I saw a Martha Stewart video the other day. She was making a chocolate cake and I believed her when she said it was one of the best. But the sugar —- 2 cups! And then 1 1/2 cups of confectionery sugar in the frosting. If I made that cake I would to have lots of folks over to eat it, because it would be too tempting to keep in the house. Bill and I would want to eat the entire cake.
Both of us have a craving for something “sweet” each and every day. But reaping a lot of health problems from great amounts of sugar (which seem to be prevalent in most American diets) was something we didn’t want. So we found a way to deal with the craving for sweets many years ago.
How We Do It
The best way we’ve found involves fruit of some kind.
When apples are in season, we enjoy fruit salads. Apples, pineapple, raisins, nuts tossed with a teaspoon or so of olive oil mayonnaise. Very satisfying.
But most of the time we have small fruit pies (blueberries, apples or apricot) or fruit (raspberry or strawberry) muffins. Delicious and satisfying, but with a minimum amount of sweetener. (I never use sugar. Depending on what I’m making I use a small amount of honey, or stevia, or nothing.)
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries come out of my garden and I freeze a lot for winter use. Apples come from Golden Acres Orchard in season. Organic dried apricots I order on line and only use when I’m out of everything else. Because our fruits have no poisons on them, they not only satisfy the craving but benefit nutritionally as well.
Sweetener requirements for the various recipes:
- In the Strawberry muffins I use 2 tsps of stevia which is equivalent to 2 cups of sugar. (You might be saying to yourself — why can’t I subsitute 2 tsps of stevia for the 2 cups of sugar in Martha Stewart’s chocolate cake. I think the cake might need the 2 cups for mass as well as sweetener. I for one would not know how to solve that problem.)
- For a small blueberry pie that uses 3/4 to 1 cup of blueberries, I use 2 rounded serving-spoons of honey. (I also add a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon flour, and a squirt of lemon juice to the berries.)
- No sweetener is needed for apricot pie.
- Nor do I use any sweetener in the apple pies. We enjoy the tart/sweetness of our York apples.
In a prior post on Indian pies I show in detail how to make a crust. From one crust – which my Better Homes and Gardens cook books says is enough to make 1 double crust pie – I get up to
- 5 small apricot pies or
- 3 blueberries pies or
- 3 apple pies.
I make my crust up, make the daily pie, and keep the remaining crust wrapped in plastic wrap in the frig for the next pies. Keeps beautifully for at least 3 days and sometimes longer.
The only one that takes a bit more doing than a regular pie is the small apple pie. A regular pie with a “whole” crust cooks for about 50 minutes. The crust is thick enough to take cooking that long and comes out perfectly.
Since I only use 1/3 that amount for one of my small apple pies, 50 minutes is too long for a small crust to bake. I solve that problem by
- adding a bit of lemon juice, a tablespoon of water, and cinnamon to 3 apples peeled and cut into pieces.
- Cook in a saucepan on top the stove until very soft. Some apples should break apart when you stir.
- Stir to break down some of the apples.
- Cool thoroughly.
- Use 1/2 the apples and reserve the other half for tomorrow’s pie. (You can use all of it if you want.)
- Put the pie together and bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
Hopefully, how we have solved our sweet tooth problem will give you some ideas of how to solve yours if you have one.
Want to Cut Out Sugar?
If you want to cut out sugar, try continually decreasing the amount you use by one tablespoon over a period of time. Sugar (like salt) is an acquired taste, so you can acquire a taste for less sugar as well. After a period of time, you might find that you are enjoying the taste of the food like you use to enjoy the sweetness.
One tip about Stevia in case you’re new to using it:
It works for me in the Strawberry Muffins —- but even then I have to be careful. If I get just a sprinkle too much – the muffins will have a slight bitterness that is distinctly Stevia.
I’ve also tried it in the blueberry pies without success. I added only 1/4 tsp and by our taste — it ruined the pie. That distinctive Stevia taste was still there.
If you don’t have your own strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries consider growing some. They’re easy and very rewarding.
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