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Fall Gathering Dessert: Custardy Apple Squares

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Looking for a delicious fall flavored baked good* to bring to your next gathering? Try this crowd pleaser of a dessert with a short ingredient list and simple prep. And, shhhhhhh, it's surprisingly low in sugar, flour, and butter.

Though I have a high bar for kitchen gadgets, I do own a mandoline, which is highly recommended for this recipe. It quickly and easily creates slices of fruit with even thickness, which is important here. I have two recommendations: Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5 Piece Set, which was America's Test Kitchen's top recommendation, and Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Adjustable Mandoline Vegetable Slicer w/ Handguard, which is their second place choice, and what I use. At under $20, it's paid for itself in the time I've saved, and is easily stored. In fact, no matter how tiny a kitchen we've had (and it was TINY in England), I've always found it worth the real estate it occupies.

The best thing about this recipe is that there are so many possibilities to make it your own. You can add spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger; change the fruit from apples to pears or use a combination (the author of the recipe also suggests trying firm mangoes or very thinly sliced quince); add a tablespoon or two of dark rum, calvados, bourbon, or Grand Marnier or an 1/8th of a teaspoon of almond extract; and if you want to add a finishing touch, you can sprinkle with a little turbinado sugar mixed with cinnamon. The result is a cross between a cake and a bread pudding and it's loaded with fruit. No matter how you decide to make it, it always disappears quickly.

Some of my clients have been shocked and relieved to learn that, yes, personal trainers/nutrition coaches do eat dessert, occasionally, as should you. Life is short! No, you can't "work it off", but what matters most is that you're consistently eating healthy (mostly unprocessed whole foods, and lots of plants) most of the time.

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