EATING well

Recipes: Chewy Apple Pie, Pear-Cranberry Linzer Tart won't break your calorie bank

A dazzling pear-cranberry linzer tart, left, with a chewy apple pie.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

A dazzling pear-cranberry linzer tart, left, with a chewy apple pie.

Recently, I cooked up a healthy Thanksgiving feast for Personal Best readers. And since I love baking, I couldn't resist trying a couple more dessert recipes that looked good. We thought these two would work for any time of year, so if you're hosting holiday dinners or need something tasty and not too terribly caloric for a potluck, I'd recommend these festive treats.

Chewy Apple Pie

This apple pie alternative from the American Heart Association has a dense texture that makes it closer to a confection than traditional pie, but it will only set you back 163 calories per slice. It begs for a ¼ cup of low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt for 50 extra calories (my favorite is the Publix brand). That compares to double crust apple pie, which ranges from 300 to 400 calories per slice; top it with a small scoop of premium brand ice cream and add as much as 200 additional calories.

You don't really need to drag out a mixer; I mixed it by hand with a whisk. I suggest you add a teaspoon of cinnamon and give the apples a big squeeze of lemon juice while chopping to prevent browning. I used egg whites from two whole eggs rather than an egg substitute.

8 servings; 163 calories per slice

Cooking spray

3/4 cup sugar

2 large egg whites

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cored, diced, peeled apples

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, dry-roasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8-inch pie pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar, egg whites, baking powder and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the flour until well blended. Stir in apples and nuts. Transfer to the pie pan. Bake for 30 minutes. The batter will puff up slightly as it bakes, then collapse as it cools. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional information per serving: 163 calories, 5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 64mg sodium, 28g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 3g protein.

Source: Healthy Soul Food by the American Heart Association

Pear-Cranberry Linzer Tart

This delicious tart comes from Weight Watchers. It has just 150 calories per slice. If you're following the new Weight Watchers plan that was introduced last month, that's 4 PointsPlus.

I made the one you see here several days before serving (and before it was photographed) and kept it refrigerated. So before presenting it, I melted about a tablespoon or two of apricot preserves in a small bowl in the microwave, about 10 seconds, and brushed it over the pears to make them shiny. Adds a few calories, but it's worth it.

Also, the recipe calls for white whole wheat flour. I used half whole wheat and half all-purpose, since that's what I had on hand. The recipe didn't say to peel the pears, but I did — just my preference.

1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped

5 tablespoons light stick butter

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

2 large egg whites

1/3 cup raspberry preserves

½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 large, ripe pears, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch removable-bottom tart pan with nonstick spray and dust with flour.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Put almonds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped; measure out 1 tablespoon almonds and set aside.

Add butter and brown sugar to remaining almonds; pulse until blended. Add egg whites and pulse until blended. Add flour mixture and pulse until combined. Scrape mixture into tart pan and press evenly on bottom of pan; dampen fingers if dough is too sticky. Spread evenly with preserves, leaving a ½-inch clear border. Set aside 1 tablespoon cranberries and sprinkle remaining cranberries over preserves.

Mix granulated sugar and cornstarch together in a cup. Place pears in medium bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch mixture; toss gently to combine. Arrange pear slices in pan on top of crust in concentric circles. Sprinkle with reserved 1 tablespoon almonds and 1 tablespoon cranberries.

Bake tart until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 50 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. To serve, remove tart ring and cut tart into 16 slices.

Nutritional information per serving: 150 calories, 4g fat, 6mg cholesterol, 37mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 3g protein.

Source: adapted from Weight Watchers' Healthy and Happy Celebrations cookbook

Recipes: Chewy Apple Pie, Pear-Cranberry Linzer Tart won't break your calorie bank 12/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 17, 2010 3:30am]

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