This all-purpose “apple” filling is great to use in any recipe that calls for apples, such as a pie or tart, cake, bread, pancakes, fritters or even applesauce. They are delicious on their own or served with keto ice cream. Their taste and texture is amazingly and truly like apples! Chayote squash is an almost tasteless, mild and firm squash, so it’s a perfect low carb substitute for apples. Simmered with apple pie spices, a zero-carb sweetener and lemon juice for tartness, it readily absorbs those flavors. Although it is optional, I think the addition of apple extract or flavoring is important to achieve the best apple-like flavor. I use Capella Double Apple flavoring (see photo below) and only a few drops is enough to impart a realistic “appleness” to this recipe. (You can leave it out and the recipe will still work fine, but the result may not give you the full apple punch, in my opinion.) I’m offering this basic recipe as a prelude to more “apple” recipes to come. Once you try these apples, I think you’ll be as delighted as I am to have this low carb alternative in your recipe box.
Low Carb “Apple” Pie Filling
Makes 2 cups
2 cups chayote squash, peeled, seeded and cut into thin slices (2-3 squash, depending on size)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons golden erythritol sweetener, or to taste (I use LaKanto Golden)
2 teaspoons apple pie spice blend
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon apple extract or 10 drops apple flavoring (I used Capella Double Apple), optional
6-8 drops monkfruit extract or stevia, if additional sweetness is needed
Water, if needed
In a medium to large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the squash, sweetener, apple pie spice and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding water if needed to keep the apples hydrated (you don’t want them to dry out). Once the squash begins to soften, add the apple extract and monkfruit extract or stevia to taste. Continue cooking, covered, until the squash is tender, about 5-10 more minutes. You want the “apples” to be fork-tender. (If you plan to eat them without additional cooking, such as in a recipe that is baked, make sure they are very soft and no longer have any crunch.)
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle or store in an airtight container for up to a week. You can use this filling in any recipe that calls for apples, such as a pie or tart, apple cake or bread. Or serve warm with whipped cream or keto vanilla ice cream.
Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup: 67 calories, 4.2 g carbohydrates (1.8 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g sugars), 5.9 g total fat (3.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 43 mg sodium, 27.6 mg calcium, 100 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 66 mg Vit A, 9 mg Vit C, 0.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.4 grams
Note: Compared to no sugar added, canned apple pie filling, this recipe is about 10 carbs LESS per 1/2 cup!
Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.