By Kitchen Maven, Judi Berman-Yamada
A person with a definite sweet tooth, as a pre-teen I went on my first diet and reportedly cried out for “chocolate cake” in my sleep. True story. And don’t get me started on pie, baked my first that same year. Intent to have my cake and eat it too – whenever the craving arose. Thanksgiving breakfast at our house is always my homemade Maple Pumpkin Pie, crowned with Chantilly cream and blackberries, a definite holiday morning indulgence. But the pie contains no sugar, just 2/3 cup real maple syrup and the crust is wholewheat.
My dad had a real love-hate relationship with sugar, fat and all baked goods, resulting in heart disease and my father-in-law, who also loved sweets, suffered from Type 2 diabetes. Taking a hint from them and an interest in living a reasonably healthy active life, as a “foodie”, inspired me. Researching recipes and finding ways of adapting and crafting healthier slightly less sweet versions turned into a favorite pastime.
Granted, keeping in mind the variety of dietetic restrictions at our celebratory tables can be daunting, but these straightforward, easy dessert recipes could be the crowning glory of the meal and a success with everyone at your table. How sad it would be if anyone had to go without their holiday dessert.
FROZEN FRUIT BERRY COMPOTE
This slowly simmered virtually all berry compote bubbles away into syrupy goodness a day or two before the holiday gathering. Top some vanilla ice cream with a dollop and sprinkle with toasted almonds, chocolate chips, coconut or sprinkles – whatever floats your boat.
32 ounces mixed frozen berries
¼ cup water
¼ cup real maple syrup OR other natural sweetener (Agaves nectar, honey, sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put frozen berries, water, maple syrup and salt in saucepan. Set heat at medium, stirring every 15 minutes until all berries are defrosted and floating in liquid. Stir every 15-20 minutes. Once the fruit and liquid simmer constantly, turn heat down to medium-low, stirring every 5-10 minutes or until no watery liquid remains and the berries are suspended in syrup. When you draw a wooden or silicone spoon across the bottom of the saucepan, the syrup will separate showing the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Allow compote to cool to slightly warm and refrigerate in a closed container. Delicious on vanilla ice cream, white or chocolate cake and over pancakes, waffles, or plain yogurt. 8-10 servings as a topping.
LIGHT LEMON CHEESECAKE CUPS
When it comes to both thriftiness and weight loss baking individual sweet and savory treats is really a great idea. Whether it’s dinner rolls or tarts, biscuits, frittatas or cheesecakes, minis set easy limits on overindulging. And individual treats go farther because diners know exactly what a serving looks like. This makes 12 mini cheesecakes, but doubling is easy as long as you have two muffin pans.
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs – about 5 sheets (regular or gluten free)
1 ½ Tablespoons salted butter, melted
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup plain Greek yogurt, nonfat or low fat
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted OR gluten free flour OR corn starch
2 large eggs, room temperature & lightly beat
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Line the 12-cups of a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
In a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, stirring to combine well. Distribute crumb mixture evenly in the 12-cupcake liners. Press down the mixture in each cup.
Using an electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the applesauce, yogurt, lemon juice, zest and flour until mixture is well blended. Add eggs. Beat just until eggs are well blended into mixture.
Give the batter one last stir and divide it into the cupcake liners.
Bake in a preheated oven from 20-28 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the cheesecake centers are almost set. Cool to room temperature and then cover the entire pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove cakes from pan using a small offset spatula or fork. Enjoy with toppings of your choice. May be served in the liners or removed from liners onto small plates.
Original: Kitchen Maven
SPICED CARROT COOKIES
This easy, tasty little rationing recipe can be served, simply, as written with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or turn them into thumbprint cookies by rolling the balls of cookie dough in chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut, pressing in a thumbprint, and filling them with jam for a colorful presentation. Either way, this is a great recipe to make with kids and will certainly have them looking at carrots in a different way.
Grease cookie baking sheets or line with parchment. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F.
