This strawberry apple crisp with a crunchy cinnamon crumb (no oats) is the best way to move from summer to fall desserts. This crisp can be made with regular flour or gluten-free flour for a fruity dessert that will please a crowd.
The Best Apples for Baking
The eternal question! There are two important things to consider when choosing the best apple for a pie or crisp:
- The texture of the apple is the first. A firm crisp apple that will soften but not turn to apple sauce works best. Granny smith, pink lady, honey crisp, braeburn, jonagold and fuji are good choices. Not recommended are red and golden delicious, cortland and rome apples They are not quite as crisp and are better for baked apples or apple sauce.
- Next is flavor. I like the combination of a tart apple, like a granny smith, with a sweet tart apple, like pink lady or honey crisp. If you like a little more tartness in your desserts, go with all granny smith.
- For this recipe, also consider the strawberries you are using. Taste one. Is it sweet and flavorful? Is it more tart? If your strawberries are tart, you can balance them by going with all sweeter apples. The other option is to add 1 tablespoon extra of sugar to balance tart strawberries.
Strawberries & Filling
Fresh strawberries are best for this recipe. Frozen strawberries will break down and soften too quickly. The apples take longer to soften and we don’t want strawberry jam. Since even fresh strawberries will cook faster than apples, keep the strawberry pieces bigger than the apple for even baking. Cut the small ones in half and larger ones into 4 wedges.
Most fruit fillings for pies and crisps use a little lemon juice. I prefer to use orange juice. It still has some acidity, but is sweeter. I hate to add a sour ingredient that creates the need for extra sugar to balance it. And orange is a great flavor pairing with strawberries.
Tapioca starch is used to thicken the filling. If you don’t have tapioca starch, corn starch can be used too.
Cinnamon Crumb Top
This cinnamon crumb topping bakes up crunchy for the perfect complement to the soft creamy fruit. It does not contain oats. Oats would technically make it a crumble and many gluten-free people avoid oats.
The crumb can be sweetened with brown sugar or, my favorite sweetener – coconut sugar. It is similar to brown sugar (and doesn’t taste like coconut) with a caramel-like flavor and is less processed. I highly recommend trying it out.
A healthy dose of cinnamon and a a couple of pinches of ginger give a gentle kick to this crumb topping. It’s a nice balance to the sweetness of the fruit and topping.
- Top this crisp with a scoop of strawberry or vanilla ice cream for a summery dessert.
- Top with lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream.
- Drizzle with caramel for a fall vibe.
Strawberry Apple Crisp
Cinnamon Crumb Topping
- 1 c flour
- ½ c brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp or a couple of pinches of salt
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 3 medium sized apples (granny smith, honey crisp, jonagold or pink lady or a combination)
- 16 oz fresh strawberries
- ⅓ c sugar (white granulated or coconut sugar)
- 3-4 Tbsp tapioca starch*
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
Make the Crumb Topping
- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir well and break up any chunks of brown sugar.
- Melt the butter. Add to the flour mixture and stir until it is evenly moistened.
Make the Fruit Filling
- Place the orange juice into a large mixing bowl.
- Cut the strawberries in half if small or into 4-6 wedges if larger. You should end up with about 3 c cut strawberries. Place in the bowl with the OJ.
- Peel and core the apples. Cut into 1/2" cubes. Place in the bowl with the strawberries and OJ. Toss well to coat.
- Add the the sugar and sprinkle on the tapioca starch. Mix very well to evenly combine.
- Transfer the fruit mixture to an 8×8" baking dish. Top with the crumb topping.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling.
- Serve warm or cool and refrigerate after 24 hours. This will stay fresh for 4-5 days.