“Healthy Dessert” – Not An Oxymoron

“Healthy” and “dessert” are two words that are not often heard together. But finding some recipes that go easy on butter and sugar while focusing on fruit makes for delicious and nutritious desserts. The New York Times recently posted an recipe for apple clafouti (below) in their Recipes for Health section. There is another for grapefruit ice that looks delicious.

The idea is that finding recipes using fruit can provide great desserts that won’t pack on the pounds. As noted in the article, apples contain more phytonutrients than almost any other common fruit. (Cranberries have more, but most of us don’t eat them outside of Thanksgiving dinner.) Apples are also great for desserts because they are so versatile. You can peel the top half of a cored apple, sprinkle on some cinnamon and microwave it until it’s soft for a super quick and tasty dessert. A plain, diced mango can serve as a sweet, exotic dessert. There are many options for fruity desserts limited only by your imagination. Try the New York Times’ apple clafouti (they even suggested eating it for breakfast!):

4 large Pink Lady apples

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, preferably organic

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar, preferably organic fair trade sugar

Pinch of salt

2/3 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plain yogurt

3/4 cup low-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10- or 10-1/2-inch ceramic tart pan, baking dish or clafouti dish. Peel, core and slice the apples into 16ths. Toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until they begin to look translucent, about four minutes. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir together until the apples have softened slightly and begun to caramelize, six to eight minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer to the baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the seeds from the vanilla bean or the vanilla extract. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk together. Slowly beat in the flour, then add the yogurt and milk. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour over the apples in the baking dish. Place in the oven, and bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the clafouti is firm and puffed. Check by pressing lightly on the middle. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack, or serve warm.

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