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Apple, Date and Ginger Snap Crumble

Apple, Date and Ginger Snap Crumble
Susan Russo for NPR /

To me, this homey date and apple crumble is like autumn in a bowl. Rich Medjool dates pair wonderfully with sweet-tart Fuji apples and plump golden raisins. The topping, made from crushed gingersnaps, shredded coconut and crunchy pecans, is just what the fruit needs. Some vanilla ice cream on top wouldn't hurt either. Though dried dates could be used for such a dessert, I prefer the softness of fresh ones. If you do use dried, then I recommend softening them for a couple of minutes in some hot water before adding them to the apple mixture. I used six individual ramekins (5 inches wide by 2 inches deep), but this can easily be made family style in a 9-inch pie plate or baking dish.

Makes 6 servings

For the topping:

8 gingersnap cookies

1/4 cup pecans

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/4 cup butter (4 tablespoons), chilled and cut into small pieces

For the fruit filling:

5 to 6 Fuji (or Gala) apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (about 4 1/2 cups)

1 cup fresh Medjool dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces (about 10 to 12)

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coat the ramekins with cooking spray, and place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet to catch any drips.

To make the topping, add the ginger snaps and pecans to a food processor and process until coarse crumbs form. Pour gingersnap-pecan mixture in a large bowl and add brown sugar, flour, coconut and butter. Using a pastry blender or fork, blend until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

To make the fruit filling, simply toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well by hand. Transfer the fruit to the ramekins (or pie plate) and add an equal amount of topping to each. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crispy.

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