Apple-icious – not just desserts!

Barbara Wilson

Apples are the ultimate convenience food – low in calories, high in taste and very, very handy! It’s always worth having an apple in your bag, on your desk or even in the car to avoid that snack attack. Apples are also so versatile – they are great to cook with and can be added to a whole host of dishes – sweet and savoury - to give flavour, sweetness and crunch.

- Apple sauce can be used to replace some fat in many recipes, as a side for pork and even in meaty sandwiches. Add a little sugar and it’s a quick and easy dessert - just stew dessert apples in a little water and your apple sauce is ready in 5 minutes!

- Side orders – add chopped apple to home made or shop bought low-fat cole slaw for lots of crunch but few calories. Apples can also be used to make chutneys and pickles to see us through the winter months. Add cored and quartered apples for the last 20 minutes or so when you are roasting pork to serve on the side with vegetables.

- Just juice – apple juice is not only a refreshing drink with less than 80 calories in a glass, but can be used to poach pork, bacon or chicken and in casseroles and sauces in place of water or stock.

Apple muffins

Perfect for breakfast on the go or a mid-afternoon snack.

Combine 150g each of plain and wholemeal flour, 1 tbs of baking powder and 50g of soft brown sugar. In a jug, mix together an egg, 300ml of skimmed milk, 2 tbs of lemon juice, 1 tbs of apple sauce, 2 tbs vegetable oil and 2 tbs of runny honey. Add this to the flour mixture, along with 75g of no-added-sugar muesli and 4 small or 3 medium-sized grated eating apples (skins on) and mix until combined but still rough.

Spoon into 12 muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 C. Each muffin has only 180 calories and less than 4g of fat!

Apple desserts

From puddings and pie, tarts and crumbles, apples are just made for desserts! Apples baked with dried fruit and spices make the perfect pudding or try this lower fat spin on the classic Tarte Tatin:

Spray a baking tin (8-inch, 20 centimeters in diameter) with cooking spray or grease lightly with polyunsaturated margarine. Peel and core 6 eating apples. Cut into thin slices and arrange around the base of the tin in a circular pattern. Roll out a sheet of thawed puff pastry until it is about 3mm in thickness and use to cover the apples.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 200C or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Take the tin from the oven and quickly invert so that the pastry is on the base. Gently heat 2 tbs of apricot jam until it is runny and brush generously over the apples. Allow to cool slightly and dust with icing sugar before serving. Each slice (1/6) has less than 200 calories and 10g of fat.

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