Apples are wonderfully sweet and require zero sugar even when they are baked for dessert. Baked apples are a fantastic alternative to traditional apple pies which are alarmingly high in sugar – especially when they are store bought. (150 gm slice = 40 gms carbohydrate). Other traditional dessert fare for Thanksgiving can also be hard to digest – literally: pecan pies are a big no-no (130 gm slice = 60 gms carb) and pumpkin pies are usually loaded with brown sugar (35 gms carb).
While I am certainly not against having a small slice of any of the above during the holidays – especially for those who can bolus a little extra insulin on-the-side – I also believe it is essential and smart to learn recipes that demonstrate perfectly how certain foods don’t need extra sugar or fat to taste good. Apples are the perfect show-off food for this purpose.
My mother started baking apples for me soon after I was diagnosed with diabetes. Truth is I disliked her making special desserts while everyone else had ice cream – but I did enjoy her baked apples. My mother was an improvisational cook – so I am pretty confident I ate a different version every time. Although I probably didn’t thank her enough for the many special culinary things she did to make up for my sugarless childhood – I am sure she would appreciate my sharing the recipe I remember best:
4 Gala or Braeburn apples – medium, cored, top cut and 1/4 down the side peeled
1/4 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice per apple
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon per apple
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg per apple
small bowl of Raisins
200 ml light whipping cream
Wash and core the apples (using a corer is easy and fun for children, but adults can get away with a knife and spoon). Cut the top 1/4 inch off the apple for a flat surface and to remove peel. Cut an inch of the peel off around the sides of the apple – this allows the apple flesh to absorb the cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour 1/2 teaspoon lemon over the tops of each apple; sprinkle the tops of each apple with the nutmeg and cinnamon (allowing the spices to fall in the center). Take approximately 10 raisins per apple and stuff into the center. Some people like to use nuts like pecans, but I find that these are not flavoring enhancing – just calorie add-ons. Finally, pour the 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the baking dish; if you find this evaporates quickly, just add more a 1/4 cup at a time. Total cooking time: about 25 minutes in a 375 Farenheit or 190 Celsius oven. Baste the apples with the liquid at bottom of dish at least twice while the apples bake. When done, apples should look white and glistening underneath the nutmeg and cinnamon and easy to slice with a fork – don’t overcook! While apples cool, pour light whipping cream into mixing bowl and whip with mixer for 3 minutes until creamy and firm enough to spoon. Place apple on a plate and serve with the whipping cream to the side – otherwise it will melt too quickly on top. Calories: 72 each serving, 16 gms of sugar (including cream) and 2 gms of fat.
I made these baked apples for dessert tonight as practice for guests this Thursday; my husband was convinced I added sugar:
“No. (Really.) I didn’t.”
“Not even the whipping cream?”
“Wow. Why is it people think they need sugar for dessert?”
Exactly. I think that means he liked the apples. Success!