My favorite kind of pie is cherry pie. Probably because I’ve always liked sweet fruit flavors tempered with a bit of tartness. Years ago, I found a recipe for Danish cherries that was a revelation. It’s similar to pie filling with out all the heavy butter and white flour found in pie crust. Over time, I’ve altered the ingredients to be even lighter and found that the changes don’t sacrifice taste.
Danish cherries can be enjoyed a number of ways. They are delicious on their own but even better when served with vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt, or whipped cream. (Hey, you can’t be all good…) Top whole wheat waffles, pancakes, or roll them up into a crepe for an amazing breakfast treat. (Hint: Mother’s Day is May 11 and everyone loves breakfast in bed!) Today, I’m going to layer my cherries with yogurt and granola for a healthy snack. I was a little obsessed with the Dark Cherry Yogurt Parfait at Starbucks, which seems to have been discontinued. So, I had no choice but to create a copycat version.
The recipe and nutritional benefits are after the jump.
(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)
1 16-oz bag of frozen dark cherries or 3 cups of fresh, pitted cherries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon pure stevia
½ lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon almond extract (you can substitute vanilla extract if you prefer)
1. Put the cherries in a saucepan, cover, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
2. While the cherries are cooking, juice your lemon.
3. Whisk cornstarch, stevia, and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
4. Stir cornstarch mixture into hot cherries and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
5. Remove from heat and stir in extract.
For the parfait:
1. Whisk one cup of greek yogurt with ¼ teaspoon pure stevia and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
2. Top yogurt mixture with ¼ c cooled cherries and sprinkle on a handful of granola. Enjoy!
Cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, beneficial for the reduction of heart disease and cancer. They are one of only a few food sources to contain melatonin, which can encourage healthy sleep patterns. Cherries are also rich in vitamin A, C, E, potassium, folate, magnesium, and fiber.
Stevia is a no carb, no calorie natural sweetener dervived from the sweetleaf plant. Some studies have shown that stevia can help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It also has antibacterial properties.
Greek yogurt is strained to remove much of the whey, lactose, and sugar present in regular yogurt. It can contain twice as much protein and half the carbs, again helping you to feel fuller longer and preventing a carb crash.
Granola is typically made with heart healthy oats packed with soluble fiber to help you feel full longer. Look for a variety with flax seeds for a boost of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. It is high in calories, so consume it sparingly.
Approximate calorie count: 280