Crumbly Apple Crisp with a Maple Finish

As I looked around for ideas to use up some organic apples that I found in the discount bin (still nice and firm, but begging to be turned into a baked goodie!), I came across oodles of recipes for one of our favorite desserts, Apple Crisp, or is it an Apple Crumble? Really, what is the difference? My mother-in-law calls it a crumble, but I have always called it a crisp, and they both seem pretty much the same. So what is a baffled baker to do? I googled.

From Emme on the CHOW boards “apple crumble in the UK is apples baked with a topping of flour, butter and sugar. In N. America, it’s basically the same thing, but the topping is made primarily with rolled oats rather than flour. It’s almost always made with cinnamon and sometimes nuts are added to it as well.”

Another site simply noted that the topping of a Crisp was like a streusel, while the topping of a Crumble is more like a crumbly pastry.

Based on these two definitions, I decided that the recipe I ended up creating (none of the ones I found on the net sounded just right!) was indeed a Crumbly Apple Crisp rather than a Crispy Apple Crumble.


My entire family loves any dessert with apples, so for my grandma’s birthday, I made this delicious crisp. Everyone loved it. It is high on the streusel to apple ratio (can you ever have enough streusel topping?), and the light drizzling of maple seals the deal, quite literally. Not only does it add a heavenly flavor, it also binds the streusel to form a crust that crumbles beautifully when you dig your fork into it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any dished up photos since we devoured it too quickly! But, I have to give you a close-up of the yummy topping …


Crumbly M-Apple Crisp

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free. I haven’t tested it, but you could probably swap your favorite gluten-free flour blend and certified gluten-free oats to make a tasty gluten-free crisp.

  • 4 medium to large apples (I don’t peel them)
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine (I used the new Earth Balance Soy-Free, perfect!)
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 Cup Quick-Cooking Rolled Oats (not instant; can reduce and use part nuts, if desired)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup (mine was spiked with vanilla! – stir ¼ t vanilla into the maple if desired)

 Preheat your oven to 350º.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Add the margarine and combine with a fork until the mixture looks like big, coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Core the apples, and thinly slice them (about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness). Toss them with the remaining ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, and place them in an 8 x8 inch baking dish. Top the apples with the oat mixture. Drizzle the maple syrup over everything. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the apples are soft and tender and the crumble is as crispy as you like it.

Baking Note: If you are like me, then you probably made sure the topping was very evenly distributed, and covered all of those apples. The maple drizzled over top almost creates a seal then. So even when you remove the dish from the oven, the apples will keep cooking a bit under the crumbly crust. For that reason, I wouldn’t cook this for too long. Depending on your apples, you may even be able to get away with 25 or 30 minutes of baking time, but 35 minutes worked well for us.

Yields 6 to 8 crumbly crispy servings




5 Good Things Since My Last Post

  1. Enjoyed a leisurely lunch with my dad at Whole Foods. Their sushi rolls are actually a decent value overall, and of course, the company was excellent.
  2. I can finally do chin-ups! – Successfully finished week 10 of a fitness program we are trialing … and still going strong. What program? More on that later.
  3. Had delicious pancakes two mornings in a row. Yum! Just a few tweeks to test in one of the recipes before I can share. 
  4. My husband mopped all the floors and vacuumed AND cleaned the carpets in the whole house voluntarily!
  5. We literally made it just in time for the fireworks show (stopped the car and the first one went up) and had a great view.

21 thoughts on “Crumbly Apple Crisp with a Maple Finish

  1. That topping looks really good – so golden and crisp.

  2. That crumble looks to-die for! So much better than the usual floury buttery topping. Mmm nutty goodness!

  3. I can’t wait till fall when my parents apples are ripe so I can make this for my mom it’s her all time favorite!

  4. I just tried the WF sushi today, it was so good! I was pleasently surprised 😀

  5. That apple crumble looks so delicious! I love the closeup picture of the topping. I bookmarked this recipe, thanks! 😀

    And congrats on being able to do chinups! That’s awesome 🙂

  6. Wow I’m curious for the fitness program! I want to do chin-ups too! What a clever idea to add maple syrup to the topping, it sounds delish!

  7. What a nice treat for your grandmother! It looks delicious, and the apples and maple syrup make it so very New England 🙂

  8. This looks delicious.. and love your five things… especially the mopping and vacuuming. I often joke about needing a wife to remind me to pay my bills, and organize my paperwork and admin stuff for my clients… but maybe I need a husband after all!

  9. That crisp looks Phenomenal!!

  10. ok, i’m drooling… way to go on the chin ups! (what’s the diff between those and pullups?)

  11. Crisp or crumble–it looks wonderful! Congrats on the chin ups too! 😉

  12. I have always been confused about the difference between crisp, crumble, and cobbler. I’ve decided to give up on ever really being able to differentiate between them. No matter what you call this, it looks delicious, and you’re right – there’s no such thing as too much streusel. Yay for all of your achievements since the last post!

  13. this looks so good. i hope that other fruits can be subbed in here until apples come in season again. i’m so glad you’re having a great program, and all your food adventures sound great!

  14. Your crispy, crumble looks wonderful! There’s almost nothing I love better than apple pie type things and I’m anxiously awaiting the start of my CSA fruit share (next week, I hope) because apples are always a major part of it.

    You’ve got me thinking about it!


  15. I’d call it a crisp!

    Hooray for the hubby helping out – nice!

  16. Yum, that crumbly topping looks so delicious! Good job with the chin-ups too! I can hardly even do push-ups! lol..

  17. One beautiful crisp. I love apple crisp.

  18. Stephanie

    Hey thanks for the recipe! I added the juice of a small lemon to the apples and cinnamon. Delicious.

  19. Liz

    I’m am so excited to try this recipe! I love that you use dairy and soy free earth balance as my daughter can not tolerate either. Your recipes have been just what we need!
    Thank you!!! Your cookbook is on my holiday gift list.
    I am planning to bring the crisp to my parents house – will it reheat well or should I prepare it and bake it there?
    Thank you again!!

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