Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

20170726_155542In the south, banana pudding is a quintessential summer dessert. It is a valued traditional fare like cheesecake is to New Yorkers. Despite all of its southern charm, traditional banana pudding harbors an enormous amount of calories and saturated fat. As much as I love traditional recipes they don’t quite fit into a healthy lifestyle I try to lead. I needed to find balance, a way to slim down traditional recipes without losing their classic flavors.

20170726_155602I usually have bananas on hand because both of my daughter’s love them. Problem is both of my daughter’s love them and the second I use them for a recipe they will request them all day and refuse to eat anything else. Thankfully, my preschooler has been particularly picky lately and has not been requesting bananas while my youngest has had tummy troubles from the formula to milk transition and definitely does not need anymore binding foods. This caused my bunch of bananas to hit the overly ripe stage and make them free to use for baking.

20170726_151850Now that I had bananas I had to figure out how to shave down the average traditional recipe’s 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, and 19 grams saturated fat without losing the taste everyone falls in love with upon first bite. My first idea was to enhance the banana flavor in order to compensate for the loss of richness sacrificed along with the heavy cream. I know from my culinary school days that when you roast a banana the naturally occurring sugars concentrate and take on a caramelized flavor. This would allow me to boost the flavor of the custard and reduce the amount of added sugar as well. The only problem with this approach is the texture of the roasted bananas becomes too soft to slice for the banana layers that adorn the custard base. My solution was to roast only the bananas needed for the custard as they would be mashed anyway and keep the sliced bananas fresh so they would retain their shape and texture.

20170726_152128To finish up my recipe makeover I swapped 2% milk for the heavy cream or half & half found in traditional recipes. The added richness from the roasted bananas more than made up for the taste lost along with the fat. For the topping I used light whipping cream over heavy cream to save even more calories and fat. Even though the whipped topping doesn’t hold a stiff peak like it would have if made with heavy cream, it is not necessary for this recipe. After all the tweaking, this recipe saves over 500 calories, 44 grams of fat, and almost 17 grams saturated fat per serving without losing a bit of good ole’ southern charm!

20170726_155634Note: If you are not serving the entire pudding right away you will want to prepare just enough whipped cream for what you are serving rather than spreading the full amount across the entire pudding as the final layer. This whipped cream is not stabilized in order to save calories and fat so it will lose its hold over time (approximately 2 hours of holding time). Rather than ruining the entire pudding due to weeping, simply whip up some fresh whipped cream with each serving.

 

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe Bananas; unpeeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 45 Vanilla Wafers; divided

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully peel and place roasted bananas in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth or use an immersion blender. Peel and cut remaining bananas into ½-inch thick slices.
  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the newly combined mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding mixture. Spread 1 cup of custard evenly into the bottom of an 11-x-7 inch baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of the remaining custard over the banana slices. Repeat procedure by placing 20 vanilla wafers, remaining banana slices, and remaining custard. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the pudding layers. Crush the remaining 5 vanilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SIDNEY FRY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

20170629_102444If you haven’t already noticed, this summer I am all about the no-bake desserts. With limited time available and no desire to make the A/C work any harder than it already is, no-bake desserts are a perfect option. Not only are these cherry cheesecake bars an easy summertime treat but they are also a great addition to your 4th of July picnic or party.

As with every dessert I make I try to make it as healthy as possible without the taste being noticeably off. These bars are no different. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust made with fattening butter, this crust is made with olive oil containing heart healthy fats and omega-3 rich walnuts. The walnuts add a touch of extra flavor to the crust to make up for the loss of richness when butter is cut from the equation. To keep saturated fat in check in the filling, regular cream cheese is swapped out for a blend of reduced-fat cream cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt. You can even make these bars gluten-free if you make the simple exchange of gluten-free graham crackers for regular.

20170629_102431Whether you want to pass a delicious dessert at an Independence Day themed picnic/party or simply desire an easy, no bake summer dessert for your family, these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are sure to never disappoint!

