JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


If you're on a low cholesterol diet, or trying to lose weight, then pudding is thought to be a bit of a minefield. I haven't found it so. It's true that we aren't great pudding eaters - I probably make one a week, and that's enough for everyone. The rule of thumb is to make sure that fruit is the main ingredient. Now I know that that's a problem for the many chocaholics who find themselves having to reduce their cholesterol. Lucius and I are both keen on chocolate, and we eat very good quality black chocolate in tiny squares a couple of times a week. I find that's enough, although I'm not sure Lucius would agree. What I have also found is that, since starting the new diet, I do not have such a sweet tooth - I really can't eat mass produced milk chocolate any more, because it's too sweet, and too fatty. And I never crave chocolate, whereas before I occasionally did.

One important thing to remember is that if you are restricting eggs in your diet, it's actually the egg yolks you are restricting, not the whites. You can eat unlimited quantities of egg whites, indeed there are books you don't want to read which are full of recipes for omelettes made from egg whites only and other similarly disgusting low-fat treats. Lots of recipes can therefore be adapted (I haven't done much experimenting in this field, but will keep you posted when I do). However, it does mean that meringues are allowed. Also macaroons and their Italian cousins Amaretti (you can get very good quality ones in Waitrose these days, but they're easy to make, and the almonds are good for you). So pavlova with a mix of 0% Greek yoghurt and 0% fromage frais topped with raspberries and blueberries is healthy, delicious, and does not make you (or any guests you may have) feel as if you're either on a diet or deprived.

Waitrose gives away useful recipe cards, and there's one at the moment with a good idea for low fat baked Alaska. You buy a flan case (the cards are aimed at getting you to try new products), chop a peach onto it, pile on half a tub of raspberry sorbet, and top with a meringue made with 2 egg whites and 100g caster sugar. It needs 3-4 minutes in a very hot oven. I'd only use the bought cake if it was low fat (ie 5g fat per 100g); otherwise I'd make it myself. (Sorry, I haven't checked; nor have I tried this, it's just a new train of thought.)

Low fat sponge cake

Sift 50g sr flour and mix with 40g caster sugar. Beat five egg whites to soft peaks; gradually add 60g caster sugar. You can then add 1 tsp of vanilla essence, if you've got it (but you don't need to if you keep a pod of vanilla in your cooking sugar). Now fold in the flour mixture, and spread this onto a Swiss roll tin. It needs about 15 minutes in a medium over (180C). Obviously for the baked Alaska, you want this cake to be round, and I think it would be okay in a pizza tin (you don't want to put it in a Victoria sandwich tin, because it would be too thick). If you want to use this cake to make a Swiss roll, then you should turn it out onto greaseproof paper to cool, spread it with your mixture, and then roll it up, which is less fiddly than it sounds. It doesn't keep all that well, altlhough if it's stale, you can use it in a trifle (obviously the usual substitutes for cream, and if you must have custard, you can mix it down with yog or fromage frais).

I've had slightly less luck with the topping for apple crumble. I suspect in the end I will give in, and use the nasty marge. But last time, I used a blitzed mix of Amaretti, Brazil nuts, jumbo oats and almond oil. I can't remember the exact proportions, but I do remember that when I tried without any oil it was completely inedible. The almond oil is worth using for this, because it adds sweetness and flavour. Sue Kreitzman has a recipe she calls apple crumble: the topping is 75g ricotta (read the label carefully to make sure you get the low fat version), 75g plain flour, 25g rolled oats, 1 tbsp marmalade (or, in a related recipe, maple syrup), 1 tbsp brown sugar, plus vanilla and spice. I thought it was good, but the children laughed when I called it crumble.

I remember that my grandmother used to make a pudding with stewed apple which was topped with crunchy breadcrumbs (probably fried in butter); I will look it up in Mrs Beeton, but probably not until the end of the summer. I'm sure we could adapt it.

Well that's enough pudding to keep me going for most of the summer. But I'll get back to you on the question of chocolate, and lemon, which I love.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like your blog. Found it searching for like minded souls out there.
All blessings, cholesterol diet