Monday, June 20, 2011

June 16, 2011: Apple peanut butter crumble slice

I have had my eye on this recipe for a very long time. It's from Veganomicon but I saw a version of it on Get Sconed! before I had the book. With baked apples in the middle and peanut butter caramel on top, it's something that appeals greatly to both Michael and I (look, no chocolate!). Even so, I actually planned it for sharing amongst my workmates. We've a new wheat-intolerant person who's joined our team and I reckoned I could adapt this - the small amounts of plain flour are easily replaced with the Orgran equivalent and I knew I'd find some gluten-free biscuits to sub for the graham cracker crumbs that aren't widely available in Australia anyway.

Of course, one-for-one substitutions don't always work when de-glutenising recipes. The crust mixture looked really soggy and didn't spread nearly as far as it was supposed to. I transferred it to a tray half the original size, then set about halving the quantities of everything else and worrying about whether there'd be enough to go around. Nothing else was quite the texture I anticipated either. The apples had a lot of liquid running off them, which I drained through my fingers as I arranged them on the crust. The crumble topping was mushy with margarine, and the highly anticipated peanut butter caramel gave me the biggest trouble of all. It was supposed to melt to an elegant drizzling texture in minutes but mine remained thick and muddy. I whisked in some soy milk but this just rendered it lumpy, forcing me to start again. I never got those silky ribbons I sought, and dolefully spooned it onto the slice in big globs.

The globs were just an unflattering finish to what looked like a disaster slice. The crumble tasted like chalk, as gluten-free flours sometimes can, the apples were leaking liquid everywhere and the crust did not look set. I'd decided that there was no way I could share this with my colleagues, hid it under some foil and shoved it to the back of the fridge. I couldn't really blame Veganomicon for my problems given the alterations I'd made. This was just my own stupid over-confident de-glutenising fault.

Almost a day later I returned to it, hungry and headachey and craving sugar. I dug a spoon in and could barely believe the firm golden crust it unearthed! The apples had set nicely and the peanut butter caramel was damn tasty, if not glamorous. It was too late to share it with my colleagues, but just in time to present a generous slab to an eager Michael over the weekend.

This recipe needs work, but it's work well worth doing.

Apple peanut butter crumble slice
(based on a recipe from Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

125g packet plain gluten-free biscuits/cookies
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons soy milk

apple filling
2 large Fuji apples
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons plain gluten-free flour
pinches of ground cinnamon, ground ginger and star anise

crumble topping
1/4 cup plain gluten-free flour
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinches of ground cinnamon, ground ginger and star anise
1 tablespoon margarine

peanut butter caramel
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray (mine was ~22cm square) with paper.

Begin with the crust. Crush the biscuits in a bowl; I used a pestle for the job. Stir in the melted margarine, vanilla and soy milk. Pour the crust mixture into the baking tray and use the back of a spoon to flatten it out evenly across the bottom.

For the apple filling, peel and remove the cores of the apples. Slice them thinly, transfer them to a bowl, and stir through the apple cider vinegar to prevent them from browning. Next stir through the oil, sugar, flour and spices. Spread the apples over the crust - you could layer them prettily but I just piled them in and shook them around a little to even out.

To make the crumble topping, stir together the flour, sugar and spices in a small bowl. Use a fork to thoroughly mix in the margarine. Use your fingers to crumble it into chunks and sprinkle them over the slice.

Bake the slice for 40-45 minutes, until the apples are tender. I was worried about how my slice looked at this point - the apples had leaked a lot of water and the base didn't look set. This was fine after a night in the fridge.

When the slice has been in the oven for 20-30 minutes, melt together the peanut butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Whisk them until they're well combined, hot and liquidy. When the slice comes out of the oven, drizzle the peanut butter mixture over in stripes or blobs.

Allow the slice to cool (again, the fridge really helped for me!) and cut it into squares to serve.


  1. YUM! This looks/sounds delicious and good on you for trying to de-gluten it! :)

  2. I always find it's an experiment when I substitute gluten-free flour into a recipe that uses wheat-flour. I'm often a bit reluctant to play around with recipes for fear of ending up with a disaster. I'm glad this worked out for you. It looks delicious.

  3. Words cannot express how much i need this in my life. And belly.

  4. Wow.. that looks delicious. I've recently discovered more and more people are intolerant to a lot of things, and it's great to see what you've done here with this recipe!

  5. it sounds wonderful to me and I would have felt it could be made without gluten. I had a similar experience with a slice recently that seemed a failure when fresh and was great after a few days.

    Wondered if you used 100% peanut butter and if the recipe did? I always use 100% peanut butter but notice that others are more spreadable when they have oil and sugar and salt added????

  6. Sounds an awesome treat! Will have to remember to leave it overnight... :)

  7. Thanks everyone!

    Johanna - good point re: the peanut butter. I used one that had added sugar, salt and possibly oil. Some of the oil separated out of the first attempt at the caramel. :-/

  8. Yum! I recently made a gluten & soy free version for one of our bake sales but I decided it didn't look very presentable so Ileft it at home, lucky me!

    I made the base from a gingerbread biscuit dough but I found it got a bit hard so I want to play around with it some more. The toppings are delicious though!