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vegan crumb topping for apple crisp

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I'm to make a dessert for about 20 people on Sunday & have decided on apple crisp. Since the guest of honor is vegan, I need help with the topping, as I usually use butter.

In my quick search, I was unable to find any suggestions, other than Karl S's for using solid coconut oil, which local TJ's doesn't carry. In my pantry I have only liquid oils- walnut, canola, olive & sesame. If I really should search out a solid veggie fat, I will.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I was going to play around a bit with toppings, but figured I would check here 1st to see if anyone had any brilliant ideas to save me some taste testings. Not that I mind tasting several versions of apple crisp.....

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  1. How about just topping with a vegan granola?

    If you prefer to create the crisp topping instead, this is what I propose:
    1. Use a combination of walnut oil, nuts, oats, flour, cinnamon and maple syrup (which will add sweetness and promote crispness).
    2. Mix the dry ingredients, add in enough oil to get a "damp sand" texture.
    3. Then add enough maple syrup to sweeten and get a "wet sand" texture.

    Hope it works out well! I wondered about using a vegan margarine, but am concerned that there might be water content that sogs out the topping. Don't cook much with it, so don't know how it would work.....

    1. I think you can use liquid vegetable oil to make a crunchy streusel topping since vegetable oil can be used to make a pie crust. I'd use an oil that's flavorless like canola, though. Nut oil is fine, too, provided it's from a kind of nut that goes well with apples. (Your walnut oil should be fine.) I wouldn't use sesame oil. It's very pungent and could very well ruin the whole thing, IMO.

      1. Sub with Canola oil. If you want, Earth Balance (available at Whole Foods, possibly available at TJ?) I've done it with both.

        1. Thanks, everyone! I'm going to try the canola oil 1st to see how it goes. Maybe a touch of the walnut, just for flavor, since I won't get the buttery yumminess I'm used to. I'll report back after testing tonight!

          3 Replies
          1. re: tall sarah

            So I did get some vegan butter- Earth's Balance original. I tasted it plain & it's nothing like real butter, but I just went for it anyway. And it made a DELICIOUS apple crisp!

            I used 20 apples of mixed variety (macintosh, macoun, empire). For the topping, I mixed about 1 cup of ap flour, 1+ cup of oats, brown sugar (1 cup? not really sure), cinnamon to taste & salt. Then I cut in 1/2 the tub of vegan butter. Sprinkled it on top of the peeled, sliced apples & baked at 350 degrees for 45 min-1 hour, until it was bubbly on the sides & browned on top.

            The topping even stayed crispy the next day. Everyone enjoyed it!

            1. re: tall sarah

              I use the stick Earth Balance or Fleishmann's margarine. My topping recipe is very similar to yours, except I use 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 brown sugar. Also, if you want a slightly crunchy texture, add in a tablespoon or two of canola oil once all the topping ingredients have pretty much come together.

              I've also added pecans or walnuts chopped.

              1. re: tall sarah

                glad it worked out!

            2. For future reference, I always keep coconut oil on hand for situations like this, where I want to bake without using dairy. I made a vegan fruit crisp this past weekend and the coconut oil in the topping was fantastic.