Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sugar-Free Clafoutis

Blueberry Clafoutis

I remember the first time I tried Clafoutis. "Cla - what now?" was my first thought. But one bite and I was a believer!

Clafoutis is a traditional French dessert, a cross between an egg-y pancake and a coffee cake, loaded with lovely fresh fruit. In Limousin, the region of its origin, fresh cherries are used, pits and all. Equally delicious are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apricots, pears or plums. Served warm, it is perfect for dessert, breakfast, or afternoon tea, and comes together with ease and speed, and very few dirty dishes.

One day I just had a flash of inspiration - what if I made this (sugar-free, of course!) with coconut flour? Lately I've been experimenting with coconut flour, an ingredient with many possibilities. It is very smooth and fine, super high in fiber, and pleasantly sweet tasting. Being so high in fiber, it absorbs moisture like crazy, so when substituting for wheat flour, you need to use a smaller amount of coconut flour. I played with the proportions, and the first batch was fantastic, right off. (I can't always count on that.)

There's only one problem with this recipe .... it's gone in a flash. My daughter and I ate a whole batch of this, made with blueberries, for breakfast last week. Fortunately, it's so fast and easy, I'll just make another one!

Sugar-Free Clafoutis

1 pound berries, or 1 1/4 pound of other firm fruits, as listed above, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup sugar substitute (I like Swerve)
2 TB coconut sugar (optional, but delicious - very low glycemic)
1 cup whole milk (or coconut, almond or other milk, or substitute 50% of it with heavy cream)
The immersion blender is the perfect tool.
4 large eggs
¼ cup coconut flour + 2 TB
¼ tsp salt
3 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 TB vanilla

1). Pre-heat oven to 400 F
2). Butter shallow 2 quart baking dish or pie pan generously
3). In a blender, food processor, or, if using an immersion blender, a bain Marie, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, butter, vanilla, and sugar. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
4). Sprinkle the fruit over the bottom of the baking dish, then pour batter over it.
5) . Bake until puffed and golden, 35 to 45 minutes
This batch was made with full cream coconut milk - delicious! 

Serve warm

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sugar-Free Clementine Cake

My friend Shiela is very fond of the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which, interestingly, Clementine Cake is featured prominently. After multiple viewings, she became so intrigued with the idea of this cake that she Googled it, immediately found a great recipe from The New York Times, baked it, and raved about it. I have never seen the movie, but when she described the recipe to me, I knew immediately that it was a winner, and one that I could easily adapt to sugar-free goodness. The results? Oh, this is good. The crumb is moist, the flavor intense, the crust chewy.... Excellent for breakfast or afternoon tea; full of protein and fiber. I can see making this into individual tea cakes, too....

Sugar-Free Clementine Cake

Adapted from The New York Times

  • 5 medium clementines or tangerines (1 pound)
  • Spray cooking oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar substitute (I am loving Swerve!)  
    ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups almond flour or meal (Bob's Redmill and Trader Joe's are great sources)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


Poached Clementines


  1. Place whole unpeeled clementines in a medium-sized sauce pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 2 hours, adding more water as needed. Remove clementines with a slotted spoon and, once cool enough to handle, halve and remove any seeds or other hard bits. Purée in a food processor, immersion or conventional blender and set aside. (May be done up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.)
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking oil, line bottom with parchment paper and spray paper with oil.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with the melted butter, sugar substitute, salt and clementine purée. Add the almond flour and baking powder and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake until edges are golden brown and starting to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack set over baking sheet. After 10 minutes, run a knife around edge of pan to loosen cake; remove cake from pan. Peel off parchment paper and return cake to wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with dusting of powdered sugar or with chocolate glaze or candied clementines, or both.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sugar-Free Classic Chocolate Pudding

Rich, creamy, home-made chocolate pudding. Yay! What could be yummier? I love the recipe in the Gourmet Cookbook; it whips up in no time at all and is supremely delicious. But of course, there's the whole sugar thing. