… When all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were
hung by the chimney with care. In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there. The children
were nestled all snug in their beds. While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads…
Wait a minute! Mass consumption of sugarplums along with candy canes, Yule logs, eggnog, sugar
cookies and gingerbread houses can lead to the ever-expanding waistline, an increased body mass-
index and elevate my cholesterol. This all leads to the 15-minute lecture by my physician on the
evils of overindulgence at my next doctor appointment.
What’s a person to do during the holiday season?
For starters, limiting your serving of holidays sweets is the first step. As a rule of thumb, the richer
the dessert, the smaller the serving size.
I will seriously limit my serving size of that double chocolate peanut butter cheesecake that Aunt
Martha makes every Christmas while taking a more liberal serving of the lemon angel food cake
with mixed berries that Cousin Ironwoman brings every year. This type of portion control works
for any type of food – not just desserts.
You’re obviously allowed a larger serving of skinless roasted turkey breast than you are of
Potatoes Dauphine with butter, eggs and oil to remain calorie neutral. Being calorie neutral
simply means that you’ll burn off what you eat that day with normal physical activity. You can
also remain calorie neutral with the cheesecake and the butter and creamed potatoes included…as
long as the portions are smaller.
Liberal servings of the two only remain calorie neutral if your usual daily activity consists of the
Tour de France.
Substituting a good cocoa powder for some of the chocolate in a recipe can cut back both
saturated fat and cholesterol in any recipe. I usually combine both a good cocoa powder such as
Droste and a good chocolate such as Valrhona or Callebaut.
As I always say, no sense in wasting dietary saturated fat. If you’re gonna eat it, no sense
consuming “empty” saturated fat found in the usual supermarket variety chocolate that has been
sitting on the shelves who knows how long. Might as well use a richer chocolate that enriches
your creation and at the same time, you probably can use less of it (which means less saturated
fat) to get almost the same result. When added to cocoa (which has very little fat), you’ve now
cut back on the saturated fat and cholesterol and probably haven’t compromised the taste of you
Substituting canola or macadamia nut oil or soft margarine in place of butter also helps reduce
the nasty fats in your desserts. I don’t eliminate all of the butter in my recipes since butter
provides a taste not found in margarine or oil. I simply substitute some of the butter for these
healthier fat alternatives. Again using a richer tasting butter such as the European style butters or
simply making sure the butter is fresh (not the block in the back of your freezer since last
Christmas) provides a richer butter-taste so that what is substituted in the recipe isn’t missed or
Finally, dairy substitution probably provides the greatest fat reduction in many recipes. Again, we’
re not talking about eliminating it – just substituting higher fat dairy for lower fat. Using lowfat
milk instead of whole milk or skin milk in place of lowfat milk. There are also legions of reduced
fat sour creams and cream cheeses or even non fat versions. Creative substitution here means
adding some canola or macadamia oil or even soft margarine when using fat free dairy products.
Obviously, eliminating all fat from most desserts leaves the recipe “wanting” and the diner looking
for an alternative selection. Therefore, adding back healthier fats such as the oils or margarine still
leaves the recipe with the fat “mouth feel” and maintaining it’s palatability.
Just Create From Scratch
As mentioned in a previous column, Raymond Siu of Pah Ke’s Restaurant in Kaneohe has gone
one step further in dessert creation. Instead of simply cutting back on the butter or cream, he
creates new desserts that make you wonder why you craved those ingredients in the first place.
His soy milk custard uses soy milk and fresh vanilla beans served atop whatever fresh berries are in
season. It’s very refreshing, low in saturated fat, has no cholesterol and most importantly, VERY
GOOD! He also has a steamed coconut “manapua” (char siu bao in the states). He wraps an angel
food cake around a raspberry and covers that with a coconut “mouse” that has no eggs. When
cutting into the dessert, it looks just like a regular bao with the red filling enclosed by the white
cake and mousse. This is either served atop a coconut sauce or raspberry sauce. Delicious and guilt
He also serves an almond cake with fresh berries that again, has very little (if any at all) dairy and
eggs. Even eliminating the culprits of heart disease (saturated fat and cholesterol) can taste very
good – it just takes the creativity of Raymond Siu!
If you can’t bring yourself to spend more for Valrhona or Callebaut chocolate just yet, try this
citrusy pound cake this holiday season.
Orange Pound Cake
1 stick European style butter (can also use regular butter)
1 & 3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons orange oil
4 tablespoons macadamia nut oil
2 & 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
4 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 & 1/4 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounce reduced fat sour cream
2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoon breadcrumbs
Red food coloring (optional)
Mixed softened butter with sugar. Add orange oil, macadamia nut oil, 1 & 1/2 T orange zest and
orange juice concentrate. Add eggs – one at a time – until thoroughly incorporated. Red food
coloring can be added at this point to give the cake an orange color – it only takes a couple of
drops. Sift together flour salt and baking soda. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream to
butter/sugar mixture. Start and end with flour. Grease a bundt pan and coat with bread crumbs.
Shake out excess bread crumbs. Put batter in bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1hr 10
minutes or until toothpick/bbq stick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then on wire
rack. Mix orange juice and rest of orange zest with powdered sugar and drizzle on pound cake. Let
glaze cool/harden before serving.
Twas the Night Before Christmas...