Fruit and Vegetable Desserts: Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too!

No-Sugar-Added Harvest Fruit Pie

Developed by Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN

Pie Filling:
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
2 medium Bosc pears, peeled,  cored, chopped
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup 100-percent pure apple juice (not from concentrate)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄16 teaspoon (a pinch) ground nutmeg
1⁄16 teaspoon (a pinch) ground cloves or allspice
½ cup frozen cranberries

Pie Crust:
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1⁄3 cup Greek yogurt, plain, non-fat
3 to 4 tablespoon ice water
1 tablespoon milk (for browning crust)


  1. To prepare pie crust, combine flour, wheat germ, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Add in cold butter pieces until the mixture starts to resemble coarse crumbs.
  2. Add yogurt and blend well. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough is firmly together, but not sticky. It should start to form a ball.
  3. Remove and mold into 5-inch disc, seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
  4. Roll out dough on a large floured, flexible cutting board until it is uniformly 1⁄8-inch thick. Carefully place into 8-inch greased pie tin so dough overlaps edges.
  5. Set onto foil lined baking tray and set aside. (Note: May be substituted with store-bought frozen puff pastry dough.)
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. Combine apples and pears into a mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch, lemon juice, apple juice and spices. Add cornstarch mixture to the fruit and stir well. Gently toss in cranberries.
  8. In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer the fruit mixture until it starts to thicken. Pour into prepared pie crust.
  9. Fold overlapping pastry over the fruit filling until a window of fruit is visible in the center. Brush pie crust evenly with milk for a golden finish.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until crust is browned and juices are bubbling.

Cooking Tip

  • Fruit filling measures approximately 3½ to 4 cups. This amount should fit amply into your dough-lined pie crust tin without overflow. You can reserve any excess filling for a tasty stewed fruit dish— the filling is delicious on its own.

Nutrition Information
Serves 8
Serving Size: 1 slice (1⁄8 of 8-inch pie)

Calories: 193; Total fat: 6g; Saturated fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 16mg; Sodium: 183mg; Carbohydrates: 32g; Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 10g; Protein: 4g; Potassium: 160mg; Phosphorus: 70mg

Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN, is a menu planner, writer and nutritional consultant in Los Angeles. She is a Stone Soup blogger and author of

Vegan Beet Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

Developed by Michaela Ballmann, MS, RD, CLT

Cake (wet ingredients):
1 cup roasted beets, pureed (about 3 to 4 small, .75lb raw)
1 cup unsweetened soy or other non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1⁄3 cup coconut oil, melted
3⁄4 cup coconut sugar, evaporated cane sugar or other granulated sweetener
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake (dry ingredients):
1 1⁄2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt

2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (alkalized/Dutch for deep chocolate color)
1⁄3 cup maple syrup or other liquid sweetener (can increase to 1⁄2 cup to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, optional for a stiffer frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Clean and scrub beets, trim ends and dry. Wrap in foil and roast for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree in a food processor or using an immersion blender.
  3. Reduce oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans (or one 9-inch springform pan).
  4. Add vinegar to milk and stir. Set aside to curdle.
  5. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to cream coconut oil and sugar.
  6. Add pureed beets, milk and extract. Mix until smooth.
  7. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Pour into the greased pans.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes (up to 30 minutes for a 9-inch cake) or until cake pulls away from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
  10. Assemble and top with cacao nibs if desired.
  11. To make frosting: Add all ingredients to a food processor or bowl with mixer. Process for several minutes, scraping down sides, until completely smooth. Chill in fridge to thicken for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

Cooking Note:

  • While roasting beets is preferred for a sweeter flavor, the beets also can be peeled, cut into chunks and boiled for 30 minutes or pressure cooked at 15psi for 4 minutes.

Nutrition Information
Serves 16
Serving size: 1 slice (1⁄16 of 8-inch, 2-layer cake)

Calories: 186; Total fat: 9g; Saturated fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 217mg; Carbohydrates: 27g; Fiber: 5g; Sugars: 16g; Protein: 3g

Note: Optional ingredients not included in analysis.

Michaela Ballmann, MS, RD, CLT, is a California-based practitioner specializing in food sensitivities. She is a Stone Soup blogger and author of

Fresh Pear and Cardamom Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Developed by Cara Anselmo, MS, RDN, CDN

Canola oil to line cake pans (about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup canola oil
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups fresh hard pears (about 4 medium pears such as Bartlett, Bosc, D’Anjou), peeled, coarsely grated or shredded, and drained to remove excess liquid*

3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk or cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly coat the sides and bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with oil. For the cake: In a large stand mixer, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla at low speed for one minute, then beat on high for another minute.
  3. Add flours, baking powder, cardamom and salt and mix at low speed to incorporate.
  4. Add pears and mix to incorporate. Finished batter will be thick.
  5. Divide batter evenly between two cake pans. Tap pans on countertop to remove air bubbles.
  6. Bake 35 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool away from heat for 30 minutes, then remove cakes from pans by running a knife along edges and gently inverting onto wire racks.
  7. When cakes have cooled completely, you may wish to slice the slightly domed top from the cake that will be the lower layer with a long serrated knife, so that when the cakes are stacked, they will lie flat against each other.
  8. Frosting: In a large stand mixer, combine sugar, butter and cardamom. Mix at low speed for 1 minute or until combined.
  9. Add vanilla and milk/cream to incorporate, then beat on high for another 3 minutes or until smooth throughout. Wait until cakes have cooled completely before frosting.
  10. This recipe makes enough frosting to cover full top and sides of cakes plus one layer between cakes.

Cooking Tip

  • Choose pears that are hard and slightly under-ripe for easier grating and less moisture. After grating, place pears into a strainer and press with back of a large spoon to drain liquid. Reserve the juice for drinking or other later use.

Nutrition Information

Serves 12
Serving size: 1 slice (1⁄12 of 9-inch, 2-layer cake)

Calories: 683; Total fat: 37g; Saturated fat: 12g; Cholesterol: 103mg; Sodium: 206mg; Carbohydrates: 86g; Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 61g; Protein: 5g
Cara Anselmo, MS, RDN, CDN, is a nutritionist and certified yoga instructor in New York City. She is a Stone Soup blogger and author of

Cherry Almond Pudding

Developed by Sara Haas

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
2⁄3 cup low-fat milk
1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 can (14 1⁄2 ounces) pitted tart cherries
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Kirsch (optional)
2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a 9×9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and the first amount of sugar.
  2. Add the milk and almond extract to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Fold in the sliced almonds.
  4. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan. Pour the cherries and juice into a sauce pan.
  5. Add the remaining sugar and the Kirsch and bring to a boil. Stir and cook, continuing to boil until sugar is dissolved, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the butter.
  7. Stir until melted, then spoon mixture over the crust.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes or until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information

Serves 12
Serving size: 1 piece (1⁄12 from 9×9-inch pan)

Calories: 150; Total fat: 3g; Saturated fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 6mg; Sodium: 139mg; Carbohydrates: 29g; Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 20g; Protein: 2g; Potassium 80mg; Phosphorus: 54mg

Note: Optional ingredients not included; assumed 1% milk.

Contributing Editor Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, works at Roche Dietitians and the Centered Chef in Chicago. She is a Stone Soup blogger.

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