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Re-thinking dessert

So you’ve cut down on the sweet stuff and you’re finding it, well, not that hard. Except for one thing. You love a good dessert. Well there’s no need to deprive you, it just takes a little mental shift and some creativity.  You’ll find that your palate starts to adjust once you reduce sugar in your diet, and the sweet treats you used to love, well you’ll actually find them too sweet (I promise!)

Part of this adjustment is re-framing how you see dessert. Historically, dessert developed due to social phenomenon. In the 17th century France, the word “dessirver” was used for this last course. It means ‘to clear the table’ and a range of cloying treats were deployed as a way to fill the guests up to the brim, and to literally, clear the table. And so this gluttony has continued into the 21st century. But we don’t need to reject this completely. Along with being mindful of the portions we consume at main meals, we can also design sweet treats that satisfy a mental need for comfort, while nurturing our body at the same time. It is possible for this to be a win-win situation!

You won’t be surprised that whole fruit will be your friend. Start with buying good quality produce. Organic fruit, for the most part, really does taste better. For starters, if you buy local, it probably hasn’t landed far from the tree and hasn’t been subjected to months of cold storage in the supermarket. Rather than splurge on the 5 or 6 ingredients you need for a cake, using fewer, better quality ingredients will cost you less, and be far healthier for you.

I often like buying an organic pineapple when in season – you can tell if it’s ripe by smelling its bottom! It should smell sweet and pineapple-y (surprise!). Peel and remove the spiky eyes and hard core. Pan-fry the wedges over medium-high heat in some melted butter. When the pineapple has coloured, remove it, then add a little more butter and mix in a sweet spice like cinnamon. To finish, toss in some skinned hazelnuts, swirl the butter around until it smells nutty, then pour over the pineapple wedges and serve with some crème fraiche or coconut yoghurt.

Other ideas include:

  1. Baking whole apples – use a variety like Jonathan apples. Core, peel, and fill the centre with some butter, nuts, and spices and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately half an hour
  2. Hot Chocolate! Open your mind to a drink for dessert. Use an unsweetened plant-based milk like almond or coconut heated with raw cacao.
  3. Yoghurt Sorbet. Use three frozen bananas blended in a high-powered blender with 1 cup of whole plain yoghurt and 1 cup frozen raspberries or flesh of amango. Google ’nice’ cream for more inspiration and to see the consistency to achieve. This is a real winner!

By Victoria Thaine,
Recipe Contributor

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