I love dessert. I love butter, sugar and cream — and all of the other sinful ingredients that go into a decadent dessert. However, I’ve been on a quest to lighten up my desserts, to reduce my sugar intake and to substitute more “healthy” ingredients into my recipes.
I thought I would start with a crisp. I made a light version of a strawberry rhubarb crisp a few months ago. It was delicious. But, now blueberries are in season, so I thought I would try my hand at a healthy blueberry crisp. I swapped out white sugar for maple syrup — a natural sugar. I included orange juice to add some natural sweetness as well as the zest of orange and lemon which pairs perfectly with the blueberries. Instead of butter, I used safflower oil as the “fat” in the topping. I added walnuts and oats for texture.
I’m really pleased with how it turned out. In fact, my whole family thoroughly enjoyed this crisp — even my mother (who can see right through my healthy dessert recipes) raved about it!
The beauty of this recipe is that you can swap the blueberries for other berries of your choice. You can eat it just as it is, or you can top it with ice cream, a dollop of cream or greek yogurt. I bet this would work out great with apples. I can’t wait for apple season . . . .
Serves 8-10 people
8 cups of blueberries
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
3/4 cup of maple syrup (grade B)
1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch
For the topping:
3/4 cup of brown rice flour
3/4 cup of almond meal
1 cup of quick cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of safflower oil
3/4 cup of maple syrup
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine blueberries orange juice, lemon juice, zest, maple syrup and cornstarch. Mix to combine. Pour blueberry mixture into a 9 by 13 inch baker.
In a separate bowl, add brown rice flour, almond meal, oatmeal, salt, safflower oil, maple syrup and chopped walnuts. Mix to combine. The topping will be loose. It will not be crumbly like a more traditional crumb topping made with butter. I’ve included a picture below so you can see the consistency.
Helpful hint: Don’t serve the crisp right from the oven. Let it sit a bit so that it sets up — it will be easier to dish out.