Several years ago I participated in a potluck at work. This wasn’t your average potluck because I was pregnant and, as a result, starving all the time. Many of the sweet women I worked with asked me a few days before what I was craving. The innocent work potluck turned into a pregnant women’s all you can eat buffet. It was glorious, and I teased that it was the best day of my life. Funny how I’m writing about it 6 years later so it must be in my top 10 at least. Don’t judge me.
One of the women brought “apple crisp”. I don’t remember actually requesting this but it is one of my favorite desserts. I love the crispy sugar topping combined with soft apples. It just melts in your mouth and is as close to heaven on earth as you can get when you eat it warm with vanilla ice cream.
At the end of the day she came up to a group of us and asked us what we thought. Um…you can’t go wrong with apple crisp, it was delicious of course! She then proceeded to tell us that it wasn’t apple and had us guess what was in it. Hold the phone, what?! That wasn’t APPLE in your APPLE CRISP? I was a little freaked out but as a starving pregnant women, she could have told me she got the ingredients out of the grocery store dumpster and I would have been cool with it.
Turns out the “apple” was zucchini. I ate a dessert where the main ingredient was a vegetable and, not only could I not taste the difference, I loved it!
I’ve always been afraid to make “zucchini crisp” because I didn’t want to screw it up and make a dish that tasted like a sugar coated garden. But fall is in the air and what better way to use up a few large zucchini by experimenting with dessert? I’ll be honest, I did a lot of Googling before I had the guts to do it because I wasn’t sure about putting the zucchini in raw. Here is what I came up with, a combination of an old apple crisp recipe in my recipe box and cooking techniques for baking zucchini that I found online.
For the zucchini:
8 cups of peeled and cubed zucchini (seeds removed)
1 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 fresh lemons)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
Peel, remove seeds and cube zucchini. Add 1 tsp butter to a large sauce pan and cook zucchini with lemon juice on low/medium heat for about 15 minutes. While zucchini is on the stove, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Add 1 cup of cold butter (best way to do this is to cut it in using 2 knives). Mixture will be clumpy but should be consistent. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to zucchini, mix well then add a handful of the topping mixture. Grease a 13×9 pan and sprinkle a light layer of topping mixture on the bottom. Add zucchini mix and cover with the remainder of topping mix. Bake uncovered at 325 for an hour.
This dessert was a huge hit in our house. Even my picky husband liked it and couldn’t believe it was zucchini! This is great to serve at a potluck or party. Just serve warm with a scoop of french vanilla or vanilla bean ice cream…then have them guess what’s in it.