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ginger whiskey 1-apple crisp | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Ginger & Whiskey 1-Apple Crisp

I love pumpkin and pumpkin-spice everything. But for me, the real star of fall is the apple. Sure, you can get apples year round, but they are at their best right from the orchard in the fall here in the Midwest.

Sweet and tangy. Crisp and juicy. I mean, what’s not to like?

Throw in a trip to the orchard with some of your friends to pick some of your own, and apples are pretty much the best ever.

frannycakes and friends went apple picking

I can’t resist a bag full of my favorite fruit – my willpower is so poor that I came home with 10 pounds of Pink Lady apples. You know, to feed the gnomes I have hidden in the closet.

With a kitchen that is too small to make and can apple sauce or apple pie filling and a decidedly smaller number of gnomes to eat my food than I had thought, I had to get creative with how I used up those apples. One of my favorite easy desserts is apple crisp. I can whip one up without a recipe and can make it in any size from single serve to crowd-sized.

This time, I wanted to do something special. (And I wanted to do it in a way that didn’t involve a dessert for a crowd).

So, dear reader, meet my Ginger & Whiskey 1-Apple Crisp.

ginger whiskey 1-apple crisp | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

The whiskey is millet whiskey* from a local distillery along with some fresh ginger to spice things up.

Koval Millet Whiskey found at the Green City Market

To make this truly gluten-free, you need to make sure your oats are certified. Gluten-free oats are available from a variety of sources – recently I found some from Chex at the local super market, but they are available from Bob’s Red Mill as well. You could also use quinoa flakes if you are allergic to oats.

gluten-free apple crisp ingredients

Ginger & Whiskey 1-Apple Crisp
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 2 servings
Gluten-free oats are crucial to make sure that this dish is safe for gluten-free diets. The measurements here don’t need to be too precise. I make apple crisp regularly by measuring in handfuls – so no stressing about being perfect.
  • 1 large apple (or 2 small apples), tart baking apples such as Pink Ladies or Granny Smith are ideal, but any apple will work
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey*
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, very soft or melted
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Slice apple into even slices – I leave the skin on, but you can peel the apples if you want.
  3. In an oven-safe bowl or 5-6inch baking dish, toss the apple, the whiskey and half the ginger.
  4. If your butter is fresh from the fridge, go ahead and put it in the microwave for 20 seconds. It’s ok if it melts.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ginger, butter, oats, brown sugar and salt. I use my hands to mush it together.
  6. Crumble the topping over the apple slices in your bowl or baking dish.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the topping is golden brown.
*Gluten does not survive distillation, so any high-quality whiskey without added colors or flavors should be safe for someone on a gluten-free diet. To be extra sure, I used a Millet Whiskey from Koval Distillery, a local Chicago company whose whiskey is available online.


*Gluten doesn’t survive distillation, so any whiskey that doesn’t have added colors or flavors should be safe on a gluten-free diet. It’s proven science. However, some people are sensitive to other parts of the grain that do survive distillation, so please don’t use it if it bothers you. The millet whiskey I used can be found online and through high-end liquor stores.  You can always leave out the whiskey or replace it with a dark or spiced rum.

This is not a sponsored post, and I did not receive any free items to cook with. Koval is a distillery that happens to be in my neighborhood and they make an awesome whiskey from Millet. The Chex Gluten-free Oats were the ones I just happened to have in my pantry.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

hot ginger apple rum punch

Friendsgiving & an epic punch

friendsgiving 2012

My friends have this tradition, that I had no idea was a thing that lots of people do until this year, called Friendsgiving.

It is a pretty simple concept: you gather up your friends, have people to sign up to bring things, eat food, play games and celebrate. You celebrate being thankful with the people who, while they aren’t family, are some of your favorite people on the planet.

There is something about turkey, stuffing, and pie that brings people together. And get together we did. My group of friends sounds like it could be the punch line to a joke: What do you get when you gather a handful of technology consultants, a lawyer, a designer, a medical technician, a lobbyist, a medical researcher, a couple of teachers, a Groupon employee…

You get 23 people. A mix of people from two groups of friends that merged together when a couple of straight guys traded numbers in the bathroom at Wrigley Field. And have been friends ever since. (And next fall the two halves will be united by a marriage. Let’s call it fate).

