Tag Archives: sugar free

Sugar Free Baked Custards and a Magic Fridge

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In our laundry room is an old refrigerator. It isn’t fancy, doesn’t dispense water or ice, or sync to your phone to create grocery lists. But it is magic.

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As my husband and children like to observe, whenever someone takes the last custard from this fridge, more magically appear again the very next day. They love this Magic Fridge.

It must be that same Magic that turns full laundry baskets into piles of folded clothes, raw ingredients into hot meals, and grimy bathrooms into sparkling retreats (okay, that might be wishful thinking; I’m still waiting for that kind of magic to appear).

But if you’re looking for a simple egg custard that is easy to make sugar-free, this is definitely the kind of magic I can help you with.

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Stevia is my favorite non-sugar sweetener, but it can sometimes be bitter if it is used alone to sweeten desserts. For this recipe, I combine stevia with erythritol. You could also use Splenda (or go for an all-sugar version).

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RECIPE:

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Sugar Free Baked Custards

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¼ tsp liquid stevia
1 ½ tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups (1 quart) half & half
½ cup erythritol (or Splenda)
Optional: fresh berries for garnish

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Prepare a pan for a water bath: place eight 8-oz ramekins in a larger baking pan. Heat enough water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. (Don’t add hot water to baking pan until after pouring custard into ramekins)

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, stevia, vanilla, and salt.

Heat half & half until very hot, but not quite boiling. (You can do this either in the microwave or on the stovetop). Remove from heat and stir in erythritol.

While whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot milk in a steady stream into the mixing bowl with the eggs. Do this very, very slowly at first, or you will curdle the eggs.

Strain the custard through a mesh sieve to remove any lumps.

Pour custard into small ramekins. Fill bottom of the larger baking pans with hot water to halfway up sides of ramekins.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until set at the edges, and only slightly jiggly in the center. Cool for 15 minutes in the water bath. Remove ramekins from water bath and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. Serve with fresh fruit, if desired

Yield: 8 8-oz custards

**To prepare using sugar: use 2/3 cup sugar in place of stevia and erythritol

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Baked Raspberry Custard Cups (Sugar Free)

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These innocent little dessert cups created a fair amount of contention in our home recently.

I have two of these  Crème Brulee Ramekin Sets:

Creme Brulee Ramekins

While this is definitely not a necessary kitchen item (it was a gift), I do enjoy using it. I like that the rack keeps the bottom of the ramekins from touching the bottom of the pan when using a water bath. And it is really easy to remove the ramekins from the water bath with the rack. However. With 8 little cups and 6 people in our house right now, this creates conflict regarding the two “extras”.

Raspberry Custard Cups 1

Brian eats very little sugar, so every now and again I try to make a dessert that he will eat. Custards are an easy dessert to substitute out sugar without compromising the texture of the dessert. I make these using a combination of stevia and Splenda, but you could certainly make them with sugar as well.

So when I made these sugar-free custards, Brian assumed that I had made them for him and promptly ate a second one later that night and a third for breakfast the next morning. From the sad, droopy faces I got when kids came home from school asking about the “extras”, you would think that summer vacation had been cancelled.

Luckily, these are super easy to make, so I threw another batch in the oven before dinner. I wish I could say that everyone was happy that they got a second dessert, but unfortunately, it just created the same conflict two days in a row with who was going to get the “extras”.

Next time I’ll just hide the two extras, announce that there are only six, and eat the extras myself while everyone is at school. No more conflict.

RECIPE:

Raspberry Custard Cups 2

Baked Raspberry Custard Cups

3 cups half-and-half ( or 1 ½ cups milk + 1 ½ cups cream)
3 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks
½ cup sugar (or 1/3 cup Splenda + 10 drops vanilla stevia)
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
Pinch of salt
Raspberries (about 2 cups), fresh or frozen (do not thaw)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a pan for a water bath: place eight 6-oz ramekins in a larger baking pan. Heat enough water to come halfway up sides of ramekins.

Heat half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat until very hot, but not quite boiling.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until well combined.

While whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot milk in a steady stream into the mixing bowl with the eggs and sugar. Do this very, very slowly at first, or you will curdle the eggs. (I transfer the hot milk from the saucepan to a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup so that it is easy to pour)

If necessary, strain custard through a mesh sieve to remove lumps. If you have no lumps, then just skim the foam from the top of the bowl using a mesh skimmer.

