A Dessert That’s Just Enough

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

When I make a dessert, we end up eating the whole thing. Not all at one sitting, of course, but a whole pie gets consumed over a few days, wedge by wedge. An apple crumble disappears, scoop by scoop.

The trick to not overeating sweets, then, is to not make them at all. Or, as I discovered, prepare them in very small quantities.

I was toying with that concept over the weekend when I devised an apple crumble for four, made from one very large Granny Smith apple, that can be enjoyed in a few bites,. It’s just enough to satisfy the need for something sweet after dinner. If you want to be indulgent, add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

It may seem like a lot of effort to make miniscule portions of dessert, but actually it’s not. The most time-consuming part is peeling, coring and dicing the apple. (Next time I might try leaving the skin on.) Microwave the apple to jump start the baking time in the oven. Then mush together oats, flour, butter and sugar for the crumble, top the apples and bake for 15 minutes. All together, it’s about a half hour of effort.

Mini Apple Crumbles
1 very large Granny Smith apple (10 ½ ounces)
2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 tablespoon sugar, divided
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel, core and cut apple in ½-inch dice and place in a medium-size microwaveable bowl. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, cinnamon and salt, and mix with a fork. Add flour mixture to diced apple and toss together until apples are well-coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, venting one corner, and microwave 1 minute at a time, stirring after each minute, until apples are just cooked and soft, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave oven.

While apples are microwaving, in a small bowl, combine oats, the remaining 1 tablespoon of the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon of the sugar and mix well. Add butter and using fingers, squish butter into the oats mixture to form coarse crumbs.

Line 4 cups of a muffin tin with a paper muffin liner. Spoon apple mixture into muffin liners, dividing equally. Top with oat mixture, dividing evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes until oats are light golden. Cool the mini cobblers in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then lift cobblers out of the muffin tins by holding the edges of the muffin liners.

Makes 4 Mini Apple Cobblers


  • Add 2 teaspoons of chopped pecans to the oats mixture before adding the butter, for a nutty topping.
  • Add some raisins or dried cranberries to the apple mixture before microwaving.

Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Follow us on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Posted: Oct 9th by Sandy_Hu