Don’t you just love guilt-free desserts? You know those delicious treats surprisingly loaded with amazing health benefits. Take the dessert I made over the weekend for example. The two main ingredients were apricots and walnuts, which really do pack a mighty nutritional punch.
Apricots are a summer fruit, so aren’t in season at the moment where I live. So although I prefer stewing my own fresh fruits, I am always sure to have a stash of fruits canned in my pantry or frozen in my freezer, for use in my baking. It’s an absolute necessity for those “craving-out-of-season-fruit” days!
It may be small, but the humble apricot is big in benefits:
- An excellent source of Vitamin A, an antioxidant which helps to improve immune function; also good for the skin and eyesight
- Containing lycopene to help prevent cancer and heart disease
- Its alkalinity helping to break down food particles and aiding in digestion
- Chock-full of dietary fibre
- Rich source of energy, especially when dried, but be careful not to over-consume as dried fruits are higher in sugar content.
The apricot is a close relative of the peach, but is smaller and can sometimes taste a little tart compared to a peach. Apricots are lovely poached or stewed with cinnamon and cloves, and served with custard or ice cream.
Then there’s the simple, but mightily healthy walnut. This interestingly shaped nut has the following benefits:
- An excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer
- A great source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
- Packed with B group vitamins, important for supporting metabolism and enhancing immunity.
- Full of minerals like potassium, iron and copper, which are necessary for regulating growth and for healthy cell development in the body.
Walnuts are great as a healthy snack eaten on their own, and it can be fun using a nut cracker to crack them open. They can also be roasted and salted, but I actually prefer them raw.
Crushed walnuts are great sprinkled over salads, and are scrumptious in biscuits and cakes.
Enough with the suspense – it’s now time to reveal the recipe for my divine dessert…
Apricot Walnut Slice Recipe
(Serves 8 )
- 150g softened butter
- ½ cup organic raw sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 free-range eggs
- 1 ½ cups organic self-raising flour, sifted
- 2 tablespoons organic raw sugar, extra
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 500 g apricots (kernels removed)
- 2 tablespoons organic raw sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Wash apricots. Cut into large even sized pieces, removing kernels and place into saucepan.
- Add sugar and water and gently bring to the boil. Stir frequently and very gently to prevent sticking. Simmer until barely soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 190 °C. Grease square cake pan and line with baking paper.
- Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl, until light and creamy. Beat in eggs until combined.
- Stir in sifted flour to make a firm mixture. Spread mixture over base of pan with a spatula. Spoon stewed apricots on top evenly. Scatter over chopped walnuts and sprinkle with extra sugar.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes. Put a sheet of baking paper onto a wire rack to prevent walnuts from dropping off and turn out onto another rack to cool.
- Dust with icing sugar, slice and serve with ice cream.
Jennifer Reid is a wife, mum of 2 children, Blog Reviewer on Sydney’s 103.2FM radio in Australia and avid Blogger at lifeslikeacupcake.com, abrushwithbeauty.com.au & nowuseeit.blogspot.com/. She is a career enthusiast, with the CV so far reading: Banker, Beauty Therapist, Makeup Artist & School Teacher! She loves life, and her current passion is writing & great food!