Cook's Corner: Desserts can suit everyone

Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
Even though the temperatures over the past week or so haven't felt much like spring, it is. And with spring coming, now is the time to start planning some great desserts for those cookouts everyone plans to have.
After I mentioned last week that I would begin sharing some great dessert recipes with the readers of this column, I got a phone call from a lady with a special request. It seems that finding diabetic-friendly recipes for desserts are a little hard to come by. I did find a few at the Splenda web site and decided I'd share a few of those with you. If you have the ability to visit the website for others that I can't print here, go to and you'll find a treasure trove of recipes for desserts of all kinds.
Just to let you know, even if you're not diabetic you will probably like the recipes offered here. I have a friend who was once on a sugar-free diet by choice, not by necessity. She prepared an apple pie using a sugar-substitute and I promise you I couldn't tell the difference between her pie and one made with real sugar.
Because of that I figure if you can cut a calorie or two by using this and you can't tell the difference in taste, then why not give it a try.
To start things off with those sugar-free desserts, I chose to share this recipe using fresh strawberries, which are plentiful right now.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
One-third cup water
1 cup Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1 (1 ounce) package unflavored gelatin
One-third cup water
6 cups strawberries, cleaned and cut in half
1 (9 inch) prepared reduced fat graham cracker crust
Pour one-third cup water in a small mixing bowl. Add Splenda® Granulated sugar substitute. Stir well. Sprinkle gelatin over the top. Let stand 1 minute. Pour one-third cup water in a small pan. Boil. Pour boiling water over gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate approximately 20 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir frequently. Toss with prepared berries and spoon into piecrust. Chill until set.
Exchanges per serving: 1 Fruit, 1 Fat
If you have strawberries on hand or even you plan to put some in your freezer, this next recipe should be a good one to try. This one will be perfect on a hot summer day or even if you just like strawberry ice cream.
Strawberry Ice Cream
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Three-fourths cup whole milk
One-half cup instant nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons honey
Three-fourths cup Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
One-half cup cold water
1 teaspoon unflavored (plain) gelatin
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
Make ice cream base. Whisk together the evaporated milk, cream, whole milk, nonfat dry milk, honey and Splenda® in a large mixing bowl. Stir well and set aside. Stir gelatin and cornstarch together in a microwaveable bowl. Pour cold water into the gelatin and cornstarch mixture. Stir well using a small whisk, until the mixture is very well blended and there are no visible lumps. Microwave gelatin mixture on high about 2 minutes, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, or until a thick clear gel forms.
* Remove cooked mixture from microwave. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the ice cream base into the gelatin. Stir well, making sure the gelatin and cornstarch are evenly distributed and there are no visible lumps. Pour back into remaining ice cream base and mix well.
* If the gel turns into one big lump, simply start over. It means that your microwave could have been too hot or you were not stopping and stirring the mixture frequently enough.
Exchanges per serving: 1 fat, 1 reduced fat milk
And for those folks who feel that a family reunion or Sunday dinner isn't complete without banana pudding, here's one that is sure to be good for everyone who takes a bite. The recipe calls for reduced-fat vanilla wafers. Just so you know, you can actually find sugar-free vanilla wafers as well.
Banana Pudding
2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
1/3 cup Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 large egg
One-fourth teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 reduced-fat vanilla wafers
2 bananas, sliced
Garnish: Reduced-fat frozen whipped topping, thawed
Combine milk, Splenda® Granulated Sweetener, cornstarch, egg, and salt in a medium saucepan; whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Place 2 vanilla wafers in each of 4 (1-cup) dessert cups; divide half of the banana slices among cups. Top bananas with one-fourth cup of the hot pudding. Repeat layering with 2 more of the wafers per cup, remaining banana slices, and remaining pudding. (Cover bananas with the pudding to prevent browning.) Cover surface of each pudding with plastic wrap; refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled. Insert 2 of the remaining vanilla wafers into each pudding; top with whipped topping.
Exchanges per Serving: 2 1/2 Starches, 1/2 Reduced-fat milk
I hope that these recipes will give those of you who are on a special diet some ideas on how to manage your sugar intake.
Next week, I plan to pass along some recipes for folks who aren't watching their weight or sugar in-take.
If you have some ideas or special recipes you'd like to share with our readers, I'd love to hear from you. You can give me a call at 867-4876, send them by email to, or I'd love to meet you if you want to stop by the office at 407 St. Nicholas Street. I'll be happy to share your recipes with our readers.
Until next week, Happy Cooking.

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