familiar with the apples you referred to. Any suggestions for a substitute? I live in Michigan where we can get honeycrisp, which are a fave of mine.

  3. Just a quick note to let you know I'm linking to this post as one of my favorites of the week in Fit Foodista's Week in Review. Thanks :)

  4. I would say honeycrisps are similar, they are slightly sweeter but they would work.