It’s almost Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which means in my family it’s time for apple crisp. What better dessert for the holiday and the season? On Rosh Hashanah we dip apples and honey, and try to find ways to ways to incorporate apples into, well, as many desserts as possible, because apples remind us of the roundness of the year and the hope that the coming year will be fruitful, and honey of course represents our wish for a sweet new year.
But what if we’re trying to be healthy? Is it possible to make a holiday dessert almost good for you?
This is the year I went Paleo. Also known as Caveman or Whole30. Although I slip on occasion, essentially I’ve stopped eating processed foods, processed sugar (including the fake stuff like splenda and stevia), dairy, wheat, alcohol, and reduced how much I eat of things like potatoes. Thanks to this new way of eating, plus the help of a great gym, I’ve lost 30 pounds in five months and feel stronger, happier, and healthier than I’ve ever been.
Which is why I’m not going to let the Jewish holidays (I don’t care how “holy of holy” they are) screw that up.
Most of the food my family cooks for the Jewish holidays is actually very healthy, but the desserts are a splurge which seem to top butter and sugar and flour and chocolate in a way that makes your tongue sing and your belly … well, expand. But they don’t have to be.
So I offered to make the apple crisp this year. And I’m making it Paleo.
I combined/altered two different recipes for Paleo Apple Crisp online (thanks Caveman Strong and In the Kitchen with Amy Jo), and the apple crisp tasted amazing. I pretty much inhaled it. Not too sweet, not too tart. The crumble was a little chunky but in a good way, and the apples were cooked just enough.
WARNING: If you haven’t cut processed sugar out of your diet, this may not taste sweet enough. For those of you who’ve tried going Paleo/sugar-free in some form, you know that your palate does change, and this is one dish where that is evident (I thought it tasted perfectly sweet, my non-Paleo eating husband thought it not nearly sweet enough). So if you’re bringing this dish to a friend or family’s house, and they’re not Paleo, you may want to bring some ice cream (coconut for you and vanilla for them) in case they need a little extra sugar hit.
This apple crisp tastes delicious and it’s (sort of) good for you (well, it’s at least better for you than a normal sugar-packed apple crisp). It’s gluten free, egg free, grain free, dairy free, and Paleo compliant (but not Whole30 ’cause it has honey, FYI). Make it for Rosh Hashanah and – why not? – throughout the year. Beteavon! Enjoy!
- 5 Apples (I used Honeycrisp because they were on sale but Granny Smith and Crispin are good baking apples too)
- 1 orange (juiced)
- 6 tbs honey
- 2 tbs coconut oil (why? It’s a Paleo Super Food)
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 3 tbs finely ground pecans
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Peel and slice the apples into narrow slices (I recommend saving a ton of time and using this Apple Pro-Peeler and corer or something similar)
- Put the apples in a bowl and mix with the orange juice, 1 tsp of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and 2 tbs of the honey. Coat completely, and then put in a baking dish in the oven for 40 minutes, uncovered.
- While the apples are cooking, in a different bowl combine the crumble topping: almond flour, ground pecans, 2 tbs coconut oil, and 4 tbs honey. I added a splash of cinnamon (probably about 1/2 tsp) for a little extra contrast in flavor.
- After the apples have cooked for 40 minutes, take them out, and sprinkle your crumble topping on the apples and bake for another 20 minutes at 350. Check the color of the crust as it gets close to the 20 minutes, as your oven may work differently than mine and you don’t want the crumble to get too dark/burn.
- When serving, pour some of the liquid from the bottom on top of the crumble. Oooh…. yum.
- Eat. Enjoy. Share.
Nutritional Value per slice (assuming 8 generous servings): 160 calories, 29 carbs, 6 g fat, 1 g protein, 1 g sodium, and 24 g sugar. As a basis of comparison, my mom’s more traditional and also delicious apple crisp recipe (using butter, white flour, and sugar instead of coconut oil, almond flour, and honey), has DOUBLE the calories, carbs, fat and sugar content of this recipe.
If this recipe still sounds like it has a lot of sugar, remember that 1/2 of that sugar is from the apples and the orange, and the other half is from the honey. Click here to learn more about how sugar in fruit is good for you while other sugars are not. For more on why honey is OK in the Paleo diet even though it has a fair amount of sugar in it, click here.