Use It or Lose It! Apple Walnut Parmesan Crumble

Sometimes I am lazy. Often, especially in late winter it seems, I just can’t work up the motivation to put together a fancy dessert, or even to roll out a pie crust (I blame the lack of Vitamin D). But, even in winter, friends come to visit, or Tai works a week of 15-hour days back-to-back and I can’t just crack open a box of Entenmann’s and say “Here you go, kids!” It’s just not my style. But I can do the next best thing: canned apple pie filling, a no-muss, no-fuss melted butter crumble topping and 30 minutes in the oven, et voila! Dessert. Or, as I like to call it: locavore fast food.

This recipe is a mash-up of my apple parmesan crumble recipe and Heidi Swanson’s rhubarb strawberry crumble topping, except it’s made even easier with canned apple pie filling from last Fall’s crop of apple preserving, and Heidi’s quick & easy crumble topping. It’s a great way of using up fruit pie fillings, preserved during the height of canning season (when you had sunlight, and energy), when you can’t muster up the gumption to make a pie crust. Even better, while the walnuts were from California and the raw sugar from Points South, everything else in this recipe is from right here in the ‘hood. Who says eating locally can’t be easy? Not me.


Apple Walnut Parmesan Crumble



  • 3 oz (3/4 cup) whole white wheat flour
  • 3 oz (2/3 cup) walnuts, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) rolled oats
  • 1 oz grated hard cheese, such as parmesan (I used an aged local goat cheese)
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (organic turbinado)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 and 1/2 oz (1/3 cup) butter, melted



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well.
  2. To make the topping, combine the flour, oats, nuts, cheese, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss well to mix. Add melted butter and toss with a fork to blend; mold the topping into 4 or 5 patties with your hands, then place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Add filling to a 9 and 1/2-inch pie plate or similar baker.
  4. Remove topping from the freezer and crumble over the top of the fruit, including a mix of large and small pieces of topping.
  5. Bake, on the rimmed baking sheet, for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the topping is a rich golden brown and the juices are bubbling. If you want the crumble to maintain some structure upon serving, allow to cool at least 30 minutes before you serve.

Serves 6 – 8.


  1. As I’ve noted before, this recipe is highly adaptable: feel free to substitute the nuts you like, the flour you prefer, etc. This will also work with any canned pie filling, although you might want to eliminate the parmesan for most sweet/berry pies.
  2. For a vegan version, omit the cheese and replace butter with 2 and 1/2 oz of olive or melted coconut oil.
  3. The topping needs some flour as a binder, but this would be easy to modify to gluten-free with GF flour and oats.
  4. I seem to always say this, but; chipotle or cayenne pepper in the topping would be a nice twist.


At room temperature, 2 days.  Refrigerated, up to 5 days, although the topping will become increasingly soggy.


With a frozen or canned apple pie filling you can make this all year round. Fresh apples are available in the Fall  and generally throughout the Winter at area farmer’s markets.


  1. Yum. I love crumbles and crisps and all that stuff. But what I really love about this is the cheese part. What a nice idea. Can you taste it?

    • Well, you know Jules, that I don’t actually *eat* this stuff. Cooked fruit – blech! 🙂

      According to Tai and various friends – yes, you taste the cheese. The pepper is important to, because it sorts of warns your tastebuds that there is something savory in there, and makes them sit up and take notice of the cheese. I’ve heard it’s good (really good) and many people ask “what’s IN there?” so I assume that it is not overwhelmingly cheesey, but that the cheese adds a savory dimension that is different (and apparently, tasty).

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