You get an epic feast.

You get beer pong and dance offs.

You get laughs.

You see how damned lucky you are. Just how much you have to be thankful for.


Because one of them insists that the next time I need to use an epi-pen, it is going to be his job. Because one of them shares your shoe size and love of footwear. Because one of them gets endlessly harassed about that one party 5 years ago… Because one of them loves to bake almost as much as me.

Because who else is going to listen to your stories of gentleman callers? Or tease you about being a robot? Or remind you just how crazy it is to change from a pair of 5″ stilettos to a pair of 3.5″ pumps because your feet hurt and you need sensible shoes?

Just them. My pretty awesome friends.

It was an amazing evening. I had a blast.

But in the preparations, there was just one problem. All these people know I write a food blog. And they are expecting something amazing.

So, I had to open with a bang. Show off during dinner and still have a stand-out dessert.

I made Hot Ginger Apple Rum Punch, Parsnip, Apple & Sage stuffing, Mushroom Stuffing and Cranberry Upside down cake. in 3.5 hours. Because I am a show-off. And I wanted to make sure that there was enough food there that I wasn’t stuck with turkey and plain mashed potatoes.

I will get the rest of those items posted here sometime soon, but the first recipe I want to share with you is the one for the punch (it was the most requested recipe at the party). It was my opening bang, A gallon was gone in half an hour, and it might just be my new signature drink.

hot ginger apple rum punch

Hot Ginger Apple Rum Punch

Recipe Type: Drinks
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 12
  • 10 ounces (300 grams) of ginger (a piece about the size of a woman’s palm), washed
  • 10 1/2 cups (2L) water
  • Juice from 6 large lemons
  • 6 1/2 cups (1.5L) Fresh apple cider (cloudy apple juice, NOT spiced cider)
  • 2 cups (480 mL) dark rum*
  • ~1/4 cup (35 mL) honey,
  1. Slice the ginger with the skin on and add to a large pot with the water.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Strain the water through a sieve and return to the pot. Discard the ginger.
  4. Add the lemon juice, apple cider and honey. (I dont measure it, just hold it above the pot, squeeze and circle around the pot 4 times).
  5. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes. You want to get your punch good and hot. Taste it. It should only be slightly sweet. If it is too tart, go ahead and add a smidge more honey.
  6. Remove from the heat and either add the rum (and apple spirits, if using). Place in a punch bowl (or cool looking jug for transport to a party). Serve as promptly as possible, to keep the alcohol from evaporating and the punch from getting cold.
  7. You could also divide up the spirits into 12 glasses and top with even amounts of the apple, lemon, ginger mixture if you want to do individual servings.

*You can also replace half of the rum with an apple spirit such as Apple Jack or Calvados – I used Apple Jack when I served this to my friends.


Apple Jicama Salsa

Apple Jicama Salsa in a bowlI bought jicama (also known as yam bean) at the grocery store last time I was there. This is an odd looking food – almost looking like a rutabaga on the outside. Once you peel off the brown papery skin, you are left with a crunchy, almost sweet vegetable. It looks like a potato on the inside, but unlike a potato, is delicious raw. Some people cook it in soups and stir-frys. It is originally from Mexico and is the only edible part of the plant (the seeds are used to poison bugs & rats).

I love eating it raw, in salads and as a chip. I forgot that I had bought this and it was at the bottom of my fruit bowl on the counter. When I found it, I felt that I had won the lottery.

I grabbed an apple, some onion and some jalapenos and made a salsa. And then the worst thing happened, I realized that I had no chips or crackers with which to eat my delicious concoction.

Apple Jicama Salsa
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dip
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 8
A refreshing, not hot salsa
  • 1/2 a jicama
  • 1 large apple (Pink Lady or Honey Crisp if available)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 pickled jalapeno rounds
  • 2 T juice from jalapenos.
  1. Peel & chop all the large vegetables.
  2. Wash & chop the cilantro.
  3. Chop the jalapenos and add them to taste.
  4. Mix all the chopped ingredients together and pour in the jalapeno “juice”.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
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