Do you suffer from post-dessert guilt syndrome (PDGS)? It is a condition affecting millions of people. Major symptoms include wrestling with one's conscience when the time for dessert comes around ("Death-by-Chocolate" or "Fruit Platter"..hmm??), forgoing dessert only to stuff yourself with cookies in the middle of the night, and most commonly, making New Year resolutions to eat less sugary foods.
Well, people, the lovely Sam of "Becks and Posh" has a cure for you: healthier desserts that one can feel better about eating. So this month we are keeping away our jars of refined sugar and coming up with some cool alternatives....in an event that Sam is calling Sugar "Low" Friday.
The problem with refined sugar is that it has "empty calories", which means that it contains only calories and no other nutrition in the form of vitamins or minerals etc. In contrast, other sources of sugar like fruits and unrefined sugars retain a host of micronutrients that contribute positively to the diet. A combination of smaller portions and healthier desserts would mean that no one needs to deprive themselves of the occasional treat.
In that sense, I like the Indian concept of "mithai" or sweets, small treats that can be eaten in a couple of bites. It is a nice way to get a sugar fix without eating a huge bowlful of something sweet. I used dates as my sugar base for this recipe. The main reason is that ripe dates have a very high sugar content, being about 75% sugar. In addition, they are rich in fiber, potassium and folate. Dates also have a rich taste that is very satisfying!
I served these date-nut slices with slices of orange. The tang of the orange sets out the sweet dates and the slightly bitter walnuts. This was a great dessert to enjoy after a lazy Sunday lunch. The slices keep well in the freezer, to be eaten whenever the craving strikes!
Adapted from a Tarla Dalal recipe; makes about 20 slices
10 plump juicy dates (about a cup and a half)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1. Pit the dates and trim off the stems. Chop dates coarsely.
2. Toast the nuts separately (a couple of minutes in the microwave works for me, but a stove-top skillet or warm oven would work just as well). Chop the walnuts coarsely. Grind the almonds to a powder.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the dates, milk and cream. Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium-low heat, stirring often, till the dates break down and the mixture cooks into a thick fudge-like consistency that leaves the sides of the saucepan.
4. Turn off the heat. Stir in walnuts, cardamom and a pinch of salt and combine well. Let the mixture cool almost to room temperature.
5. Place the date mixture on a plastic sheet and form it into a long roll. Roll the (ahem!) roll in almond powder to get it coated.
6. Place the roll in the freezer for an hour or more, then cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the slices if desired.
It is going to be a busy weekend ahead at One Hot Stove, stay tuned for IMBB: Noodles, Weekend Cookbook Challenge, and the "U" of Marathi food...one each day starting tomorrow! I want to thank Sam for making us think out of the sugar jar!
Tagged with: SHF # 15 + Low Sugar