While I have sworn off of sugar, I have not sworn off of dessert, so I have been experimenting with doing some baking with stevia. Stevia is a non-caloric sweetener that is derived from a plant (I have one growing in the greenhouse right now), and it is available as a powder or a liquid. My preferred brand is from Now foods, marketed as Better Stevia (no, they did not compensate me in any way for this post, I just like their product). If you cannot find stevia in your regular grocery story, try a health food or organic grocery. Stevia features in this dessert, as do these beautiful, local apricots:
These little cakes are leavened only with egg whites, so they will fall a bit after they come out of the oven, but will retain a very light texture. The apricots were ripe and sweet, so I used three droppers of stevia and ended up with a lightly sweet, very adult dessert. If you don’t have any issues with sugar, substitute honey in the amounts listed in the recipe. If you like sweeter desserts, increase the amount a bit. Note that stevia can taste bitter if you use too much, so start small and work your way up. Here they are right out of the oven:
I like to invert the cakes so you can see the fruit, and then serve them with a little crema or Greek yogurt. However, they are fun to scoop right out of the ramekins, too.
These are also grain-and-gluten-free, so they will work well for people with sensitivities. Straight stevia can be an adjustment if you are used to sugar, but it is wonderful paired with naturally sweet fruits.
- 8-10 fresh apricots
- 5 tablespoons soft butter, divided
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup almond flour (almond meal)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 3 droppers full of stevia extract (or 3 tablespoons honey)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the apricots, then cut them in half and remove the pits. Use one tablespoon of the butter to coat the bottom and sides of four, one-cup ramekins. Place four or five of the apricot halves in each ramekin (enough to cover the bottom).
- Separate your eggs, placing the yolks in one mixing bowl and the whites in another. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Stir the almond flour, vanilla, lemon zest, and stevia (or honey) into the the egg yolks. Melt the remaining butter, and stir it into the egg yolk mixture. Spoon about a third of the beaten egg whites into the mixture and fold it in to loosen the mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg whites in, and stop as soon as the egg whites are just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly over the apricots.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are puffed and feel "set" when you tap them. Remove and cool for five minutes. If you want to invert the cakes, run a sharp knife around the edges, place the serving plates on top of the ramekin, then flip it over and tap sharply on the bottom of the ramekin until the cake releases.
Thanks for reading,