Last week, I posted on Facebook about my Low-Carb Cinnamon Bundt Cake. I was planning to make the apple cake version and serve it with sugar-free vanilla sauce. Immediately, I was asked for the recipe for the vanilla sauce, and I promised to post it. Then, I thought, why not make a blog post about it? So, here we go!
And to give you something more to bite, you will find a recipe for a super-scrumptious Buttery Low-Carb Apple Bake in the end of this blog post! It’s quite like crumble but not really like crumble. It’s buttery, soft and moist, and really tasty! No wonder our family (and Grandma, as well!) totally fell in love with the apple bake and the vanilla sauce combo, so I bet it will become your favorite, too!
Sugar-Free Vanilla Sauce
Let’s start with the sugar-free vanilla sauce. It’s good to prepare first, anyway. It needs to cool down in the fridge, so you can make it beforehand and place it in the fridge, while you are preparing the apple bake. You can also cook the sauce the previous day and store in the fridge overnight. The flavors get deeper and richer.
Tips for making the Sugar-Free Vanilla Sauce
The most important thing is to use low enough heat and not to let the sauce boil. It will become inedible if it boils and gets stuck to the bottom of the saucepan! You can also use a double boiler or water bath, in case you want to guarantee a smooth, not-burned result.
Other than that, the sauce is unbelievably easy to make. Just combine all ingredients in a saucepan (I prefer a medium saucepan, you can mix properly without fearing spilling the sauce), and heat the mixture, mixing all the time. Mixing is very important, as you want to make the sauce smooth without the tiniest lump. Mixing also guarantees the sauce doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the saucepan.
When the mixture starts steaming, be prepared to remove it from the heat. When it’s steaming, you can wait until it is slightly thickened, but don’t let it boil! The sauce won’t be thick when it’s hot; it will get thicker when cooling down. If you prefer thick sauce, you can reduce the amount of cream to 1 cup (240 ml).
My Sugar-Free Vanilla Sauce experiments
During the years, I have made numerous vanilla sauce experiments, trying a number of thickeners. After umpteen trials and errors, I found out eggs are the best way to thicken the sauce. Other popular low-carb thickeners, like xanthan, for example, made it too slimy, so did guar gum and glucomannan.
Often, vanilla sauce is thickened with egg yolks, but for me, that has been a problem: how on earth to use the leftover egg whites? No thanks, I won’t make meringues or use them for an omelet. Usually, I just forget them in the fridge until they spoil…
To my relief, I found that using a whole egg doesn’t really make any difference in the texture or taste. One egg is just perfect to thicken 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) or even 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy cream so that it makes vanilla sauce with a perfect consistency. And like I said, for real thick sauce 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream is enough.
The biggest mistakes I made with sweeteners. Years ago, I started with erythritol crystals but soon learned that they crystallize when the sauce is cooling down. Big granules of erythritol in otherwise scrumptious vanilla sauce was a complete turn-off.
Moreover, I always used too much sweetener. When you taste the hot sauce, you easily think that it’s not sweet enough, and then you add more sweetener. However, it’s a mistake. The flavors get deeper and the sweetness stronger when the sauce is stored in the fridge for some hours or even overnight.
At some point, I was using just powdered erythritol as sweetener. I had made it from erythritol crystals with a high-speed blender and a suitable jar. However, erythritol easily left cooling aftertaste. Then, I used liquid stevia in addition to erythritol, and found that liquid vanilla stevia enhances the flavors even more. Previously, I used NuNaturals vanilla stevia, but now my definite favorite stevia comes from Now Foods. I really love the flavor!
And, since I want my vanilla sauce taste really scrumptious, I always use organic vanilla beans, which I first slice and scrape out the seeds. Boiling the pieces of the empty bean with the cream and leaving them in the sauce while it’s cooling down guarantees that you get all that delicious, elegant vanilla flavor.