Place 5-6 raspberries (if using frozen raspberries, do not thaw first) in the bottom of each ramekin. Pour custard over raspberries. Fill bottom of larger pan with enough hot, almost boiling, water to come halfway up sides of ramekins.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until set completely at the edges, and only slightly jiggly in the center. NOTE: If you are using frozen raspberries, bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in waterbath. Remove ramekins from waterbath and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Yield: 8 6-oz custards

 

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Old-Fashioned Coconut Macaroons

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DAY 12: For our final Christmas cookie this season, a traditional coconut macaroon. This is a flourless, gluten-free cookie made from coconut, egg whites, sugar and almond extract. They can be made sugar-free as well by using unsweetened coconut and a sugar substitute. The ones pictured here are the full-sugar variety.

The “dough” is cooked on the stove prior to baking, which leaves you with a wonderful chewy macaroon on the inside and slightly crispy toasted coconut on the outside. Dipping the bottoms in chocolate is optional, but I definitely recommend it.

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RECIPE:

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Coconut Macaroons

1 (14 oz) pkg flaked sweetened coconut
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp almond extract
1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a medium saucepan, stir together coconut, egg whites, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly (a spoon drawn through the mixture should leave a clean path). Remove from heat; stir in almond extract.

Drop onto greased cookie sheets (or line with a Silpat) by rounded teaspoonfuls. Let stand on cookie sheets for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on pan for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack. Cool completely.

Dip bottoms of macaroons in melted chocolate, if desired. Place on waxed paper until chocolate has hardened.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies
DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies
DAY 8: Chocolate Revel Bars
DAY 9: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
DAY 10: Caramel Pecan Bars
DAY 11: Turtle Pretzel Snaps

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Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Cinnamon

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Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Now is the time to start planning your menu. Over the next week, I will share some of our family’s favorites.

We love our cranberry sauce around here, especially on leftover turkey sandwiches the next day. The addition of orange peel and juice, and a hint of cinnamon gives this cranberry sauce a nice tang. The picture above is a Sugar Free version, made with stevia. The recipe below includes instructions for making it with full sugar or a sugar substitute. In the past I have had problems getting a proper gel with sugar substitutes, so I now add a little unflavored gelatin (Knox). I like it sprinkled with toasted finely chopped pecans, but the kids don’t like it as much this way, so I usually leave it plain.

RECIPE:

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Cranberry Sauce

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (or additional water)
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (Stevia, Splenda) **
1 tsp Knox gelatin (if using sugar substitute)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fresh grated orange peel
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup toasted pecans, optional

Place water in a medium saucepan. If using a sugar substitute, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand 5 minutes. Heat to a boil. Stir in orange juice, sugar (or substitute), cinnamon stick and orange peel. Return to a boil; boil 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, return to a boil. Boil 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Serve warm or cold with toasted pecans.

**NOTE: Sugar substitutes vary a lot in sweetness, especially stevia. I use Sweet Leaf brand powdered stevia and usually use about 1/2 tsp. Start on the low side; taste cranberry sauce and add more to your taste, if necessary. You can also use part sugar/part sugar substitute.

 

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Strawberries & Cream Sponge Cake Roll

As I mentioned yesterday, this is one of my very favorite cakes. I have been baking it since I was in high school. Back then, my main sources of recipe inspiration (in addition to a wonderful mother from whom I am still inspired) were two Southern Living Annual Cookbooks. From the 80s. I have adapted this recipe somewhat from the original recipe (and often make it sugar-free and whole grain), and I still love it just as much now as I did then.

This cake is light, full of fruit, and not overly sweet. I love whipped cream as a frosting because you can easily control how sweet it is without compromising texture. This is also a cake that is easy to make healthier with some simple substitutions (see recipe at end of post). By substituting a gluten free flour (oats, brown rice, etc) this is easily made gluten free as well.

A sponge cake is made mostly of eggs with just enough flour to stabilize it, and just enough sugar that it doesn’t taste like an omelet.

Roll cakes look much more complicated than they really are, so for those who may not be familiar with baking and putting together this kind of cake, I have included a few more process pictures. This technique can also be used to make jelly-rolls, pumpkin roll cakes (another of my favorites!), Christmas Yule logs, ice-cream filled roll cakes.

