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We recently had a counter’s worth of produce we needed to use, including apples speeding toward over-ripeness and a lemon that was starting to shrivel.

I woke up before the rest of my household one morning and decided it was a sign: Time for the first apple crisp of the season.

This recipe was designed to use what we had on hand, but I was surprised at its complex flavors. We ate it for breakfast that day, but my husband has already requested it again so he can add vanilla ice cream.

You can skip the ground flaxmeal in the topping. If you do, use 3 tablespoons of butter, rather than 21/2. I never skin my apples before baking, but some people feel strongly that peels don’t belong in baked goods. Do whatever works for you.

Maple Apple Crisp5 medium apples, cored and sliced into small pieces

1/4 cup unsweetened dates, chopped

Juice of half a lemon

Zest of one lemon

2 tablespoons ground flaxmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/8 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

21/2 tablespoons salted butter, softened

11/2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish. In it, stir together apple pieces, dates and lemon juice.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together lemon zest, flaxmeal, oats, flour and spices. Cut in butter. When mixture is pebbled and reminds you of sand, stir in maple syrup, then fold in walnuts.

Press over top of apple mixture. You’ll get light coverage, so double topping ingredients if you prefer heavier coverage.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until apples are softened and topping starts to brown and bubble. Serve warm with Greek yogurt or ice cream.

Meg Dickinson is a communications professional who spends many waking hours daydreaming about food. To submit a recipe, email