Friday, October 29, 2010

Cooking Light with Ina Garten: Apple Crisp

This recipe makeover was inspired by a fellow teacher of mine. Last week, while she was picking her students up from P.E., she asked me if I had a healthy apple cobbler recipe for her. At the time, I didn't. But her asking was all the motivation I needed to go find one and make it over!
Ina Garten, or Barefoot Contessa, has a beautiful recipe for an Apple and Pear Crisp. As are most "cobbleresque" dessert recipes, this one called for a large dose of butter (2 sticks to be exact). Not quite the healthy recipe my colleague was looking for. So, with a few little tricks and the help of the natural sweetness found in fruits, I am thrilled to share with her, as well as with you, my "cookin' lean" take on Apple Crisp.

Serves 6


3 medium apples (Gala or Fuji)

• 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1/4 cup sugar substitute (Splenda or Stevia)

• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour & whole wheat flour (half/half)

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:

¼ cup all-purpose flour & whole wheat flour (half/half)

• 2 tablespoons sugar substitute (Splenda or Stevia)

• 2 tablespoons cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

• 3 tablespoons cold “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” , diced

• 2 tablespoons honey


 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large chunks. Place the apples in a large bowl and add the zests, juices, “sugar”, flours, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch oval baking dish. (I used a pie pan and it worked perfectly!)

For the topping:

Combine the flours, sugars, salt, oatmeal, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (hand-held mixer also works well). Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the apples, covering the apples completely.

Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm; perhaps with a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt?!?!


 I am pretty sure you will fall in love with this before it even comes out of the oven! Just the scent it creates to fill your kitchen is enough to get you excited about digging into this dessert. Who needs a Yankee Candle when you have a yummy dessert like this in the over? With a little scoop of light vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, you are talkin' about an express ticket to Apple Crisp Paradise. I am not kidding.

When it came to making this dessert light, I found answers in the natural sweetness of fruits and honey. With the orange, lemon, apples and honey, there is little need for all that sugar. I haven't tried it yet, but I would guess that if you left out the sugar entirely, even the Splenda, it would still turn out delicious. As for the topping, there is no need for two sticks of butter to create a crispy, yummy crust. Classic case of overkill.With just 3 tablespoons of ICBINB and the sticky honey, the other ingredients were able to form the crumbles we were looking for. That butter ingredient change alone cut 143 grams of fat out of this recipe! It's hard to believe, isn't it?

It's fall, which means it's apple season. The time when you will find the best tasting apples around. An Apple Crisp is the perfect dessert for this time of year. You have the recipe. Now go get some apples!



  1. Hi, Lindsay,
    I had just told my 6-year old daughter about this wonderful Ina G. recipe and that we were going to make it to serve to the fam tonight, but I, too, was ready to "downsize" it as I knew it wouldn't be very healthy with all that butter and sugar. So I am glad I stumbled on your website and this recipe! What a find! And you have saved me some work since you've already figured it out for us. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you! I just printed out Ina Garten's Apple Crisp recipe, but there is sooooooo much butter in it! I tried Cooking Light magazine for possibilities, but with no luck. This looks PERFECT! Again, thank you!



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