The one thing that my kids don’t like about this cake is that the beaters are no fun to lick! Large amounts of raw eggs, no matter how much they’ve been whipped and what other ingredients have been thrown in, still taste pretty bad. Luckily, something magical happens in the oven, leaving you with a moist, airy cake just begging for a creamy, fruity filling.

Start by beating 5 egg whites until stiff peaks form (with a little salt and cream of tartar-for stabilization). You should be able to turn your bowl upside down and have the egg whites not run onto the counter (just be careful testing this as you go along!)

Beat your egg yolks separately, then gently fold them into the egg whites with a little flour and powdered sugar. This is one cake that I do sift my powdered sugar and flour for. It makes a huge difference in being able to incorporate them quickly into the batter without lumps. I measure first, then sift them directly into the egg white bowl.

The batter should still be pretty thick when you are done, but will lose a little of the  volume.

Use wax paper to line a jelly-roll pan (baking pan that is about 10×15”, but you can use a size that is a little larger as well; 9×13” is too small). Leave some hanging over the edges. Spray the wax paper with baking spray (I use the kind for baking that has flour in it).

Spread your batter into the pan, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges. This batter will not melt or spread as it cooks, so try to get it even on the top.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until set. It should not brown. The cake below is actually just a little overdone (it still tasted great though!)

While the cake is baking lay a linen (or fuzz-free) dishtowel on the counter. Dust a small amount of powdered sugar onto the towel in a rectangle just larger than your baking pan (I use a sifter again-actually just a mesh strainer). Turn the hot cake upside down onto the towel (wax paper side up). Gently peel off the waxed paper.

Roll the cake up in the towel, beginning at the narrow end.

Cool completely on a rack.

Unroll cooled cake (leave on towel) and spread with sliced fruit. This is one quart of sliced strawberries mixed with 2 Tbs sugar. I like to let the fruit/sugar mixture sit for a few minutes before spreading it onto the cake so that the sugar dissolves.

Beat 2 cups of whipped cream until stiff. Sweeten to taste. Spread half of the whipped cream over the berries, until the berries are just barely covered. Leave a small section on one of the narrow ends uncovered. As you roll the cake, some of the filling will push to the end. This keeps too much from leaking out.

Beginning at the narrow end, roll cake again. Place on a serving platter, seam side down.

Frost with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with whole strawberries, if desired.

Slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.

You could make this with different kinds of fruit; fresh berries work especially well.

Another use for the cake: Bake as directed and let cool without rolling. Cut cake into small squares and use as a base for an English Trifle.

RECIPE:

Strawberries and Cream Sponge Cake Roll

5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
5 egg whites
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup sifted powdered sugar
½ cup flour
Powdered Sugar
1 quart strawberries, sliced
2 Tbs sugar
2 cups whipping/heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbs powdered sugar
Whole strawberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15×10” jellyroll pan (or cookie sheet with sides) with wax paper and spray with cooking spray (Cooking spray w/flour in it for baking works great).

Beat egg yolks until light and lemon colored. Stir in vanilla. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt, beating until stiff. Fold in ¾ cup powdered sugar. Fold in egg yolk mixture. Fold in flour. Spread batter in pan. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes (do not let cake brown).

Using a fine mesh strainer, sift a small amount of powdered sugar on a linen towel. Turn hot cake out onto towel. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel. Cool on a wire rack.

Combine strawberries and 2 Tbs sugar; let sit for 5 minutes. Beat whipping cream until foamy. Add 2-3 Tbs powdered sugar and ½ tsp vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Unroll cake. Spread cake with berries, then half of the whipped cream. Reroll cake. Place on a serving plate. Frost with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with whole strawberries. Chill until serving time.

Sugar Free/Whole Grain/Gluten Free Alternative: Substitute Stevia or Splenda for the sugar (use Splenda in the cake; stevia does not provide the bulk the cake needs, but is fine for sweetening the filling), and oat flour, rice flour or finely ground whole wheat flour (white wheat, preferably) for the white flour. The whole wheat flour obviously isn’t gluten free, but you can substitute most other gluten free flours, or a blend of flours for the white flour.

 

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