If you don’t notice the ground flax seed and toasted wheat germ in the dessert, I don’t have to point it out, right?

I made apple crisp for Thanksgiving. I know I’m supposed to be all excited about pumpkin stuff this month, and even made a Pumpkin Spice cake for some friends. But pumpkin’s not my flavor. I prefer gooey chocolate desserts, but since we’d planned a heavy meal I was looking for something lighter. I considered pie, but I don’t like crust. I like filling and topping, though, and apple crisp is just that – filling and topping! Mom’s in for the holiday, and she bakes a mean apple pie so I knew making a healthier version could be a challenge. 

I started with a Better Homes & Gardens Fruit Crisp recipe and added my own touches. Because I’m tweaking to my taste, it’s a little different every time I make it, but it’s basically the same – if that makes sense. (Click for the recipe.)    

Because I love the topping so much, I doubled that part of the recipe. The more, the merrier when it comes to the good stuff, I say! The recipe doesn’t call for any spices mixed with the apples, but I like a lot of flavor so I added plenty of warm spices.

Fruit crisp doesn’t require much flour, so I used the recommended amount. I considered switching the white flour for wheat, but crisp topping is dry enough with white flour so I left that alone.  

Instead of adding all the oatmeal the recipe calls for, I substituted some ground flax seed and toasted wheat germ. Both provide an extra nutritional boost and a nice, nutty flavor. Toasted wheat germ is vitamin- and mineral-rich and high in protein, a good addition to yogurt or many baked goods. Ground flax seed can be a bit grainy, so it’s best used in something that has texture such as a crisp topping or things with oatmeal in them. One of the main components of flax is lignan, which has plant estrogen as well as antioxidants.

Warm apples, fall spices, pecans & coconut. Mmmmm...

Did my version pass the test? It looks, smells, tastes and acts like a “normal” crisp. In fact, it’s delicious! Mom liked it, too! Did Mom notice my sneaky ingredients? Nope. Will I tell her? We’ll see!

Now if you’re still stuck on the fact that I made a fruit dessert instead of something super chocolaty, don’t worry – I’m still me! This weekend I’m making Eggnog Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (that would be the full fat eggnog, not that lightweight stuff). And as I write this, I’m staring at a picture of a caramel and pecan covered chocolate cake. Dessert #2 for Saturday? Perhaps…

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