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Dried fruit (Recipe: sugar-free apple crisp)

Sugar free apple crisp

A comforting thing to know about dried fruit:

If, like me, you live five miles from the nearest market, you'll be glad to know that dried fruit lasts forever in the pantry. Well, okay, not really forever, but for a whole lot longer than fresh fruit. Did you ever wonder why? The organisms that make food spoil need water to survive. Eliminate the moisture, and you cut off their lifeline. Unless you dry fruit yourself (a dehydrator is the safest way), and know that what you have is 100 percent fruit, be sure to read the package labels before you buy. Some dried fruit has added sugar and sulphur (which, believe me, has a very rooty-toot-toot side effect).

Cooking or baking?
Both. The combination of dried fruit and meat defines North African tagines and stews. Without dried fruit, there might be no chutney. And an oatmeal-raisin cookie without raisins? Unthinkable.

Dried fruit will keep, in or out of the refrigerator, for six months if stored in a dry, airtight container. You can freeze dried fruit, too, for a year or more.

Pantry ingredients in this recipe:
Dried fruit (more facts and ingredient photos)
Rolled oats
Ground ginger

Sugar free apple crisp

Sugar-free apple crisp

My friend Bev, who is famous for her deviled eggs, also makes a mean apple crisp. She adapted this one from the original Moosewood Cookbook. As good as it was for dessert, topped with sugar-free vanilla ice cream, it was even better for breakfast the next morning. Substitute any dried fruit for the cranberries. Serves 8.


8-10 (mix of apples), cored and cut into chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins, or dried cherries, blueberries or apricots)
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Splenda® (or honey)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup orange juice


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with PAM or another nonstick spray.

Place the apples in a bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice. Mix thoroughly, then spread half in the casserole dish.

Melt the butter in the microwave (30-60 seconds), then add it to a mixing bowl with the nuts, seeds, cranberries, oats, flour, Splenda, spices and salt. Spread half of the mixture on top of the apples. Cover with the remaining apples, then the remaining oats mixture. Pour the orange juice over the top.

Bake 40-45 minutes, uncovered. Serve warm; can be refrigerated and reheated.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
Couscous with orange and dried fruit
Dried cranberry and pear chutney
Tagine of lamb with apricots
Nectarine and white peach crisp
Currant cardamom scones

Other recipes that use dried fruit:
Chocolate cherry brownies, from 101 Cookbooks
Streuseled sweet potatoes with dried fruit, from Noble Pig
Gluten-free stuffing with dried fruit, from Gluten-Free Bay
Fruitcake bars (friendship bars), from David Lebovitz
Oatmeal cookies with dried apricots and white chocolate, from The Bitten Word

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Great recipe with some surprising ingredients. (ginger, sunflower seeds etc) Would agave nectar also work in this? Would you use the same amount as called for with the splenda?

oh, my... this is too good-looking to not try. i'm also curious about the agave, although experience is telling me to lessen the amount (similar to if maple syrup were used). thoughts?

It looks wonderful and healthy! I don't like it when they use sugar in dried fruit. Drying your own would be the way to go.

beautiful way to start the morning with this right? it looks so yummy too.

Looks and sounds fantastic! I've always found that store bought dried fruit are really sweet...but never thought about making my own!

simply wonderful! i am loving the ingredients you used in this. i think i need to make some of this!

Speaking of sulphur in dried fruits, I've finally come around to brown, dried apricots. I used to really want the pretty orange ones but have realized the brown ones taste great and are a healthier choice.

The nuts and fruit in your crisp sound delicious!

Apple crisp (crumble) is one of my favorite desserts, Lydia - you're making me crave fall all over again. ;)

how much flour?

Carol, Susie: agave would definitely work (same amount as the Splenda).

Lyndsey, I agree. I don't have a dehydrator, but I have a friend who does and it's a great (and not huge) investment.

Blackbook, this was even better for breakfast than it was for dessert (and it was pretty darned tasty for dessert, too).

Emme, same here. I read the ingredients on the package carefully whenever I buy dried fruit. Much of the sweetness comes from the natural sugar that gets concentrated in the drying process, so who needs added sugar?

Meeta, I know this is just your kind of dish!

Lisa, you're absolutely right. It's not about aesthetics, it's about the taste.

Patricia, we're just coming into that season here when dried and fresh fruits (especially apples and pears) are abundant. It's my favorite time of year.

Susie, thanks for the catch; I've "repaired" the recipe. 1/4 cup flour.

never mind - found it!!

This sounds really good. Especially for breakfast like you mentioned.

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