Monday, November 17, 2008

Low-Sugar Pumpkin and Apple Crumble Recipe

I loved this Low-Sugar Pumpkin and Apple Crumble; perfect for a fall dessert.

Pumpkin Apple Crumble

Last week I was writing a piece for BlogHer about the difference between winter squash and pumpkin, and I came across a recipe for Pumpkin and Apple Crumble at Nami Nami. Well, as you know if you read that post, winter squashes of all types are called pumpkin in many parts of the world, so today I made a low-sugar version of the recipe with butternut squash to add to the collection of Thanksgiving Recipes. Oh yes, it was indeed delicious, and although this is definitely a higher-carb dessert, it's lower in sugar than you might imagine.

Let's talk about the whole low sugar thing. I didn't call this sugar-free because obviously the apples and the dried cranberries have sugar, but I did Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener and other low-calorie sweeteners would work.) I also used a little butter, which isn't strictly following the South Beach Diet but I couldn't bring myself to use margarine in a Thanksgiving recipe. (If you're a faithful South Beacher who's come to terms with margarine, definitely use it, or use coconut oil if you're a fan of that.) Finally, if you're the nice reader who wrote to me recently asking for a recipe for apple crisp, please make the recipe with all apples if that seems more appealing to you. 

First the squash (or pumpkin) and apples are sauteed in the tiniest possible amount of butter, with granulated Stevia (or sweetener of your choice), cinnamon, and a few dried cranberries.

Then the partially cooked mixture is spread into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. I used a crockery dish, but glass would work well too.

Since I had all that guilt about using butter, I wanted to use the smallest amount possible! I put the butter into the freezer for about 30 minutes, then grated it to make very thin pieces of butter, which I mixed into the crumble topping.

After the crumble mixture is well blended, it's spread in a thin layer over the top of the fruit. (There was quite a bit of this mixture, so if you're trying to make this as diet-friendly as possible, you could get by with a bit less.)

Then the dish is baked about 30 minutes, until the top is starting to get golden brown. If you're cooking it in a toaster oven like I did, rotate the pan so yours doesn't get too brown on one side!

Low-Sugar Pumpkin and Apple Crumble with Cranberries
(Makes about 8 servings, recipe adapted from Pumpkin and Apple Crumble at Nami Nami.)

1 lb. butternut squash (or pumpkin) cubes (just over 4 cups cut squash cubes)
4 apples, chopped (I used 2 gala apples and 2 granny smith)
2 tsp. butter (or margarine)
1/3 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or sweetener of your choice; use sugar if you prefer and don't care about the low-sugar part)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or use a bit more cinnamon)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional, these are relatively high in sugar so leave them out if you want to reduce the sugar)

Crumble Topping Ingredients:
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or use regular white flour)
1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup rolled oats (use regular or quick-cooking oatmeal, but not instant or extra-thick)
1/2 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or sweetener of your choice)
3-4 T butter (put butter in the freezer when you start the recipe)

Cut butternut squash into same-size cubes about 1/2 inch square. (Here is how to peel and cut up a butternut squash if you haven't done it.) Melt 2 tsp. butter in large non-stick frying pan and start to saute squash over low heat while you cut up apples. As you peel and cut apple into small pieces add it to frying pan, then add 1/3 cup sweetener, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and cranberries. Cook the mixture until squash is fairly soft, about 10 minutes.

While mixture cooks, combine flour, almond meal, oatmeal, and 1/2 cup sweetener in a plastic bowl. Remove butter from freezer and using the large side of a metal grater, grate pieces of butter until you have 3-4 T, as measured by the markings on the side of the butter wrapper. (I used somewhere between 3 and 4 T of butter.) Then use a pastry blender or fork to combine the mixture until the butter is well distributed and the mixture looks crumbly.

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Pour cooked squash/apple mixture into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch casserole dish. (I recommend using a crockery or glass casserole dish, if you only have a metal pan, I would spray it with non-stick spray.) Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of apple/squash mixture in an even layer. Bake 30 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly bubbling and lightly browned on top. Serve hot. (Of course if you're not dieting this would be great with whipped cream or ice cream on top.)

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
If you're trying to make this as South Beach Diet friendly as possible, there are a couple of options. Of course, use Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener  or another low-calorie sweetener instead of sugar. You could eliminate the dried cranberries, which are relatively high in sugar and certainly not essential. I replaced the white flour with white whole wheat, but you could use all almond meal. Finally, you could use margarine or coconut oil instead of butter, which would certainly reduce the saturated fat. (I would love to hear how it turns out from people who try any of these options.)

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Low-Sugar Desserts for Thanksgiving:
Reduced Sugar Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sugar-Free Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

Low Carb Cheesecake Two Ways

Peach and Berry Cobbler Recipe

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

counter customizable free hit
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. If the apples are right and it's a butternut, it would seem no sugar would be needed.
    I'm so excited to see somebody else freeze and grate butter - I think it's one of the best tricks in my arsenal!

    Beautiful dish Kalyn.

  2. Love the freeze 'n' grate tip for the butter. This is so cool: a vegetable in a dessert!

  3. Tanna, you are always so on top of things. I was proud of myself for thinking of it. Maybe I read it on your blog, who knows? Not sure how it would have been with less sugar, but I'm going to make this with all apples and I might cut down a bit.

    Yes, veggies in a dessert! And it was delicious.

    ttfn, thanks. (Yes, I know your name but I'm not sure you want to use it?)