But finally, here is the recipe for the Rich Sugar-Free Vanilla Sauce:
|Per 1/4 cup (60 ml):
Buttery Low-Carb Apple Bake
So, I intended to make the Low-Carb Cinnamon Bundt Cake as apple cake, but I quickly changed my plans. I was performing at the national Wine and Food Fair, cooking one recipe from my Finnish cookbook. Actually, it’s similar to the focaccia recipe here on my blog.
I had to prepare some ready focaccia for the fair for the audience to taste, and I made several experiments with different toppings but also without any toppings. One savory version was fantastic with onion rings, sliced Kalamata olives, and sliced cherry tomatoes, topped with shredded mozzarella. However, we ate that (we were hungry!) and the similar version I prepared for the fair was simply too heavy, since I overloaded it with those toppings… So, my family and I ended up devouring it as well.
Finally, I prepared a version topped with olive oil, salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and chopped fresh rosemary. That one I took to the fair and baked a similar bread there in the front of the audience.
But back to the apple bake. Since I had plenty of focaccia left (also plain focaccia with no toppings), I had to use it somehow. Well, I used some as pizza crust for my husband and for my son, but there was still some bread left after that.
I’ve sometimes used low-carb bread to prepare Apple Brown Betty, and that was my intention also this time. My parents have apple trees, and they have given us lots of apples. The apples are quite sour, making them great for low-carbing (though you cannot eat too many because they have some carbs anyway…).
When making Apple Brown Betty, I usually cook the cubed apple in butter before adding it on top of the bread cubes. This time, however, I somehow got completely confused and just placed cubed bread with 1/2 cup (120 ml) powdered erythritol and 2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice to a large bowl and mixed them well. Then I suddenly realized that I have to do something with the cubed apples as well! I simply added them to the mixture and mixed well. Finally, I added 4 oz (115 g) melted butter and again mixed well. I poured the whole thing into a glass baking dish and baked in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, I realized that the top was getting too brown and dry. I mixed the apple bake to moisten the dry parts. That seemed to be a good idea! I baked the creation for another 30 minutes until the apple was soft.
I served the apple bake with whipped cream, and my family enjoyed it. The next day, I prepared another version of the apple bake with Sukrin Gold (it’s my all-time favorite sweetener!) and more butter. I served the bake with the Sugar-Free Vanilla Sauce. My family loved the combo and I gobbled up the leftovers (which wasn’t much as my husband ate almost everything and even asked for more)!
But for the recipe, I’ve kept the number of apples intentionally small. Since apples are relatively high in carbs, anyway, you don’t want to include too much apples in a low-carb diet.
Another tip regarding the recipe: if you find Frontier Naturals Apple Pie Spice somewhere (for example Amazon or iHerb), I strongly recommend trying it. It’s oh-so-heavenly delicious! It reminds me of gingerbread spice we use here in Finland, but the flavor is warmer and deeper. I have used the spice for years and besides Pumpkin Pie Spice, it’s one of my most favorite spices ever!
Still a couple more tips now when I remember them: if you have a slow cooker, by all means cook the apple bake in it! It will become unbelievably soft and moist. In any case, the longer you cook or bake, the better the result. Also, if you use regular oven, you can bake the Buttery Low-Carb Apple Bake even longer than one hour. Just don’t let it burn and get dry. Mixing every now and then helps keep the apple bake moist.
When it comes to sweetness, that highly depends on the apples and how sour they are. By all means add more sweetener if you find the apple bake too sour. Pouring some Sukrin Gold Syrup over the apple bake before vanilla sauce is also a delicious idea!
And finally, here is the recipe for the apple bake:
|Per serving if 8 servings:
Oh yes, that Wine and Food Fair was a wonderful event, and it was really a pleasure to cook there! The audience enthusiastically tasted the focaccia I had baked, and asked lots of questions about ketogenic diet. I wish I had better photos to show, I don’t even have any photos of the kitchen where I cooked! This photo of the program is just taken with my mobile, so the quality is beyond bad.
At the same time, there was also Book Fair. I was presenting my book there as well. I was happy to talk with many nice people who were interested in improving their health with a diet.