Thanksgiving desserts | foodsciencenerd.com

Thanksgiving Part Four: Healthy Desserts (still no sacrifices)

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Inspiration, Nutrition Information, Recipes

My boyfriend and my roommate both don’t like pumpkin pie.  I think they’re nuts, but whatever.  As an alternative dessert last year, I decided to make a cranberry apple crisp, using a ton of cranberries I had purchased at a local farmers’ market.  I lived in Massachusetts, so naturally I had to buy cranberries.  Usually, my mom and I would make an unsweetened cranberry-apple sauce, but I already had so many sides lined up that another just seemed excessive.  The crisp was the perfect substitute!  I don’t remember exactly how I made it… I took a few good looking recipes and combined them as I went along, so I’m basically putting down my best guess.  I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did, so I didn’t bother to write anything down at the time.

I had a bunch of pictures of the desserts and now I have no idea where they went... But here's some pie.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Filling:

  • 4 cups chopped peeled tart apples (4-5 apples)

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

  • 1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and other pumpkin pie spices if you’d like

Topping:

  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

  • ½ c. packed light brown sugar

  • 1 t. ground cinnamon

  • 12 T. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

  • 1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats

 Thanksgiving desserts | foodsciencenerd.com

  1. Combine apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, and spices. Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish.

  2. In a bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly and the butter is pea-sized; sprinkle over apple mixture.

  3. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes or until fruit is tender.

  4. Best served warm, topped with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 6-8 servings, freezes for months beautifully… I think there is still a slice in my freezer.

Now, I was the only one eating the pumpkin pie.  I rebelled against tradition and made a part-whole wheat crust, following the Crisco recipe for a 9-inch pie crust… the whole wheat was the only health-redeeming factor in the crust.  The pumpkin pie filling (I used the classic Libby’s recipe) is actually not at all unhealthy.  A slice technically has about a half-serving of vegetables and plenty of nutritional value.

The whipped cream also has absolutely no healthy qualities.  I do, however, whip it by hand, so that counts as a workout… right?  I really do love the rustic quality of hand-whipping cream.  It’s so rewarding watching the air get trapped, slowly but surely, in the network of fats and proteins.  Here is my super-simple recipe:

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 T sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large chilled bowl.

  2. Whip by hand or with a mixer (cheater), using chilled whisk/beaters.

  3. Lick whisk/beaters when done.  I hope I don’t have to tell you to turn off the electric mixer first.

  4. Store covered in the fridge.

For the guide to a perfect turkey, see: Thanksgiving Part One: The Perfect Turkey

For the incredible turkey gravy that my boyfriend tackled, check out this post: Thanksgiving Part Two: Super simple, deceptively healthy mashed potatoes

For ideas on sides and drinks to serve with dinner: Thanksgiving Part Three:  Healthy Sides (without sacrificing anything)

Cranberry Apple Crisps

Cranberry Apple Crisps

Ingredients

    For the Filling:
  • 4 cups chopped peeled tart apples (4-5 apples)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, and other pumpkin pie spices if you’d like
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

Directions

  1. Combine apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, and spices. Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly and the butter is pea-sized; sprinkle over apple mixture.
  3. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes or until fruit is tender.
  4. Best served warm, topped with vanilla ice cream.
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