With a picture as luscious as the front cover of Huckleberry, it’s hard to resist the sweet, magnetic pull of this book. Doughy, flaky, buttery, and sugar-filled treats play a starring role in the photos that fill the pages, including step-by-step sequenced photos for how to master trickier things like flaky dough and delicate biscuits. It’s the work of owners and bakers Zoe Nathan, Laurel Almerinda, and Josh Loeb. The book, a testament to their brick and mortar located in Santa Monica, California, wows with its content and holds its own in the design department. Its sturdy cover, bright turquoise front pages, and yellow polka-dotted book edges (i.e. the very tips of the pages) spark joy as a result of their thoughtful construction—truly an all-around win.
Huckeberry is one of the loveliest baking books I’ve encountered. Filled with rustic, no-fuss (or low-fuss) baking projects, its ease of approach and style appeals to most. If you are the type of person who enjoys a lazy Sunday morning breakfast, refills on your cup of coffee, and a paper nearby, then you’ll love what these pages inspire. I picked out the book because of the cover, truly. (Dat swirl though.) But I’ll keep the book because of the scrumptious, rustic recipes. With chapters like muffins, biscuits and scones, pancakes, flaky dough and its many uses, breads and other things that rise, rustic cakes and teacakes, cereals, coffee and other beverages, baked in a dish, sandwiches, hearty plates with an egg on top (These folks know what I’m talking about!), and fried stuff (doooouuuugggnuts), it truly encompasses every recipe you might find in a bakery/cafe from the wee morning hours until lunch hits. I made my first-ever everything bagels using the Milo & Olive recipe from this book, which were not only incredibly delicious, but also surprisingly easy to make. (Also, can I just say, a runny egg, garlic aioli, and sautéed greens on a freshly made bagel is a gift from the breakfast gods.) From there I moved on to the gluten-free banana chocolate muffins, which were tasty, but a little crumbly (likely my fault), the pear and ginger muffins (essentially gingerbread studded with ripe chunks of pear!), and now these baked apples with oat crumble (more on those in a moment). Next on my list, more bagels (perhaps the honey and multigrain) because that entire experience rocked my world, the blueberry brioche that graces the book cover, and the 2-cheese rye biscuits or the maple bacon biscuits for my family for Christmas. There is also a selection of savoury dishes that have caught my attention, including the spicy butternut, kale, pancetta, and egg tartine and the savoury barley porridge with spring onions, kale, and sausage. Truth be told, before the year is up, I will probably make about 50% of what is in this book. Want to come over and help me eat it all?
For now, let’s start with these apples. Perfectly soft and sweet with a truly outstanding crumble—the kind whose character is built on texture and crunch, caramel-y sweetness, hints of cinnamon, and overall good construction. If you like a crumble, this will surely impress. Friends, if you are interested in sweetening somebody’s holiday this season, I recommend starting here. Sweet dreams might just be made of these.Th
The casserole dish I used in these photos was given to me by KitchenAid and comes as part of this pretty (and handy) set. It baked the apples to perfection–no hot spots, no burning, and totally beautiful to take from oven to table. There are many colours to choose from. Pick your favourite.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature (I used ¼ cup. To keep it vegan, I imagine that you can also use semi-solid coconut oil here as well as I often do when making crumbles.)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used ½ cup of oat flour to keep it gluten-free)
- 2 ¼ cups rolled oats (I used half of the amount.)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (I used half of the amount.)
- 2 tbsp honey (I used half of the amount. To keep it vegan, you can try maple syrup.)
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar (I used ¼ cup + 1 tbsp mix of coconut sugar and brown sugar.)
- 6 apples, peeled, halved, and cored (I used 6 small apples.)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (I used half of the amount. To keep it vegan, you can use melted coconut oil.)
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar (I eliminated this ingredient.)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (I used coconut sugar.)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 ¾ cups apple juice (because my apples were small, I used just enough juice to cover the bottom edge of the apples)
- Preheat your oven to 375° F
- To make the crumble: Combine the butter/coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, oat flour, oats, salt, honey (or maple syrup), and brown sugar in a bowl and blend with your fingertips until homogenous. Refrigerate until needed.
- In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the butter, brown/coconut sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
- Pour the apple juice into a 9 ½ x 13 ½ inch baking dish, then fit the apples in snugly, cut-side up. Cover with foil.
- Bake until the apples are soft, about 25 minutes to 1 hour. As different varieties have different bake times, be sure to give them a poke to see if they’re ready.
- Remove the foil and top the apples with the crumble. Increase the oven temperature to 425° F and bake until the topping is nice and brown, about 20 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- This keeps, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.