Thursday, March 12, 2009

Healthy sweet fix - Apple & Muesli

Apple and Berry Muesli Crumble
Home Cooking


Trying to stay on a diet can be an absolute pain when you have a sweet tooth like mine. Maybe it's not that difficult cutting down main meals and what not but time and time again, I lose it when I give up to cake or cookie cravings.

Recently I was with a group of friends talking about cheesecake. This has triggered a chain occurrence of cheesecake cravings. Every afternoon since, without fail, I'd find myself fantasizing about cheesecake. Charlie offered to drive out and buy me a slice but I declined under the false pretense that I needed to stick to the diet. That was rubbish because at the time, I didn't give a rat's arse about the diet - it was more so the fact that I knew the cheesecake I wanted wasn't purchasable from anywhere nearby.

Thinking of tall, dense slice of baked cheesecake... New York or French style.

Gratefully, over time I got over it but a bit of a sweet food craving remained. I kept telling myself woefully that it's been ages since I've had any form of decent 'dessert' (not counting ice-cream, that is).

Nonetheless, willpower prevailed and I ended up deciding to IGNORE the blocks of chocolate in my fridge (bought for brownie-making) and went for an apple crumble instead.

I had read about apple crumble where the 'crumble' was made out of muesli. It just so happens that nowadays, I'm in a bit of a yogurt obsession phase (probably because it's the only sweet food I can indulge on guilt-free) and I love bircher muesli.

Grocery shopping last night, I spent a good 10min picking and re-picking the perfect muesli for me. Just earlier that day, I read a recipe for muesli that involved hazelnuts and almonds and I was determined to find one loaded with nuts. In the end, I couldn't so I just bought an extra packet of nuts to mix in.

For the purpose of making an apple crumble... it would do.

Apple and Berry Muesli Crumble
Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium green apple
  • 1/4 cup of frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup fruit juice (I used V8 mixed fruit juice)
  • 1/4-1/3 tsp cinnamon (depending on how strong you prefer it)
  • 1/4 cup muesli
  • 1 tbsp wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
Procedure:

1. Peel and core the apple - chop into small cubes.
2. Mix the apples, berries, juice and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl until all the fruit is evenly coated. The juice adds moisture and sweetness - it helps the fruit cook by poaching them in the liquid. If you want added sweetness, try using jam.
3. For the crumble, toss the muesli with the flour and then, rub in butter until it has a crumb-like texture.4. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
5. Distribute the fruit into 2 ramekins.6. Cover with crumble mix.7. Pop them into the oven for about 5-10min until the top is beginning to get golden and crunchy.
8. Serve with natural yogurt.

When I tasted this crumble, this first thing I thought was 'this muesli is fantastic'. I detected a good portion of hazelnuts and sunflower seeds - i.e. the extra nut mix I bought was probably unnecessary. My crumble was a bit too sweet because I used jam in the fruit mixture but this was balanced well by the yogurt (I use Jalna low fat vanilla).

In fact, it was so good with the yogurt that I decided to layer some of the apple crumble together with extra muesli into 1/2 a tub of yogurt. I kept it in a sealed container in the fridge overnight and ate it this morning for breakfast.

So good.

Definitely try this recipe yourself (or modify with other fruit, flavors etc) and then go for the breakfast version the next morning. It's not 'exactly' the same as a New York cheesecake but it sure beats having the guilt!

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