Thursday, January 28, 2016

Heart-healthy desserts

David recently had a couple of stents put in a major artery, so we are now paying extra attention to eating heart-healthy foods.  One change we're making is to cut out desserts constituted largely from butter and white flour.  We're not big dessert people--never have it with everyday meals--but I enjoy baking, and look forward to occasions that give me a chance to do it.  While planning a meal for a couple of friends who are coming over on Sunday, I remembered a couple of apple desserts that would still fit in the new regime.  Even if you don't need to cut back on rich desserts, either of these is nice after a meal that's on the heavy side.

One other thing before the two recipes:  As we adjust our eating habits, we've needed to weigh some foods.  The old postal scale I was using was difficult to use and not very accurate.  I broke down and bought a new scale, and am delighted with it.  Much easier to use, and it's good for anything from a 1/2 ounce to 11 pounds.  It took me a while to sort out options on Amazon, so if you're interested in one and just want to piggyback on my search, I bought this one.


from Simply Light Cooking (1992)
makes 4 servings (140 calories per serving)

1 lb. Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples, cored, pared, and sliced
2 T. honey
1 T. water
1 t. grated lemon peel, divided
2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. cornstarch
4 egg whites (at room temperature)
dash cream of tartar
2 T. sugar

Note:  You can prepare the apples (step 2) well in advance, and then do the meringue closer to serving time.

1.     Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
2.     In a large nonstick frying pan, combine apples, honey, water, lemon juice, and 1/2 t. lemon peel and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cornstarch and cook until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute.
3.     Spray a 2-quart casserole (or other baking dish large enough to spread out the apples) with nonstick cooking spray and arrange apple mixture in it; set aside.
4.     In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.  Gradually beat in the sugar, 1/2 t. at a time.  Add remaining lemon peel and continue beating until the whites are stiff but not dry.
5.     Spread beaten whites over the apple mixture.  Place baking dish in the middle of the oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for 20 minutes, or until the meringue is golden.


from The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook (1998)
makes 2 pancakes; serves 4 (282 calories per serving)

4 Golden Delicious apples, cored, pared, and cut into 1/4" thick slices
3 T. honey or maple syrup
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 eggs and 2 egg whites (or substitute 6 egg whites)
1/2 c. nonfat milk
1 T. canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. grated orange zest
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. confectioners sugar
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

I've done the recipe in three stages:
            In late morning:  prepare the apples (steps 2 and 3)
            A little before guests arrive: beat the wet ingredients only in step 4; measure out the flour but don't add
            Just before sitting down to dinner:  Add the flour to the batter, assemble the dessert, and put it in the oven.

1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat two 9" pie pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2.     Coat a large nonstick frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Add the apple slices and cook, stirring and tossing every 2-3 minutes, until they have softened slightly and are browned in spots, about 10 minutes.
3.     Add the honey or syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the apples are tender and the honey coats them in a syrupy glaze, about 5 minutes.
4.     In a bowl, beat the eggs and egg whites, milk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest until blended.  Add the all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour and beat until completely smooth.
5.     Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  It's important to put the batter into the pans before the apples--otherwise the pancake won't puff as much. Top each pan with an equal amount of the apple slices.

6.     Bake until golden brown and puffed, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and dust with the confectioners' sugar.  Cut each pancake in  half and serve immediately--best served right out of the oven.  Pass the lemon wedges at the table.