Beet & Apple Bake

Enjoy this cheeky crisp with a drizzle of kefir, to enhance the sweet beet and tart apple-liness.

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Author’s Note

No one saw this one coming. Beets? Beets. Roasting enhances their soft, mellow sweetness, so (if motivation affords) investing in fresh roots and roast time will be worth the wait. Another questionable, yet highly enjoyable, ingredient: ground pepper. Believe me, you want to add the pepper. It adds just the right amount of warmth to an already gooey, comforting crisp.

As with any crisp dessert, this dish packs a lot of texture. When roasted, the beets take on a mouthfeel of softened pears: gives way to the chew, has a slight graininess to them. The topping is soft in places and crunchy in others, thanks to the coconut oil & honey, walnuts, and baking process. And the filling, well, you’re welcome. My first trial resulted in a dry bake, which was good but not good enough. You deserve the best I can do. Heating the filling over a stove top is key to releasing all the juicy goodness your beets and apples have to offer.

Last but not least, and for better or for worse: I’m a master micro-manager. You will find below that ingredients (especially for the filling) should be added at certain steps. This is to ensure that all flavors and textures are blended as uniformly as possible.

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Ingredients

For filling.

  • 2 lbs combination of beets & apples (2 large apples, 4 small beets)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 large lemon)
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp freshly grated ginger (or, 1 tsp ginger powder)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 lemon (1/2 tsp zest)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 c water, set aside for softening mixture

For topping.

  • 1 c oats
  • 3/4 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, softened in microwave for 15 seconds if needed
  • 1/4 c honey

Method

Roast beets.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Clean beets and wrap them loosely in foil. Bake for 45-50 min, until soft and tender. Set aside to cool.
  2. When beets are sufficiently cooled, peel skin. I find the easiest, mess-free way of doing this is by using the foil to peel away the skin. Chop into 1” chunks.

Assemble filling.

  1. Peel and core apples. Chop into 1” chunks.
  2. In a bowl, add beets, apples, and lemon juice. Mix together.
  3. Next, add cinnamon, pepper, ginger, cardamom, salt, and lemon zest. Mix until well combined.
  4. Add cornstarch. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add honey. Mix until well combined.
  6. Transfer filling to a small pot and soften over medium heat. I added 1/3c water to the mixture to get everything goopy.

Assemble topping.

  1. In another bowl, add oats, flour, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until well combined.
  2. Add coconut oil. If oil is solid, melt in microwave until soft. It doesn’t take too long, 15 seconds or so, depending on the strength of your microwave.
  3. Add honey. Mix until well combined.

Mass assembly.

  1. Grease a baking dish with some coconut oil.
  2. Add beet & apple filling.
  3. Sprinkle topping onto beet & apple filling.
  4. Bake covered in foil for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and bake for remaining 15 minutes. Bake time a total of 35 minutes.

Serves 8 or 9.

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