It’s apple season, and I couldn’t be happier!
Apples are my favourite fruit – in fact, they might even be my favourite food. The endless diversity of apple varieties means that no single piece of fruit is the same. It’s the spirit of autumn, of abundance and ripeness, captured in beautiful, compact, fruity form.
If you cut an apple in half lengthways, it reveals the seed chambers in an elegant heart shape. If you cut an apple in half crossways, on the other hand, it reveals a beautiful 5-pointed star or pentacle. Both symbols have had a huge history in human religious thought, mythology and folklore, both in the British Isles and elsewhere.
If you want to hear more about the history of the humble apple, check out this excellent edition of the Food Programme on BBC Radio 4.
I was recently gifted with a huge bag of apples from friends who have some apple trees in their garden, and who have a bumper harvest this year!
I’ll be charting my creations from this wonderful bounty of fruit – expect vinegar-making, chutney making and baking!
First off, I’d like to share this recipe for Vegan Apple Crumble Muffins. These are delicious as a quick breakfast on-the-go, for a mid-morning snack with coffee, or to enjoy as a tea time treat.
I’ve used rapeseed oil (canola oil) in this recipe, which is my favourite cooking oil for vegan baking. It has a light, indistinct flavour and is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Plus, it’s a really common crop in the UK, so is easy to buy as a local product.
The key is to chop the apples very small (< 1 cm cubes), otherwise, they will sink to the bottom in the batter (if there’s one thing watching the Great British Bake Off has taught me, it’s to chop fruit small if adding it to cakes!).
(Makes 12 muffins)
For the muffins:
1.5 cups finely chopped, peeled apple
1.5 cups spelt or wholemeal flour
1/3 cup oats (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rapeseed oil
1 cup plant based milk (I used oat milk)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp mixed spice (or cinnamon)
For the Crumble topping:
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds, pecans, and brazil nuts, but walnuts would also be great!).
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp mixed spice
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan). Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin with rapeseed oil. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, mixed spice and salt. In a separate small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the crumble. Stir the milk and oil into the dry ingredients for the muffins, then fold in the chopped apple. Fill the muffin cases to about 2/3 full. Using your fingers, sprinkle a little of the crumble topping on top of each muffin.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.