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Low Fat Italian Desserts


On the menu:

Amazing Low Fat Cannoli
Panne Cotta



Amazing Low Fat Cannoli

This offbeat cannoli is faster to make than the traditional Italian dessert, because you don't have to fuss with the dough. When you take a bite, it shatters into a thousand buttery flakes, just like the real McCoy. The secret? The pastry tubes are made with Chinese wonton wrappers, which are baked instead of fried.

Note: the recipe is quick and easy to make, but you must start the night before to drain the ricotta.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 pints low or no fat ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon orange flower water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

to finish the cannoli:

12 four inch wonton wrappers
spray oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon chopped, toasted pistachio nuts
cannoli tubes

 

Cooking Instructions:

  1. The night before place the ricotta in a yogurt strainer or cheesecloth or paper-towel lined strainer over a bowl. Drain overnight in the refrigerator. Discard the whey. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly spray 12 cannoli tubes with spray oil. Starting with the corner of one wonton wrapper in the center, roll the wrapper around the tube. Glue the opposite corner to the tube with a dab of cornstarch paste. Lightly spray the outside of the cannoli with oil. Roll the remaining wrappers the same way.
  3. Bake the cannoli until golden brown and crisp, about 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slide the pastry shells off the tubes onto a cake rack and let cool to room temperature. Brush with the melted butter.
  4. Prepare the filling. In a large bowl combine the drained ricotta, sugar, orange flower water, vanilla, and lemon zest and whisk to mix. Correct the sweetness, adding sugar or orange flower water to taste. Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch star tip. The recipe can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage.
  5. Just before serving, pipe the ricotta mixture into the pastry shells, adding filling from each end. As you withdraw the piping tube, make a rosette at each end. Sprinkle the ends with chopped pistachios and serve at once.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 260
Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 53 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 25 grams
Dietary Fiber: 0 grams
Protein: 15 grams
% calories from fat: 14%
% calories from saturated fat: 6%

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Panne Cotta

Panne cotta (literally "cooked cream") is a dessert of astonishingly simplicity, a sort of Jell-O made with milk and heavy cream. When properly prepared, it will be set but quivering, not so hard, you can bounce a spoon off of it.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1-1/2 envelopes gelatin, softened over 3 tablespoons cold water
2 cups skim milk
1 cup sweetened condensed skim milk
a 2 inch piece vanilla bean, split, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
spray oil

6 1/2 cup ramekins

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl. Let stand until spongy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the skim milk, condensed milk, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and cinnamon stick in a heavy saucepan. Heat the mixture to simmering, but do not let boil. Infuse the seasonings in the milk over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin and almond extract.
  3. Spray the ramekins with oil. Strain the panne cotta mixture into the ramekins. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm (at least 4 hours, as long as overnight).
  4. To serve the panne cotta, run the tip of a paring knife around the inside of the ramekins. Invert the ramekins onto dessert plates and give a little shake: the panne cotta should slide out easily.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 180
Fat: 0 grams
Saturated Fat: 0 gram
Sodium: 100 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 35 grams
Dietary Fiber: 0 grams
Protein: 9 grams
% calories from fat: 0%
% calories from saturated fat: 0%

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