i used to make my mom an apple crisp like this: cut up apples and dusted them generously with cinnamon [i like cinnamon - use less if you prefer] and a sprinkle of nutmeg. then put them into a baking dish and drizzled some molasses over the apples. not a lot - maybe a teaspoon [not a measuring teaspoon!] full for about 2 cups of apples.
then bake this until the apples are almost tender. then top with some good, LF/LS granola [like bob's red mill]. just enough so that you know that you're eating something good, but not so much that you've hidden all the apples. at this point, if you want to boost the protein and omega-3s with some chopped walnuts, go right ahead!
peaches are good this way as well, but i tend to NOT use molasses on them - just peel, season, and bake.
Are you dead set against using just a bit of artificial sweetener? I make apple crisp for my Type 1 husband. Don't have a recipe, but in general what I do is:
For the filling, slice apples and toss with cinnamon, 1 tbs. flour, and 1 envelope of Splenda.
For the topping, blend together flour, oats, chopped nuts, butter, 1 envelope of Splenda, and cinnamon.
The comments of Eunonymous are correct that all forms of carbohydrates will elevate blood sugar. However, high fiber tends to slow down the metabolism so that you don't get the glucose-spike. So, the sweetness inherent in the apples themselves is better form of carbs than that in apple juice. So too, the oats in the topping is better than a topping that is just flour.
Apple juice concentrate contains a lot of sugar--fructose, not sucrose, but sugar just the same.
Grape juice, honey, and any type of syrup also contain a lot of sugar/carbohydrates. So do fruits, even if unsweetened.
Does the person you're cooking for have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? If it's type 1, analyze the recipe for total carbohydrates per serving and your guest should be able to compensate with insulin. If it's type 2 with no insulin I'm not sure, as I'm less familiar with that, but I'd bet that the total carbohydrate per serving would help immensely.
With any type of diabetes, sugar is not the issue. It is carbohydrate of any form that must be taken into account.
Type 1 for 40 years myself, so I know of what I speak.
I recently saw a recipe for watermelon granita which is made of solely blended watermelon put into a baking pan and frozen. You drag a fork across it every 20 minutes to make the consistency like a snow cone. Pretty ingenious to use watermelon, as most other fruits need water and sugar added.
As for the apple crisp, you could try baked apples instead with a little crumble on top? This would limit the amount of topping and increase the gooey goodness of a baked apple. I'd use a mix of apple concentrate (and maybe a touch of honey or syrup if you can) to sweeten. Then top that with a sprinkle of an oat/flour/butter (or margarine) mix. Limits the starchy carbs too.
I have a family member with advanced diabetes who loved these muffins I used to make, but they contained quite a bit of sugar and brown sugar, as well as a sugary/butter streusel on top. I tweaked the recipe by adding in several mashed very ripe bananas to reduce oil/sugar, applesauce to reduce oil/sugar, and went with veggie oil over butter for fat content. I still sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar mixed with cinnamon before baking. She LOOOOVES these banana muffins. She said they're her favorite baked good she's had since being diagnosed with diabetes several years ago.
I think using pureed fruits in place of sweeteners in desserts is the best way to get that sweetness in. Apples, bananas, raisins, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, raspberries, and pears are good natural sweeteners to convert to recipes. Berries are great for crumbles and crisps, as they get super juicy and sweet when baked in the oven.
My daughter just reminded me about an apple dessert I made that used a bit of apple juice or cider in w/ the apple base, and then what I did was make a one-crust piecrust, chilled it, put it back into the processor with pecan halves for a brief, brief pulse (enough to make about a pea-sized crumble), patted that on top of the base and baked it. So maybe that will work for you and meanwhile, I'm glad this thread put my in mind of a nice recipe. Thank you.
My mother used to make sugar-free apple pies for my father. She used apple juice concentrate as a sweetener. A bit of salt and some cinnamon added to kick up the flavor.
You could try using 3/4 cup for every cup of white sugar, and decrease the amount of liquid by 3 tablespoons. Come to think of it, apple crisp doesn't have added liquid. If there is flour tossed with the apples in your recipe, I'd increase that by maybe a teaspoon.
White grape juice might be a good sugar substitute too.
Not sure how strict a diet you're dealing with. I'd think fruit exchanges can be calculated on the basis of the reconstituted juice.
All my crisp recipes contain sugar, so I apologize that I can't offer you one, but when mangoes and papayas (whichever you prefer) are in season and super-ripe, puree them, pack them in custard cups, and freeze for the best.sorbet.ever.
I'll see what I can find using apple juice as a sweetener if that works for you.
No freezer, no equipment except whatever you choose to use to puree it into a river of delicious fruitiness. Just pack 'em and go. And yep, it's best a Summertime dessert. You can also puree strawberries with a little sugar and a touch of lemon juice, pour it into a flat, freezer-safe pan, and freeze, scraping with a fork every hour or so to break it up. It makes a wonderful fruit ice; kids love this and so do adults; you can tart it up with a hit of balsamico or a little port or madeira.