It’s holiday season! I love this time of year: from Halloween through New Years things are just so festive, filled with family gatherings, days off from work, vacations, and of course – delicious food. Part of that category of delicious food are those amazing desserts that make their appearances around the holidays: pumpkin pie, sugar and spiced cookies, fruit cobblers, cheesecakes, the list could go on and on.
A lot of people have asked me how I balance my love of dessert with my passion for healthy eating around the holidays. My answer is always the same: everything in moderation – a little bit of indulgence never hurt anyone 🙂
I never deprive myself around this time of the year – but instead I just focus on portion sizes. For example, instead of 1 piece of pumpkin pie, 1 piece of apple pie and some ice cream to top it off, I’ll either take half a slice of each, or just stick to one small slice of pumpkin pie. And I never scarf my desserts down, I always eat them mindfully, savoring every bite. That way it doesn’t disappear in 5 seconds, and I’m satisfied after I’m done with my reasonably-sized portion.
Now, sometimes a recipe comes along that is somewhat guilt-free: either it’s slightly lower in calories or fat than the traditional version of the dessert, or is higher in fiber/has more nutrients. Today’s recipe, from my friends at Smart Balance, is one of those desserts: A Cherry Berry Crumble Pie with a homemade crust. The secret swap is this: by using Smart Balance Omega-3 Buttery Sticks instead of regular butter, they cut the fat by 28% without losing the great flavor you’re used to in a traditional pie.
1 cup all purpose flour (The Picky Eater Swap: use whole wheat flour instead of regular all purpose flour – it works great)
6 tablespoons Smart Balance Omega-3 Buttery Sticks, cold, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1 ounce sliced almonds, finely chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry oatmeal, processed in food processor until coarsely ground
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons Smart Balance Omega-3 Buttery Sticks
1 cup pomegranate cherry juice (The Picky Eater Swap: Try sugar-free juice to eliminate some calories & sugar)
24 oz frozen pitted tart cherries, thawed, juice drained and reserved
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup dried blueberries
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
- Place all, but the water in a medium bowl.
- Using a pastry cutter, or 2 knives, cut the Smart Balance Buttery Sticks into the flour to achieve a “pea” size crumble.
- Stir in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and gently form into a ball. Do not knead the dough.
- Place on a sheet of plastic wrap, top with another sheet of plastic wrap.
- Press down to flatten slightly and roll to a 10-inch diameter circle.
- Place dough (covered with the plastic wrap) on a dinner plate and refrigerate 15 minutes to chill quickly.
- Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap from the chilled dough and place dough in a 9-inch pie pan (plastic wrap side up).
- Remove the remaining plastic wrap, press down lightly to fit the dough into the pan, and set aside.
- Combine finely chopped almonds, brown sugar, coarsely ground oatmeal and flour in a medium mixing bowl.
- Cut in Smart Balance Buttery Sticks until mixed and crumbly; set aside.
- To make filling, boil pomegranate cherry juice in a medium saucepan until reduced to 1/2 cup.
- Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup of reserved cherry juice drained from thawed cherries with cornstarch until blended.
- Stir cornstarch juice mixture into reduced juice in saucepan and whisk until blended and smooth. Stir in sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook and stir 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.
- Mix hot liquid filling with cherries and dried blueberries.
- Pour fruit filling into pie crust. Sprinkle topping over filling.
- Place pie in preheated oven. Bake 12 minutes, and reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.
- Cool completely before serving.
Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 to 10 servings
Per serving (crust and filling) 8-serving yield: 437 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat, 4g monounsaturated fat, 411mg Omega-3 fatty acids, 554mg Omega-6 fatty acids, 15mg cholesterol, 181mg sodium, 76g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g protein
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I hope everyone has a healthy, happy holiday season!