Late Summer Golden Chai Apple Crumble Recipe
In an Ayurvedic kitchen, we typically look at the qualities and effects of a recipe based on its ingredients, creating meals designed to keep our bodies in optimal balance.
In the case of this apple crumble—a simple, whole-food, plant-based version of a classic dessert—its sweet-spicy ingredients are ideal for balancing both pitta and vata dosha.
This seasonal shift can present some challenges for the body, with an increase of pitta and vata qualities making us more susceptible to imbalance.
As the heat of summer fades into cool, dry autumn, we might find ourselves energetically and physically depleted as work, school, and social schedules begin to ramp up.
Treating the digestive fire, or agni, with simple, well-cooked, and well-spiced foods will ensure you move through this demanding shift with optimal digestive power at the ready.
A Look at the Ingredients
This crumble might not look like your typical agni-supporting food, a la kitchari or a light soup, and yet its ingredients are perfect for the job.
Tossed with pungent, slightly bitter, and zingy spices, the filling of this crumble satisfies the gut as much as it does the senses—the bright color and nostalgic aroma offer a sattvic sense of nourishment that’s ideal for this vata-pitta time of the year.
If you’re looking for an after-school (or after-work) snack that won’t ruin your appetite for dinner, or leave you regretful on the other side of a sugar crash, this crumble is for you.
The Creation of this Recipe
In addition to the balancing qualities offered by the ingredients, the process of making this recipe further supports the seasonal transition.
Confession: I intended for this recipe to be a “galette”—a somewhat rustic, but still neat and attractive dessert with a pie crust base.
I went into my kitchen on a very pitta day, excited to create a new recipe and share it with friends who were coming over later that evening. I was confident in how it would turn out, having done my homework on the best technique for making a flawless pie crust—which I had never made before.
My pitta dial turned way up, trying to analyze what went wrong and feeling a lot of self-judgment for having failed. It was already a hot day, but I started to feel the heat rising up my neck and face. What should I do, start again?
Thankfully, vata was ready in the wings, and her breezy, improvisatory spirit found the perfect solution: Instead of a crust, I’d make a crumble, something I knew would be perfect for the ingredients and much less precise.
Barely remembering to measure, I literally tossed together the ingredients that I had a feeling would make a sweet, crumb-cake-esque texture. (Okay, maybe I was drawing on some experience here.)
Having regained my confidence that the recipe would turn out okay, I felt my attention come back into my body and focus on turning the array of bowls and spoons and spice jars that littered my kitchen into my project du jour.
Pitta steadied my hands to arrange the apples, while vata kept me in a flow state.
Even better, I got to taste the first slices with people I care about when my friends finally arrived—the connector, kapha, coming in for the final act.
Hopefully, you won’t have a similar crisis moment in the kitchen as you make this dessert (you’re welcome for getting that out of the way for you).
But if you’ve had a day when your best laid plans went awry, or you’re hesitant to try making a new recipe, trust that vata and pitta will be by your side here, helping you meet the unknown with the determination needed to reach the finish line. And kapha too—to help you enjoy the fruits of your labor!
What we eat is important for keeping our bodies balanced and functioning well, but how we create and enjoy our food is just as vital an ingredient.
As you cook throughout the summer-fall transition, keep these questions in mind:
- Where might you let loose a little and go off script?
- Where can you take more time to ensure the finished results are just the way you want?
- How can these two sides of you, influenced by vata and pitta, come together in playful harmony?
Late Summer Apple Crumble Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8
For the filling:
- 2 large or 3 medium apples, sliced (about 4 cups)
- ¼ cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed and seeds removed
- Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
For the crumble:
- ⅔ cup rolled oats
- ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon mineral salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 ½ tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
Prepare the filling.
Prepare your apples by washing them and peeling if desired. Remove the cores and cut into thin slices.
In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples with the rest of the filling ingredients. Stir gently with a large spoon or spatula to evenly coat the apples in the lemon juice and spices. If you prefer to use your hands, beware the turmeric may stain your skin! Let the mixture set for about 10 minutes while you prepare the crumble.
Make the crumble.
In a separate large bowl, combine the oats, flour, coconut sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir to create an even mixture.
Add 2 ½ tablespoons of the coconut oil. Use a fork or your hands to work the oil through the dry ingredients to create a crumble texture. If it’s not crumbly, add a bit more oil.
Mix it up.
Stir the apples to reincorporate any liquid that settled in the bottom. Toss about half of the crumble (no need to be super specific) into the bowl with the apples. Stir well.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle a teaspoon of coconut oil in the bottom of a cake pan or pie dish and swirl it around to coat the bottom.
Arrange the apple slices neatly around the edge of the pan with the rounded edge facing up. Try to keep similar-sized slices together and save any smaller pieces to fill in the center of the pan. The crumble and raisins won’t totally cling to the apples—just spoon anything left in the bowl around the apples, filling in any spaces.
Use a spoon to sprinkle the remaining dry crumble over the top of the apples in an even layer.
Bake the crumble for 25 minutes, then take it out of the oven and drizzle the remaining teaspoon of coconut oil over the top. Return it to the oven and bake for another 7–10 minutes, until the top is nearing golden and the apples are very soft when pierced with a fork.
Serve, Savor, and Save.
Let the crumble set for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy warm, with your favorite whipped topping, a drizzle of honey or ghee, or anything else that inspires you in the moment.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to five days. You can also scoop any leftovers into an airtight container and freeze for up to a month.