Cranberry Apple Crisp (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


I won a 5k race last night. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I won a 5k race for my gender and age group last night. And in the spirit of full disclosure, there were only 80 people participating. But I am still extremely proud of myself. I was the second woman to cross the finish line, and I came 15th overall, beating many of the young men and women who had entered and who I figured would kick my 37 year old butt. For someone who only started running last February, racing at a 7:46 pace for over three miles is quite an accomplishment. If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be a die-hard runner who might have a shot at winning a race, I would have laughed in your face.

Knowing that I was heading out for the race in the evening, I figured I’d want a little treat to come home to afterwards. We went apple-picking last weekend and I had promised my children I would make them apple crisp. And so I did, in all it’s sugary, floury goodness. For myself, I threw together another crisp, one that looks, tastes and smells the part of a true apple crisp but doesn’t have any flour or sugar.

I’ve made a low carb crisp before, when I wanted a rhubarb dessert back in June. It was good, but I wanted to see if I could improve on the topping and make it really live up to it’s name. The topping on my strawberry rhubarb crisp was tasty, but it didn’t crisp up nicely. It simply did not have the texture that I wanted. Since then, I have learned a thing or two about low carb ingredients and how they behave in baking. Having discovered how erythritol will harden when cooked with butter, I decided to use that as my main sweetener. And I eschewed the coconut flour for this topping, because of the way it absorbs moisture.

Since I love tart/sweet desserts, I tossed in some cranberries into the mix to punch up the flavour. This also allowed me not to skimp on the filling, since apples are highish in carbs and cranberries are not. I didn’t add any thickener to the filling, as apples have quite a bit of pectin themselves and generally don’t need it.


The Results Finally! A low carb fruit crisp that deserves the name Crisp! I am truly thrilled with these results. I didn’t think the topping was going to crisp up properly, as it seemed soft when I took it out of the oven. But after it started cooling, it began to harden. And it has stayed crisp, even while sitting on the counter overnight. The taste is just the right balance of tart and sweet that I wanted. Some might like the filling a little sweeter, and in that case, I would adding some erythritol or a little bit of stevia extract to the filling. But I like it just the way it is.

Something to consider when working with erythritol – it actually has as many carbs as sugar (4 per tsp). However, for a lot of people it seems to have little to no effect on blood sugar. I don’t profess to understand how this works, but I have tested many treats with it, and found that, time and again, it doesn’t seem to register in my glucose levels. This is why you will see me list the total carb count, and then the carbs with erythritol subtracted.

Since this crisp was just for me, I made it in a small ceramic oval dish. It is only about 4 servings worth, and the dish is 9×5 (but since it’s an oval, it is smaller than a rectangular 9×5 dish would be). If you don’t own such a dish, you could divvy it up between 4 ramekins. Or you could just double the recipe and make it in a larger dish.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

1 1/2 medium apples, skinned, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp flax seed meal
3 tbsp granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 pieces

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place apples and cranberries in small glass or ceramic baking dish or ramekins. If you are sweetening the filling with anything, you can mix it all up in a bowl first.

In a small bowl, whisk together almond meal, pecans, flax seed meal, erythritol, ginger and cinnamon. Using two sharp knives or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle topping over apples and cranberries. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until topping begins to brown. Let cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 4 servings. Each serving has 10.8 g of carbs and 3.9 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 6.9 g.

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  1. The Enchanted Cook says

    Congrats on the 5k!! What a great feeling and accomplishment! The cranberry apple crisp sounds yummy, too. I love the tart/sweet combo as well :-)


  2. mummy's kitchen says

    Well done on the run, and thanks for the great recipe, taking sugar and flour out of crumble is no mean feat, I'll be trying that soon.

  3. She's Cookin' says

    Congrats on the 5K and on a crisp that lives up the the name! Always loved apple crisp, and this sounds delicious and healthy. I think I may try making one from some peaches that I have since I don't have a canner – your peach cardamon jam looks so gooood :)

  4. Foodiva says

    I don't think I can win a 1K, let alone 5k! But I love to run and like you, only just started recently. And yes, if I had a crisp as lovely as this waiting at home, I'd want to run faster too to get back and eat it!

  5. Jelly Shot Test Kitchen says

    A win is a win! Three cheers and a tiger for you! And congrats on your crispy crisp! The cranberries sound like a great addition. Another way to punch up the flavor without all the floury sugary stuff!!! Cheers, Michelle

  6. Erin @ EKat's Kitchen says

    Carolyn – this looks so tasty! Thanks for bringing desert and joining the Potluck!!! I can't wait to try this; I also love the sweet and tart flavors. Looking forward to reading more from you! And, congrats on the 5K – sounds like you did really really well!

  7. Stella says

    Nice Carolyn! I've made a 'crisp' before that probably should have been called something else (smile). Glad this one worked and with such healthful ingredients-that's always nice! Oh, and it looks delicious…

  8. Sugar Free Low Carb says

    Congratulations on your win! That's quite an accomplishment for just started running in February. I wish I had the motivation to do it. I need to find a hobby that involves some exercise. The crisp looks great. I have some fresh cranberries so maybe I'll make this along with your muffin recipe. It's that time of year to be eating apples, even if they are a bit higher in carbs.

  9. baking.serendipity says

    Congrats on your win! I'm totally impressed with your mile splits :) And with this crisp. I love fresh apples and pairing them with cranberries.

  10. BakingWithoutABox says

    Wow! That's fast! Great job on that 5k! You're like the super speed mom on that new Ordinary Family show. Lol.
    Love the crisp!

  11. Ruby says

    Congratulations! I hoped to run a 5k for my 40th birthday in June but my knee wasn't on board. :-( I think 1st place out of 80 is definitely something to be proud of – well done! Nice looking crisp too!

  12. Cajun Chef Ryan says

    Hey a 3.1 mile race is nothing to sneeze at, congratulations!
    The Crisp looks wonderful!

    Bon appetit!


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