*This post is sponsored by The American Pecan. All words and opinions are my own, as always.
I don’t usually think of dessert in terms of “no added sugar”. While I try to use unrefined sugars, and hopefully lower amounts in my desserts, a fruit only dessert never even crossed my mind. Well, until I participated in whole30, that is, and suddenly it became the only thing on my mind. With my options severely limited, I started to look at what could be done with fruit. Being something of a pie aficionado, a deconstructed apple pie became the goal. Sweet apples sautéed in ghee with a dash of cinnamon is remarkably good. What makes it great is a drizzle of coconut butter which is almost reminiscent of pie crust, in both taste and mouthfeel.
What makes it an amazing naturally sweetened dessert is the addition of a toasted pecan crumble, giving this dish ‘Dutch Apple Pie’ status, without the added sugar, or even grain, for that matter.
Lightly toasting the pecans gives them an extra crunchy texture and brings out their robust flavor. I chopped them with a few dates in a food processor to turn them into a crumble. Slightly sweet, crunchy, and totally sprinkle-able. Not only do the pecans add a really wonderful, textural element to this dessert, but they also bring a good dose of nutrition. Pecans are a heart-healthy* superfood with “good fats”, plant-based protein and minerals. Compared to other nuts, they’re among the lowest in carbs, and highest in fiber. If all of those factors weren’t enough, they taste amazing making them my go-to nut.
This dessert is best served warm, and just after cooking. The pecan/date crumble can be stored in an airtight container and will keep for weeks in the fridge. Try sprinkling it over yogurt or even eating it as is, like a granola. Toasted pecans turn everything to magic!
- 1 cup Pecan Halves
- 3 Medjool Dates, pits removed
- 6 Pink Lady Apples(can use half apples, half pears, if desired), peeled
- ¼ cup Ghee or Grass-fed Butter
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla or seeds scraped from 1 Vanilla Bean
- ¼ cup Coconut Butter, warmed
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the pecan halves in a single layer across a baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden brown and fragrant. Watch closely as they can burn easily. Remove and let cool completely.
- Roughly chop the dates.
- Add the dates and the cooled pecans to a food processor and pulse together until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs. Set aside.
- Core the apples and slice them into even ½" thick slices.
- Heat the ghee in a saute pan or skillet over medium/high heat. When the ghee is melted and hot, add the apple slices to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples have softened and caramelized, about 6-8 minutes. Add the cinnamon and if using, vanilla bean seeds, and saute for another 30 seconds, fully coating the apples with the spice. Remove from heat. If using vanilla extract, toss in at this point.
- Spoon the apples onto a serving platter.
- Drizzle the warm coconut butter over the apples.
- Sprinkle the top of the apple dish with the pecan crumble.
- Serve warm!
- Note: According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28g) has 18g unsaturated fat and only 2g saturated fat.