JEFF TIEDEMAN: Dessert!Ingredients such as apples, rhubarb can boost nutrition value.
There are two good reasons why I freeze apples each fall: Therese’s homemade apple pie and my apple crisps.
It’s sure nice to go to the freezer and grab a bag of vacuum-sealed apples — no matter what time of the year — especially if we are going to have company and Therese would like to make what most of our family considers one of her specialties, or if I have a request from my grandson, Rakeem, to make apple crisps.
When it comes to desserts, those are probably my two favorites.
Sure, there are others for which I have a fondness, such as the Hershey Dream Bars, which my mom makes during the Christmas holiday season, and her chocolate chip cookies, a year-round standby. (Who needs to wait until October, National Dessert Month?)
Dessert is one of life’s little pleasures. And that’s probably what inspired me to make apple crisps for the residents of Parkwood Place, when I go there Monday for a “Cooking with Jeff” experience.
Periodically, the tenants at the Altru Health System’s independent and basic care facility are treated with a cooking demonstration from the staff, according to Kristie Wolff, activities coordinator at Parkwood Place. Sometimes, guests are invited to come in to give a demonstration.
I thought long and hard about what people would like and finally decided that it would be hard to beat a piece of apple crisp topped with a scoop of ice cream. (These days, it’s not unusual to see apple crisps featured at the top of restaurant dessert menus.)
Northwood Apple Crisps
It seemed like a particularly good idea if the recipe I used was one given to me by a longtime co-worker and friend, Marsha Gunderson. (See recipe at www.grandforksherald.com/ event/tag/group/Features/tag/food/.)
Marsha, who grew up near Northwood, N.D., said the recipe was one used by cooks at Northwood School, when she was a student there. It’s fairly easy to remember, too, since the amount for most of its ingredients is 1 cup.
I affectionately call it my “cuppa” apple crisp recipe. Most others just know it as the Northwood Apple Crisp recipe.
The nice thing about the recipe, Marsha said, is that you can substitute any number of other fruits for the apples. She said she’ll replace apples with cherry pie filling, blueberries, raspberries and even rhubarb, which I may have to try since we have a few bags of the herbaceous plant in the freezer and a fresh crop isn’t that far down the road.
While both Marsha and I prefer home-grown apples for the crisp recipe, those without access to their own supply could replace them with a tart variety such as Granny Smith, which is available year-round in supermarkets. (Be advised, if you use a sweeter apple, the amount of sugar can be cut.)
Many people associate desserts with unhealthy eating and, of course, they most definitely are something we should eat in moderation.
Nutrition in desserts
But I can offer some reasons why those containing fruits such as apples and rhubarb actually are good for you as well as being great comfort food.
For example, apples have no fat, cholesterol or sodium and contain small amounts of potassium, which may promote heart health, help maintain healthy blood pressure and a healthy weight.
And rhubarb is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, high in dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
Now, that’s what I call just desserts.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.