It's back to nurture with old-fashioned desserts

January 08, 1995|By From Eating Well Magazine

Remember when moms used to make dessert? Back when the Cold War was raging, supper ended with something warm and sweet. A bread pudding, perhaps, or a fruit cobbler.

These days, we tend to pass over the old-fashioned desserts; they seem stodgy, too high in fat or too time-consuming. But look again. There's nothing outmoded about a dark-chocolate bread pudding fragrant with cinnamon.

The following desserts can be assembled in 20 minutes or less. For the Apple Roly-Poly, an almost-instant biscuit dough encloses lightly spiced grated apples; it bakes in 15 minutes.

Best of all, these desserts are low in fat; none has more than 7 grams of fat per serving.

Apple Roly-Poly

A tender, gingery biscuit dough is spiraled around a spiced apple filling and baked in hot cider. Golden Delicious, Cortland or Rome apples are good choices.

Serves 4

1 cup apple cider

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 large apples, peeled and grated (1 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup currants

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup all-purpose white flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together cider, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; pour the mixture into four 12-ounce custard cups. Set the cups on a baking sheet and place them in the oven to heat the syrup while you prepare the filling and dough.

Combine apples, currants, cinnamon, allspice and the remaining tablespoon lemon juice. Set aside.

To make the biscuit dough, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into the dry ingredients with two forks until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

With a fork, gradually stir in just enough of the buttermilk to make a soft dough.

On a well-floured surface, pat the dough into an 8-inch square. Distribute the grated-apple mixture evenly over the surface.

Roll up the dough and filling like a jelly roll. Slice the roll into 4 pieces.

Carefully remove the syrup-filled cups from the oven. Place a roly-poly piece cut-side down in each cup, pressing on the dough to flatten slightly. (As the roly-polys bake, they expand to fill the dishes and absorb most of the syrup.)

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is baked through to the center.

Serve immediately.

Per serving: 358 calories; 5 grams protein; 7 grams fat; 72 grams carbohydrate; 397 milligrams sodium; 16 milligrams cholesterol.

Pear-Cranberry Cobbler

Serves 6

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

5 ripe pears, cored, peeled and chopped (4 cups)

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/3 cup 1 percent milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 slices firm white bread, crusts trimmed

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In an 8-inch square baking dish, stir together 1/4 cup of sugar and the cornstarch. Add pears and cranberries and stir until well combined. Place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, stirring midway, or until the fruit is tender and the juices have begun to thicken.

Meanwhile, in a large shallow dish, whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla.

Cut each bread slice in half diagonally, and soak bread in the egg-milk mixture, carefully turning the slices for even soaking.

Remove the fruit from the oven and arrange the bread in rows on top of the fruit. Combine nutmeg and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar; sprinkle evenly over the bread. Bake for 20 minutes more, or until the fruit is bubbling and the bread is golden.

Serve immediately.

Per serving: 249 calories; 5 grams protein; 3 grams fat; 53 grams carbohydrate; 146 milligrams sodium; 72 milligrams cholesterol.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Bread Pudding

While American-style cocoa certainly works in this recipe, Dutch-process cocoa produces a deeper color and richer flavor.

Serves 6

4 slices whole-wheat or white bread, torn into small pieces

2 large eggs

12 ounces evaporated skim milk

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 cups nonfat vanilla or coffee frozen yogurt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Spread bread in the dish in an even layer.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add evaporated skim milk, brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon; whisk the mixture until the sugar and cocoa dissolve. Pour the cocoa mixture over the bread. With a fork, mix in any unsoaked bread pieces. Sprinkle chocolate over the top and let stand for 10 minutes.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and set in the center. Serve warm, with a scoop of frozen yogurt on top. The pudding is also good cold.

Per serving: 332 calories; 14 grams protein; 4 grams fat; 62 grams carbohydrate; 271 milligrams sodium; 76 milligrams


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