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • Half of a 14 oz. box of Graham Crackers; preferably whole-wheat
  • ½ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup light Olive Oil
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkg. Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 6 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cans Cherry Pie Filling (you may not need all of the 2nd can)

 

Preparation:

  1. Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Drizzle with the oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 13-x-9 inch baking dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over the crust. Spoon the cherry topping over the filling until no filling shows through the topping. Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: CAROLYN MALCOUN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

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No-Bake Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

Untitled-1Chocolate lovers rejoice! This amazing no-bake pie explodes with chocolate flavor and is sure to be loved by any chocoholic. Seriously, what is not to love about an Oreo cookie crust filled with rich and creamy chocolate pudding spiked with a (optional) hint of Kahlua. That’s what I thought…nothing!

20170610_135838Chilled desserts like puddings, pies, ice creams, and sorbets are naturally summer dessert favorites by helping the body stay cool. Additionally, no-bake items are also summer favorites because you do not have to heat up the oven that will make the A/C work that much harder or *gasp* heat up the oven when you don’t even have A/C to cool the house back down.

20170610_135747This chocolate pudding pie is quick and easy to prepare and can be adapted to the tastes of the audience it is serving. For example, if this pie is being served to a grown-up crowd, go ahead and spike the pudding with a shot of Kahlua or white rum for a boozy kick. If the pie is going to be hitting the taste buds of the younger crowd or a mixture of both young and old you may want to skip the shot of alcohol and keep things vanilla with none other than a shot of vanilla extract. Either way you make it, this pie is to die for and you will not regret giving it a try this summer!

20170610_135205

No-Bake Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 in.) prepared Oreo Cookie Pie Crust
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ cup unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 ¾ cups Milk; divided
  • 2 large Egg Yolks
  • 4 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Kahlua (or 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract)
  • ½ cup Fresh Raspberries (optional)
  • Whipped Cream; for topping (optional)

 

Preparation:

  1. Place prepared Oreo crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
  2. In a large saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Add half of the milk and the 2 egg yolks. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and stir until combined. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the 4 oz. of chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the Kahlua (or Vanilla). Pour filling into the prepared crust and cover with plastic wrap. Place pie back in the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours or until set. Serve with raspberries and whipped cream.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

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Easy Cherry-Almond Crisp

20170529_174601June has only just begun and temperatures here in Central Florida have already been averaging in the mid-90’s (heat index well over 100°) since early May. I enjoy the heat but it makes going outside with the kids for walks or playtime practically impossible unless it is really early or late (but late in the swamp only trades heat for mosquitoes). Seeing as outside play is limited this time of year, other activities need to fill the void. Baking happens to be one of our favorite go-to activities year round but even more so in the hot and rainy summer months.

With the A/C already working overtime to keep us cool I want a recipe that is not too extensive but also screams summer for the days we stay cooped up indoors. Along with cobblers and pies, one of the quintessential desserts served in the summer is a crisp. A crisp is quick, easy, and makes the most out of in season fresh fruit. Sweet cherries are a favorite of mine and happen to currently be in season, making them easily accessible at supermarkets. If you happen to stumble across this recipe when sweet cherries are not in season, you can easily use frozen sweet cherries with the added bonus that they will already be pitted for you.

cherryalmondcrisp1Although I love sweet cherries on their own, I prefer a balance of tart and sweet flavors in a crisp. For example, when I make apple crisp, I always use a blend of sweet and tart apples. I chose to replicate the same process by using tart dried cherries in addition to fresh sweet cherries. Before burying the cherries under a blend of oats and almonds I add a touch of cinnamon and vanilla to further enhance the flavor.

I prefer to serve this dessert warm and with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice cream), however it is just as enjoyable at room temperature or after a quick warm up in the microwave. I mean, what is not to love about a simple recipe that takes fresh in season fruit, tosses it together with some pantry staples, and bakes into a summertime stunner beckoning for a scoop of ice cream!

Note: To keep this dessert super simple, use frozen pitted cherries if you do not want to pit them yourself. If you elect to use fresh cherries (recommended) and you do not own a cherry pitter, you can pit the cherries with a straw or pastry tip. Simply insert the straw or pastry tip into the stem end of the cherry and push it through until the pit pops out on its on. This recipe yields one 8 x 8 inch baking dish of crisp. You can easily double the recipe ingredients and bake the crisp in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish to accommodate larger families/crowds.

Easy Cherry-Almond Crisp

 

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried Tart Cherries
  • ½ cup Boiling Water
  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen) Sweet Cherries; pitted
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:

  • 3.4 oz. (¾ cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Sliced Almonds
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

 

Preparation:

  1. Combine dried cherries and boiling water in a small bowl (or pan you boiled the water in); cover and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl combine the dried cherries (including the soaking liquid), pitted sweet cherries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon; stir well. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
  5. Meanwhile, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, almonds, and salt in a medium bowl; stir well. Combine butter and almond extract in a small bowl. Drizzle butter mixture over oat mixture, stirring until moist clumps form.
  6. Remove cherry mixture from oven and sprinkle evenly with streusel topping (you may have extra topping). Bake an additional 20 minutes or until streusel is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm on its own or with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt/ice cream.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

20170521_161331Summer is just around the corner and that means longer, hotter days and kids running around the house 24/7 (if you are a parent). Although summer is supposed to be a more relaxed time of year it can actually be more hectic, especially if you are an adult with school age children. With the summer schedule already (or about to be) in full gear, it is good to have versatile recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and light on the palate.

20170521_161513Muffins are my preferred versatile recipe item, mainly because they were the first thing I learned to bake on my own as a kid. They are quick and easy to prepare, leave minimal clean-up, and have a seemingly infinite amount of flavor combinations so you never get bored. Today, I elected to work with the flavors of Italy, hence the name Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins. A combination of classic Italian ingredients (lemon, ricotta, and olive oil) creates a tart and satisfying muffin. The combination of ricotta cheese and olive oil make this muffin insanely moist, like a mini lemon pound cake. For striking lemon flavor, lemon zest and juice was not enough. To get lemon flavor that shines through everything else, I added lemon extract with the zest and juice. If you don’t like a heavy lemon flavor you can always omit the extract. Lastly, each muffin is finished with a heavy sprinkle of turbinado sugar to lend a crunchy textural contrast.

20170521_161429I highly recommend giving these muffins a try, especially this summer. They are great fresh out of the oven, at room temperature, or reheated. If you want to keep some on hand for quick snacks they can be frozen for longer storage and reheated in the microwave or simply left out to thaw on the counter to room temperature. If you elect to keep them at room temperature right after baking, make sure you store them in an airtight container and do not hold for more than 3 days (although they will likely never last that long). Enjoy these muffins at breakfast with coffee, grab one out the door before work/school, enjoy one as a sweet afternoon snack with tea, or fulfill a late night sweet craving. The possibilities are seemingly endless!

 

Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 7.9 ounces All-Purpose Flour (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup part-skim Ricotta Cheese
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp. Pure Lemon Extract
  • 1 large Egg; lightly beaten
  • Turbinado Sugar (Sugar in the Raw); for topping

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or fill tray with muffin-cup liners and coat liners with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, water, oil, zest, juice, lemon extract, and egg. Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  4. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter in each muffin cup. Bake 15-16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Muffin)

NutritionLabel

 

Weight Watchers: 7 Smart Points, 4 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

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Lemon Meringue Tart

16 - 1 (1)Bright, citrusy desserts are the perfect way to end a summer meal. Since there is always one of the many varieties of lemon in season year round, a dessert focused on lemons is a great way to indulge in a summer citrus craving while keeping with seasonal produce. The lemon meringue tart is one of my favorites, as it offers a quick and relatively simple way to feature lemons in a show-stopping summer dessert.

16 - 1 (2)For those of you familiar with the popular lemon meringue pie, you may be wondering how a tart is any different other than the pan it is baked in. Truth is they are very similar in appearance but the difference lies heavily in the crust and filling. A pie uses a lemon custard for the filling, which contains flour or cornstarch to thicken and little to no butter for flavor. On the other hand, a tart uses lemon curd for the filling, which contains no flour/cornstarch and has butter added for a creamy, smooth texture. Lemon curds also tends to have more lemon juice or zest added, creating a more intense lemon flavor. There is also a noticeable difference in the crusts. A pie uses the traditional flaky pie crust as a base while the tart will use a ground almond/cookie crumb crust.