  4. Looks like the perfect dessert for Turkey Day!

  5. This sounds really delicious, and healthy too considering it's dessert!

  6. All the flavors of New England wrapped into one crumble -- delicious! I always freeze butter for grating; can't remember where I first learned about that technique.

  7. Maria and Sara, thanks.

    Lydia, I'm sure I read it somewhere too, but no idea where!

  8. That looks fantastic! As someone who is slightly allergic to wheat this is an awesome alternative to scraping the filling out of a pumpkin pie crust!

  9. If you can't have wheat, I'd use all almond meal and skip the flour. I'm going to try it that way next time.

  10. Kalyn, you're so sweet :) I'm glad I managed to inspire you and your adaptation sounds excellent (and looks pretty, too!)
    Re: freezing butter - I don't freeze butter,but I often grate fridge-cold butter directly into the batter, when I've forgotten to take it out to soften first.

  11. If you can't have wheat, try it with Teff! Yummy...

  12. Thanks...looks so good will have try this. Wanted something different for Thanksgiving. I can't have gluten and daughter dairy...but tweek everything.

  13. I was that reader that wrote to you and thanks for the recipe before thanksgiving....I'm so excited to try this I may make with the apple and fresh cranberries (cooked down with a lil splenda...the sauce gets nice and thick on it's own) and one with the butternut squash and maybe pecans in the filling or topping...
    I have heard of bakers having success with all almond flour though I've never tried it myself (I may this time) to the commenter with the wheat allergy...def try it with all almond or nut flour. Thanx so much for this recipe!!!

  14. Anonymous, glad you spotted it. The first one I tried (the day I got your e-mail) was horrible. (We will not mention what cookbook it was from, let's just say the recipe was not a keeper.) Pille's recipe was great and easy to adapt. I'm going to make again soon with all apples.

  15. This looks yummy!

    I used to do South Beach and lost 30 pounds. I no longer stick to it but I do eat "low sugar"

    I use agave nectar which has a low glycemic index and tastes SO much better than Splenda. It looks like Maple Syrup but tastes more like a sugar syrup. I use it in all of my baking and in my coffee too.

    Try it! It's in most local supermarkets now or you can get it at or food co-ops.

  16. Topiary Lady, I have written about agave nectar and used it. I don't think it would work in the crumble topping here, but might work when you're sauteeing the apples and pumpkin. I like it too. use it on Greek yogurt a lot.

  17. I think Splenda works really well in dishes like this. My dad is a diabetic so my mom and I bake a lot with it. I'll have to tell her about this crumble, because he loves pumpkin and apples. Thanks, Kalyn!

  18. Susan, hope your dad likes it. The splenda was great here. I don't make a lot of sweets so I'm not worried about using a little Splenda once in a while. Thanks for chiming in about it too!

  19. lovely recipe and very timely as Whole Foods has pie pumpkins on sale for 99cents/pound

  20. I will immediately begin grating and freezing butter. If Tanna and Kalyn do it, it's a great idea!

    Really, Kalyn, this looks wonderful. I hope to make it and report back.

  21. Oh, and Lydia, too!

    Why didn't I think of this before?

  22. That looks so good! I really like the sound of using pumpkin in a crisp or a crumble!

  23. I am THRILLED to have found your website!!!! I've been on/off the SB diet for a couple years now - worked GREAT for losing that excess post-pregnancy weight. I've always had a hard time finding yummy recipes, so I only stay on it to lose a few lbs....but NOW, I am ready to use the recipes on your site for a long-term lifestyle change. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am going to recommend your site to all my friends!!

  24. This looks so delicious and different. All these fall flavors co-mingling. Love it.

  25. Kalyn, you rock! I saw your post at BlogHer and followed the link over here b/c my dad is diabetic and we're looking for a good dessert recipe for him for Thanksgiving. I feel like if you say it's good then it must be good. :-)


  26. Thanks everyone, it was truly delicious. I'm also going to be posting a version where I used all apples and eliminated the flour and used all almond meal. I put the oatmeal and almond meal in the food processor and pulsed it into a slightly finer topping. Loved that version too, and because there's no flour it would be gluten free and even lower-glycemic. Hope to get it posted today!

  27. I used coconut sugar (low glycemic) still in oven...smells fab so far ;) I'll post after I devour...

  28. Anonymous, I haven't tried coconut sugar, sounds very interesting. Hope you'll come back and tell us how it turns out.

  29. Hi Kalyn. This recipe looks great. My wife and I were looking for something different to make this Fall with apples and I stumbled across this recipe! Also, I have never heard of grating butter. Very cool tip.

  30. Hi Matt,
    Grating the butter is a perfect way to use portion control on the butter! I loved this recipe; hope you like it. You can use all sugar if you're not into the low-glycemic thing.

  31. this is AWESOME! i just stumbled on your site searching for an apple crisp recipe using Splenda - seems I'm going to be spending a lot of time cooking up your many wonderful South Beach creations! thank you :)

  32. Donna, you're welcome. Glad you're enjoying the recipes.

  33. Kalyn, you've just brought back good memories -. will be making this again this week already!

  34. Pille, I remember it well, and need to make it again here too.


I'm so happy you're taking the time to comment on Kalyn's Kitchen! I love hearing from people who stop by, especially if you're sharing feedback or asking questions about a recipe I've posted here.

I've recently changed my comment settings so people can comment without signing in, but you will need to check the box to show you're a live person, and comments on older posts won't show up until I publish them. Thanks for understanding!

And if you really like the recipe, Pins, Shares, Tweets, and Yums are always appreciated!

Blogging tips