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Tips for healthy garnishes for desserts.

Ideas to take your desserts to a new level.
 

  

 

   

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Light Desserts

What greater pleasure than a mouth-watering dessert that isn't so laden with calories that you cringe when you climb on the scale the next day? Let luscious spring fruit like strawberries, rhubarb and pineapple be your springboard to light desserts.


How To:

Start with a base that is inherently low fat, like meringues or angel cake or fruit salad or sorbet.

"You can just about put anything you want in meringue, just because they're so neutral in flavor -espresso, chopped orange zest, ginger, cinnamon. You can also put cocoa powder in because then that gives you some chocolate flavor without the fat," explains Emily Luchetti, Executive Pastry Chef at Farallon in San Francisco. (For more from Emily, including a great tip for making berry sauce, see chefs@home.)

Then use fruit as a garnish or a sauce or both. Try preparing fruit in different ways, like poached or sautéed, as well as fresh.

Edible flowers are the feather in a dessert maker's cap. Use small whole flowers such as pansies, Johnny-jump-ups and nasturtiums for a splash of color or pick petals from larger flowers such as calendulas and marigolds and sprinkle them like confetti . Be sure to choose pesticide-free blossoms specifically grown for use as food.

Get started with these light desserts:

 

Dress It Up

For special occasions, there are two great options — to offer each guest their own individual dessert or to make a dessert that doubles as a centerpiece. To make it truly special, be sure to add the extras — garnishes, flowers and sauces.

For small intimate occasions, it's nice to offer guests their own individual dessert. Most cakes and tarts can be made in miniature. A good rule of thumb for dividing batter is what will fill a 10-inch tube pan is also enough for 12 small tube pans. And a recipe that yields a 10-inch tart will also make four individual ones. Add a fruit sauce or two and a few pieces of bite-sized fresh fruit and you have a beautiful presentation.

For larger family celebrations, make a dessert that can grace the meal from the start. Use a pretty platter, garnish it with small whole fruits, edible flowers and a festive sprinkling of confectioner's sugar and set it out on the center of the table. When it's time for dessert, make a show of serving each guest a piece.

Try these desserts or you can make them fancy for a special occasion:

Low-Fat Desserts Dressed up for a Special Occasion
Meringue Cookies
Brown Sugar Meringues with strawberries and Rhubarb Sauce
Chocolate Meringues Chocolate Meringues with Spring Fruit Sizzle and Blood Orange Sauce
Walnut Meringues Walnut Meringues with Honey Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and fresh figs
Lemon Angel Cake Lemon Angel Cake with Strawberries
Apricot Cake Apricot Cake with Apricot Sauce and sliced apricots
Chocolate Angel Cake Chocolate Angel Cake with Oranges and Chocolate Sauce
Angel Cake Angel Cake with Summer Fruit Salad and Raspberry Sauce

 


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Healthy Garnish Ideas:

  • Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or a mixture of confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder
  • Edible flowers
  • Add a few berries to the side of each dessert
  • Make one or two fruit sauces, such as Apricot Sauce, Raspberry Sauce or Mango Sauce. Put them in squeeze bottles and decorate everyone's plate with them.
  • Add herbs from the garden, such as angelica, mint, lavender, or lemon balm.

 

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