2 tablespoons margarine OR butter (Earth Balance for vegans)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
8 tablespoon grated raw carrot
12 tablespoons all-purpose OR whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon EACH: salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons water, as needed
Nutmeats or raisins, optional
Cream the margarine and sugar together with the vanilla extract
Mix in the grated carrot
Whisk the flour together with the dry ingredients
Fold the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture. If mixture is too dry, stir in the water
Drop dough by Tablespoon sized scoops onto greased or parchment lined cookie baking tray and press the dough down a little
Top each with a nutmeat or a few raisins, if using
Bake in oven for 10- 15 minutes. Cool on racks
Sprinkle or toss with confectioners’ sugar, if using
Yields Two dozen cookies/Easily doubled
WACKY CAKE – CHOCOLATE DEPRESSION CAKE
This is a well-used and well-loved old recipe that became popular during the hard times of the 1930’s and through the war times of rationing. Very likely, over the years, it made many a child smile. Although it uses minimal ingredients, it’s still a great tasting, frugal, recipe today. And it’s vegan. If desired, sprinkle top of cooled cake with powdered sugar, top with whipped cream or frost with ganache and decorate with berries.
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
OR white whole wheat flour
OR all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar OR white vinegar
1 cup cold coffee OR cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray or oil only the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan or 9-inch round cake pan.
Sift together the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. If you don’t have a sifter, use a fine metal strainer. Sifting the dry ingredients helps make the cake light.
Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl or pint liquid measuring cup. Stir well to combine. Then immediately pour liquid over the dry ingredients. Whisk or stir to combine, just until no dry ingredients show. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Test with cake tester or toothpick after 25 minutes. Only a few crumbs should cling. Allow cake to cool completely on a cooling rack (one to two hours) before cutting.
Historical Recipe/Original Source Unknown
FRESH OREGON APPLE TART a la JACQUES
This utterly simple tart is homage to my favorite chef, Jacques Pepin. My adaptation of his recipe (Maman’s Tarte) isn’t low calorie, but it boasts more fiber and less sugar than the original. As with the original, it’s delicious, quick, economical and contains commonly available ingredients. Use whatever apples you have. They don’t have to be perfect, just juicy. This rustic tart goes well with some sharp Cheddar, melted a bit, with vanilla or rum ice cream and with whipped cream. Serves 6 – 8
Butter for baking pan
1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour OR
¾ cup all-purpose flour + ½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
¼ cup milk, lukewarm
1 large egg, beaten
3 large apples or 6 small apples:
Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith or what have you – peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
2 Tablespoons butter OR margarine, melted
5 teaspoons granulated sugar mixed with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
OR 3 Tablespoons warmed apricot jam
Butter a 9-inch ovenproof glass pie plate OR 7” x 11” glass baking dish OR 9” tart pan. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Position rack in center of oven.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 Tablespoon sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add 1/3 cup shortening into
the dry ingredients. Mash it into the dry ingredients with a spoon or spatula until smaller clumps form. Then, using your fingers, rub the shortening into the flour mixture to produce the texture of coarse sand.
Add lukewarm milk and egg. Stir until just combined. Press the dough together with your hands, and transfer to the pie dish or baking pan. Press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. A sheet of plastic wrap and bottom of measuring cup are helpful to press evenly and keep dough from sticking. Don’t leave the dough too thick around the bottom edge and up the sides. Refrigerate until firm, around 30–35 minutes
Remove crust from refrigerator. Arrange apple wedges, over crust, overlapping slightly in straight rows or in circles pressing them evenly over the crust. Cube extra apple wedges and fill in spaces.
Brush apples, evenly with melted butter. Combine 5 teaspoons granulated sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over buttered apples OR melt apricot jam and brush over apples. Place tart on center rack of oven. Lower oven heat to 350 F. Rotate tart halfway through baking. Bake until crust is golden, and apples are tender when poked with a knife, 40-50 minutes.
Remove the tart from the oven. Cool for at least 15 minutes, on cooling rack, before serving. Delicious as is, or with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or melted thinly sliced Cheddar. 6-8 servings.
Adapted from original: Chef Jacques Pepin
The final post in this series is for those traditionalists – LEFTOVERS! Turkey Devonshire, Mashed Potato Biscuits, Cajun Sweet Potato Biscuits, Stuffing and Vegetable Strata.
Many recipes in my posts are found in my cookbook, “Thrifty Comfort Cooking for Challenging Times”. The book is available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. All (100%) of author royalties from retail sales of my cookbook go directly to the Oregon Food Bank, Tillamook Services, to assist families and individuals experiencing food insecurity. Purchasing the cookbook will benefit not only the recipient of the cookbook, but people in need, as well. Living near Tillamook County or even in Portland, you can purchase the book through Food Roots Farm to Table Marketplace for a sale price and all proceeds will go directly to that non-profit organization.