Healthier Ingredient Swaps For Indulgent Desserts
In my wildest dreams, I will never be able to resist a rich, gooey dessert that’s utterly decadent and covered in chocolate and whipped cream.
But this week Joe Wicks’ new Lean in 15 range for Gousto has inspired me to make hearty food healthier with a few simple ingredient swaps. In this post, I’ve made desserts a little better for you with tricks like switching cream for yoghurt, cutting carbs and adding more protein where I can.
Summer isn’t summer without this classic British dessert. We’ve swapped the cream for yoghurt for a tangy hit of gut friendly goodness that balances perfectly with the sweet fruit and sugary meringue. For one of your 5-a-day, serve 80g of strawberries (at least) per person.
Prep time – under 5 minutes
240g natural live yoghurt
4 small meringue nests
160g strawberries, sliced
Slice the strawberries over the natural yoghurt and top with crumbled meringues. Serve immediately.
Berry Pie With Pastry Shapes
Cutting out pastry shapes is not only a great way to use up any leftover scraps of pastry but is also a brilliant way to get your pie fix whilst making the fruit filling the star of the show.
Ingredients – Serves 2
Cooking time: 30 minutes
75g shortcrust pastry
1 tbsp milk
160g mixed chopped fruit of your choice
Top tip! Save any soft or bruised fruit you have from going in the bin by putting them in a pie instead. You won’t taste the difference.
1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup to taste
½ tsp vanilla extract
Ice cream to serve
Step 1: Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180C/160C fan. Roll out your pastry until 3-5mm thick on a floured work surface and cut out your shapes. Place them on a lined baking tray, brush with milk and bake for 12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack until room temperature.
Step 2: Add your fruit, honey and vanilla extract to a pan and simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the fruit is soft. If the pan looks dry add a splash of water.
Step 3: Chop any large fruit up into smaller pieces and simmer in a pan with a splash of water, honey or maple syrup and ½ tsp vanilla extract until cooked through. This is a great time to play with different flavours and textures, apple and blackberry is a delicious autumnal combination, or try adding a splash of berry liqueur like chambord to premixed frozen berries.
Step 4: Serve the stewed fruit topped with pastry shape and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Swap mascarpone and cream for a lighter, lower in fat plant-based option: aquafaba. Aquafaba’s the liquid from a tin of chickpeas, and can be whipped up just like meringue in lots of vegan desserts!
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
125ml almond milk
½ tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp neutral oil (e.g. vegetable, sunflower, canola)
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2tbsp fresh espresso
1tbsp caster sugar
1tbsp madeira, brandy or dark rum (optional)
60ml aquafaba (if it’s chilled for minimum four hours or even overnight, it whips better)
¼ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp icing sugar
Cocoa powder to decorate
Glasses to serve
First, let’s bake the cake.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180ºC/160ºC fan.
Step 2: Grease and line a 20-inch square tin. Mix the wet ingredients (for the cake only) in a jug, and the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
Step 4: Pour into the lined tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, or until you poke it with a skewer and it comes out clean.
Step 5: Remove from the tin and allow it to cool.
Now let’s make the mousse.
Step 1: While the cake cools, pour the aquafaba and lemon juice into a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
Step 2: With an electric whisk, beat the aquafaba and lemon juice for 6 minutes until stiff peaks form stiff peaks form.
Top tip! Turn the bowl upside down! If the mixture stays put and doesn’t slide at all you know it’s ready.
Step 3: Add the vanilla, and beat for another minute.
Step 4: Add a heaped tablespoon of the icing sugar to the mousse at a time, and beat until combined. Then continue to beat for a further 2 minutes.
That’s your mousse done. Now, to assemble.
Mix the ingredients for the espresso drizzle in a bowl.
Step 2: Tip one of your serving glasses upside down and cut out 4 circles of cake.
What to do with leftover cake? I save the rest of the cake in an airtight container to snack on with a cup of tea! You could also use it in a trifle, or crumbled and sprinkled over your vegan vanilla ice cream.
Step 3: Add a layer of cake to the bottom of each glass.
Step 4: Brush or drizzle over ¼ of the espresso drizzle. Add ¼ of the aquafaba cream, then add another layer of cake and repeat until you reach the top of the glass.
Step 5: Finish with a liberal dusting of cocoa powder.
Serve within 4 hours.
Ice Cream Sundae
Peeling ripe bananas and storing them in the freezer means that you always have a stash on hand for ‘nice cream’ (ice cream made just with frozen bananas), smoothies or banana bread.
Feeling extra indulgent? Pile a couple of scoops into a glass with some jelly and serve with a cherry on top for a sundae version of a black forest gateau.
Ingredients – Serves 2
Cooking time: under 1 hour
2 frozen bananas
50ml dairy free milk
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave to taste
2 tbsp cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate
1 tbsp coconut oil
115g jelly pot – preferably cherry
160g cherries, pitted receiving 2 for garnish
120g live greek yoghurt to serve
2 tsp chopped nuts
Step 1: Place the frozen bananas, dairy free milk, maple syrup and cocoa in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Scoop into a freezable container and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until slightly firmer.
Step 2: Roughly chop the dark chocolate and put it in a microwave safe bowl with the coconut oil. Microwave for 10 second intervals until melted then stir together. This is your chocolate magic sauce.
Step 3. After your banana nice cream has set, drizzle most of your chocolate magic sauce on the inside of your bowls or sundae glasses then load up with scoops of ice cream, jelly and pitted cherries. Spoon over the greek yoghurt, reserved chocolate magic sauce, a sprinkle of chopped nuts and finish with a cherry on top.
This classic needs no introduction. Swap the ice cream for a fro-yo alternative and load up with berries for a whopping 2 of your 5 a day. Swap chocolate syrup for date to reduce the refined sugar, too.
Ingredients – Serves 2
Cook time: Under 5 minutes
4 scoops of fro-yo
160g mixed berries
2 tsp crushed nuts
2 tsp date syrup
Peel your bananas and slice them in half lengthways. Place in bowls and top with scoops of ice cream, berries, crushed nuts then finish with a drizzle of date syrup.