Summer is a time to throw caution to the winds – but don't let your diet get TOO far out of control. Fruit-based desserts are perfect for summer, and this antioxidant-rich, whole-grain blueberry crisp is much lower in fat than its typical counterparts.
Place 6 to 7 cups of blueberries into a large bowl. If you find yourself with an overabundance of fresh berries, this is a great place to use them. Otherwise, frozen berries will work fine.
Microwave the berries for 5 minutes: to thaw if frozen, or simply to get their juices flowing a bit if fresh.
Combine the berries with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, the juice of half a lemon, 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (for fresh berries), or 1/2 cup flour (for frozen). I always use King Arthur flour (and this recipe is based in part on one on their recipe site).
Spoon the berries into a lightly greased 9" x 2" round pan, or 8" square pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet (it makes it easier to handle, and catches any potential spills), and bake the berries in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour.
While the berries bake, put together your crisp topping.
Unlike the usual flour/sugar/butter topping, this healthier "crisp" is based on Grapenuts, a high-protein, fiber-rich, whole-grain cereal that provides lots of crunch without a ton of accompanying fat.
Mix 1/2 cup Grapenuts with 1/2 cup diced walnuts or pecans, and 1/3 cup brown sugar, stirring to thoroughly combine.
Remove the bubbling berries from the oven, and sprinkle them with about 2/3 of the topping. Return to the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, just until the topping starts to brown a bit. Remove the crisp from the oven, and sprinkle with the remaining topping.
Let the crisp cool for about 15 minutes before serving. A dollop of lower-fat whipped cream or frozen yogurt is a great accompaniment.
Yield: about 8 servings.
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Breast cancer survivor and award-winning author PJ Hamel_, a long-time contributor to the HealthCentral community, counsels women with breast cancer through the volunteer program at her local hospital. She founded and manages a large and active online survivor support network. _