Missing apples this fall?! Chayote squash might just be the answer! Its crisp and juicy texture lends itself as the perfect sub in this keto apple crumble!
Keto Apple Crumble 🍏
i.e. Chayote Squash Crumble
Crisp, sweet, and quite apple-like, chayote is a great low carb apple substitute (with the help of a little bit of extract)! So if you’re missing all things apple this fall, you gotta give this keto apple crumble a go.
If you’ve been doing keto for a while, odds are you’ve heard of chayote squash subbing in for all things apple. From a classic apple pie, to keto apple crumble, and even English minced pies. So we decided to take this traditionally Mexican veggie for a ride.
So how well can chayote squash impersonate an apple? 🔍
The Chayote Squash
Chayote, crisp and mostly taste-less, is an interesting veggie. Related to melons, cucumber and squash, it’s traditionally used in savory dishes in Mexican cuisine.
And aside from being low carb (think just 2.8g net carbs/100g serving), chayote is rich in dietary fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, copper, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. Not to mention a bunch of antioxidants.
And living in Mexico and all, we couldn’t wait to give it a shot given that we adore all things apple come fall.
The Extract 🍏
This apple extract is a real wonder. It helps to up the apple factor up quite a notch. So if whipping anything apple/chayote this fall, make sure to get hold of this extract.
The Acidity 🍋
Apples, unlike chayote, are rather acidic. So you really need to up your acid factor via lemon juice here. I suggest starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding more as needed to taste.
We were oddly divided by this keto mock apple crumble at chez gnom-gnom (as in me, friends and my mom who regularly judge ‘how close to the original I got’). It’s super yummy don’t get me wrong (I wouldn’t be posting it if it weren’t!).
But during tasting, it seemed that the apple-ness factor varied from taste bud to taste bud.
It seems that for some peeps it tastes almost like apples, and to others it simply doesn’t quite do it (yet still confirm it’s a yummy dessert). So I suggest you give it a go, in case you’re one of the lucky few to whom chayote tastes like apples.
In all my tests with chayote, I found that a thickener (i.e. arrowroot etc) is not really needed. You see, chayote has a funny quality in that it releases some water at the beginning of cooking and after 15 minutes or so it soaks it all back in.
So when I added arrowroot (or even tapioca), the crumble came out all dry and clumpy. But when we let it do it’s own thing, the texture came out just right after 30 minutes of baking. Slightly crunchy, yet nice and tender.
If you’re planning on making a mock apple pie with chayote, this poses a slight problem. Unless you’re doing a skillet pie with just a crust on top, the chayote will make your bottom crust all soggy.
Alternatively, you can cook your chayote filling on the stove-top first to release the initial moisture, let it cool and then use it as your keto apple pie filling!
The Sweetener 🍯
Apples are clearly much sweeter than chayote. As in, chayote is not sweet at all. So you’ll have to do some tasting here, to cater to your sweet tooth.
You can pretty much use whatever sweetener floats your boat. Xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!) is my top choice (no aftertaste!), Lakanto (barely any aftertaste, and the Golden version would be particularly good here!), and Swerve (some cooling sensation, but still great).
Pyure also works, just note that it’s not my top choice here. It seems that it leaves behind a slight stevia trace when the crumbles are warm, though it might just be me.
Fun fact: it might also be my taste buds here, but I’ve noticed that stevia-based sweeteners (such as Pyure) work best when allowed to cool completely. Or even after a thorough chilling. i.e. when I made test batches with Pyure (stevia & erythitrol) and Sweetleaf (stevia), the stevia taste was very prevalent when warm (particularly with Sweetleaf). But after allowing them to cool completely, the stevia taste was barely discernible. If at all.
Low Carb & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash)
For the almond crumble
For the chayote filling:
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly toast almond flour in a skillet or pan over medium heat, until fully golden and fragrant (2-4 minutes). This is very important taste-wise, so don't skip!
- Whisk thoroughly together in a small bowl the toasted almond flour, coconut flour, sweetener, cinnamon and salt. Add in butter and rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Incorporate pecans and set aside.
- Mix together, in a rimmed baking tray or dish, chayote, sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and lemon juice (starting with 1 tablespoon, tasting and adding more as needed). Add in apple extract, starting with just 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste. You can alternatively cook the filling a bit on the stove-top to nail the flavors (my suggestion if doing a mock apple pie!).
- Top with crumble mixture and bake for 25 to 27 minutes, covering the crumble with foil after 10 minutes to avoid excessive browning.
- Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, or store refrigerated for up to 3 days.