McMan’s Safe Cinnamon Apple Crisp

John McManamy Health Guide
  • I’m sitting here with a bag of tart fall apples that I will never make any headway with, one apple at a time. I could bake them up in an apple pie, but butter is like a loaded gun to me. Double crust apple pies typically call for three or four sticks of butter, which translates to somewhere around 12 to 15 grams of saturated fat per slice, about the same as a McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese, and we haven’t even gotten around to the mandatory scoop of ice cream.

    I’ve heard of innocent people being terrorized by apple pie-wielding street gangs.

    Fortunately, there’s an elegant and simple solution. If you know how to turn the oven on, you’re in business.
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    McMan’s Safe Cinnamon Apple Crisp

    Peel, core, and slice about six tart apples. For those who regard food prep as a chore, this is by far the toughest part of the recipe. In the right frame of mind, however, a bit of tedium and monotony translates into restful Zen quiet. To prevent the apple slices from browning, I stick them in a bowl with some lemon juice, which also adds a flavor kick.

    In the bowl, stir in about a quarter cup of Splenda, and sprinkle in some cinnamon and nutmeg. As well as the lemon juice, I like to grate a lemon with a zester and toss in the zest (the rest of the lemon is pressed into service as ice water flavoring).

    Pour the apple slices into an 8 x 8 baking dish and splash in maybe a quarter cup of orange or cranberry juice.

    Now for the topping. Some recipes call for rolled oats. I opt for very lightly toasting three slices of bread – just enough to dry the slices somewhat without browning them or making them crisp - then I tear the slices and blend at low speed for a very brief time till I have crumbs. Toss the crumbs on top of the slices with a bit of cinnamon.

    There. It’s that simple. Did you remember to turn on the oven? Thirty to 45 minutes at 350 should do the trick, when you see the filling bubbling and the topping turning crispy brown.

    Well before then, you will be tantalized by the aroma of baking cinnamon, the most sinfully enticing scent on earth. But this is safe cinnamon, cinnamon without consequences. The fatty gunk that usually accompanies cinnamon is not there. Live it up. Serve hot with your favorite (low fat) ice cream.
Published On: November 13, 2006