Ahhh Autumn. The markets are full of bright and shiny balls of temptation known as apples. Everyone’s Thanksgiving and Christmas menus always include apple in some form of pie, cake, crumble or salad – at which point I have to calmly remind myself of what will happen if I partake: pain and misery. Good bye, apple pie; Bakers Delight’s fruit mince tarts are a distant memory. Sigh.
For years I had to be strong (or pretend I was wearing blinders) when walking past the dessert buffets at family/friend meals but no more! Enter the choko. I can’t remember how I came across chokos (also known as chayote squash in some parts of the world) but they also happen to be in season during late Summer to Autumn and they make fantastic apple substitutes. To the person or website that first mentioned them to me, I will say a massive THANK YOU!
Chokos are a low FODMAP variety of gourd that, when eaten peeled and raw, resemble an apple in texture (crisp and juicy), with a very mild taste that can be accentuated with the right sugars and spices. They are exactly what you need to make a mockapple pie or crumble and, in my humble opinion, are a much better option than peeled zucchini. So good, in fact, that in Australia there’s an urban legend that states that McDonald’s used to use chokos in their apple pies, because they were cheaper than apples and nobody could tell the difference!
The first time that I made this crumble, I treated the choko like an apple and baked it from a raw state – that was mistake number one. Choko takes a lot longer to soften than apple does, so you need to stew or poach it first, otherwise the crumble topping will be overly brown by the time it’s soft in an incredible 1 hour and 40 minutes. Yikes. I also added the same amount of starch that I would have added to an apple crumble – mistake number two. Mistakes are good, though. We learn from them and – hopefully – don’t repeat them.
After a third attempt I feel I have mastered the choko mockapple crumble; just sweet enough, the choko has the texture of cooked apple and a mild flavour that lets the traditional apple pie spices shine through, while still bringing something of its own to the dish. This filling would also work well with your favourite gluten free/FODMAP friendly pastry for a mockapple pie.
- Chokos are a FODMAP friendly gourd in 1/2 cup servings.
- Dried coconut flesh is low FODMAP in servings of 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup contains potentially problematic amounts of sorbitol.
- Almonds are FODMAP friendly in servings of 10 nuts, while 20 nuts gets a high rating for oligos.
- Maple syrup, when pure, is 1:1 fructose/glucose, thus is considered fructose friendly.
- Cinnamon, ginger, all spice and cloves are low FODMAP spices.
- 1 1/4 cups almond meal
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 1/3 cup white rice flour
- 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1.0 kg sliced chokos
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/3 cup castor sugar or 1/2 cup dextrose
- 1 tbsp. potato starch
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. all spice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 pot of water for poaching
Peel, then slice or dice your chokos (discarding the large centre seed) into 2 cm or so chunks. Poach them in a pot of simmering water until soft – around 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all the crumble topping ingredients and mix until they are well combined, using your food processor (or by hand/with a pastry mixer). The result will slightly resemble a sticky cookie dough. Keep it in the fridge until you need it.
Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. Drain the choko and mix through the sugars and spices. Pour the now runny choko mix into a 9 inch pie dish and then top evenly with the crumble dough. Bake at 180 C for 45-50 minutes, until the choko filling has thickened and the crumble has turned a lovely golden brown.
Serve warm, with whipped coconut cream (or normal whipped cream) or your favourite FODMAP friendly ice cream (vegan if required). Enjoy!