Order Dessert

No, the cat doesn’t have my tongue; I am just swamped by a couple of online classes on which I’m working. They’re due to wrap up early next week. In time for me to give extra thanks on Thanksgiving.

Thinking on Thanksgiving, this begins the season when, if not careful, one starts packing on the pounds. I am here to encourage you to order dessert anyway. There can be a couple of schools of thought revolving around dessert justification. The first is to plan for it. I have a friend who dated well into her 20’s and didn’t marry until 30. She says on a date she’d often order dessert first so that she would be sure not to fill up on the main meal. And any beau who, when asked if the two of them would be having dessert said, “Nope!” without conferring with her first would never get a second date. She keeps her svelte figure because she plans around the foods she really loves…dessert. I love it! … but my preferred way to circumvent the dessert dilemma is to bake something a little more benign.  In comes my latest love: Apple Butternut Cream Tart. Depending on your choice of crust, this is gluten free and vegan, packed with a protein punch of tofu. Its creaminess will remind you of apple cheesecake. Yumm…

In a blender, blend the following ingredients until smooth:

  • ½ lb silken tofu (about ½ package of firm or extra firm tofu)
  • 1 ½ c cooked butternut squash
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ c coconut milk
  • 1 t ginger (I used a fresh 1-inch square chunk)
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ¼ t cardamom
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 heaping T arrowroot powder (or use 2 T cornstarch to not hunt for arrowroot)

Next for the apple filling:

Use one 15 oz can, approx. 2 cups apple pie filling

Or…   It always tastes better to make your own:

  • 4 large tart apples, sliced and peeled (or not, I don’t usually peel mine)
  • 1-2 t lemon juice
  • ½ c sugar
  • 3 T water
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional: ½ t each: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice

In a large pan heat the apple slices on medium with the lemon juice, water and sugar. Cook until there’s a little sugary apple/lemon juice in the bottom of the pan, and then take out ¼ cup. To that dab of juice, add the rest of the ingredients (or at least cornstarch and salt if you’re leaving out spices) and mix until there are no cornstarch lumps. Pour back over the apples as they continue to cook. Cook until the apples have begun to soften and have begun to thicken with the cornstarch mixture.

Crust and topping:

1 pie crust, prepared; or create your favorite

Granola topping, blend the following together with a fork:

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 3 T coconut oil or butter, softened
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ¼ c shredded coconut (optional)
  • ½ t salt

Assembly:

In a 12-in tart pan (or pie pan – but I do prefer the lowness of the tart pan), press the crust into the bottom of the pan, and about halfway up the edge of the pan. It doesn’t need to go all the way to the top of the tart pan, but you may want it all the way to the top of a pie pan. Pour in the butternut cream. Carefully layer the apples on top of the butternut cream. Then sprinkle the granola atop.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

Allow to set up for at least an hour. Best if chilled because the fillings will have a better chance to firm up.  Enjoy straight up or with a dab of Banilla ice cream.

Whatever you do, order dessert and enjoy it.

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