Keto Apple Crumble 🍏
i.e. Chayote Squash Crumble
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? 🔍
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 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.
We were oddly divided by this keto mock apple crumble. It’s very yummy, don’t get us wrong (we 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.
But does it really taste like apples?
Nope, not quite. But it seems that to some people it tastes almost like apples, and to others it simply doesn’t quite do it. So we suggest you still give them a go, in case you’re one of the lucky few to whom chayote tastes like apples.
But don’t despair, as there are some things you can do to make it more apple-like.
And is it worth the 7g net carbs?
Well, this definitely depends on how much you miss (and love!) apples.
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. We suggest starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding more as needed to taste.
In all our tests with chayote, we 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 we added arrowroot (or even tapioca) during testing, 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 (which is what we would suggest), the chayote will make your bottom crust all soggy. You may want to sprinkle some arrowroot on the bottom crust to try and soak up some of the liquid, but it’s not really ideal. And in all honesty, we have not been very successful in whipping up a perfect keto ‘apple’ pie with chayote (i.e. a flakey crust top and bottom, with a perfectly set center).
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.
And in terms of brands, pick your poison.
Though do note that we like Swerve best here. No funky aftertaste at all.
Pyure also works, just note that it’s not our top choice here. It seems that it leaves behind a slight stevia trace when the crumbles are warm, though it might just be us.
Fun fact: it might also be our taste buds here, but we’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 we 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.
Feel free to read up on our picks for the 10 best low-carb natural sweeteners.
But whatever you decide, you really don’t want to miss out on a scoop of our suuuper creamy keto vanilla ice cream. 🍦
Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash) 🍏 Sweet & Crunchy
Crisp, sweet, and quite apple-like, chayote makes for a great substitute if missing apples come fall! But before whipping up an entire pie, we suggest giving these keto apple crumble a try.
For the almond & pecan crumble:
For the chayote filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
Whisk thoroughly together in a bowl almond flour, coconut flour, Swerve, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Add in butter and rub the mixture with your hands until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Incorporate pecans and set aside.
Mix together, in a rimmed baking tray or dish, chayote, Swerve, 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.
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. Note that the 'apple' taste intensifies once thoroughly cooled.