16 - 1Both the crust and filling of this tart are very easy to prepare. The only part that may trip up beginner bakers is the meringue. That is why I chose to use a swiss meringue as it is more stable and doesn’t need to be baked like other meringues. I also chose to use store-bought lemon curd for convenience but you could easily prepare your own. This tart is baked in a 9 inch tart pan and will make approximately 8 servings.

Lemon Meringue Tart

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Blanched Almonds
  • 3 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 36 Vanilla Wafers
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1 (10 oz.) Jar Lemon Curd
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Water
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almonds, brown sugar, and wafers. Process mixture until finely ground. With the motor running, drizzle the butter through the food chute and process until blended. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes or until well toasted. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once crust has cooled, spoon lemon curd evenly into crust. Place egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with a stand or hand mixer on high-speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Preheat broiler. In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Cook mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 250°. With mixer running, slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the egg white mixture over the tart. Broil for 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Serve

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

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Summer Stone Fruit Crisp

20160703_153619Stone fruits are one of summer’s best seasonal produce options. When I spotted some fresh Georgia Peaches on sale along with a red variety of plumcots, I had to bring them both home (plus a few plums that happened to hop on in). Unfortunately, these tasty gems go from remarkable to rotten extremely quick, like overnight quick. I probably should mention that it didn’t help matters that one of my cats decided to taste test one, bruising it pretty good. Of course once one peach gets bruised any near it also get bruised and soft.

20160703_153805Upon first glance, the fruit looked like it deserved a trip to the trash. However, the great thing about stone fruits are they can easily be salvaged. Crisps are a simple, rustic way to save any stone fruits that seem past their prime. My golden rule is if the fruit still smells sweet and you don’t see any mold it can be thrown in a crisp. A crisp is a simple way to showcase the abundance of summer’s stone fruits. All you need is a small baking dish, the fruit, and a few other ingredients that are typical pantry staples. No extravagant shopping trips necessary.

20160703_153738The stone fruits used in this crisp are peaches, plums, and plumcots. I specifically used black plums and red plumcots but you are welcome to use whatever combination you have on hand. I prefer this combination as it provides a mixture of tart and sweet fruits that complement one another. The goal is to add a hint of sweetness from the peaches but keep the flavor remaining tart overall so that it does not become too sweet when paired with the ice cream. The addition of cinnamon and nutmeg warms up the flavor of the stone fruits while the crispy oat topping provides a crunchy textural contrast to the soft fruit base.

I find this crisp to be the perfect end to any summertime meal. This year it will be served at our Independence Day BBQ. It is best served warm with some low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Enjoy & Happy 4th of July to America!!!!!!!

Note:

  • If you are preparing the crisp ahead of time and would like to serve it warm to guests, you can place it in single serving bowls then microwave each bowl for approximately 30 seconds. If you would like to heat up the entire crisp at once you can place it in a 350° oven for approximately 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired degree of warmth.
  • This crisp yields about 6 servings, however it can easily be doubled. When doubling the recipe make sure you use a 13 x 9 inch baking pan to accommodate the larger amount of ingredients.
  • The nutritional information is based upon a serving that includes ½ cup of crisp and 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream.

Summer Stone Fruit Crisp

Fruit Base Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups Sliced Peaches
  • 1 cup Sliced Plums
  • 1 cup Sliced Plumcots
  • 3/8 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

Oat Topping Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 1.7 ounces All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 2 cups Low-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream

Preparation:

  1. Combine all of the fruit base ingredients in a large bowl. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the fruit mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle mixture with the butter. Stir mixture with a fork until crumbly.
  4. Once the fruit base has finished baking, sprinkle the oat mixture over the baked fruit. Continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(½ cup crisp & 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream)

SummerStoneFruitCrispNutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 14 Smart Points, 8 Points Plus, or 6 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

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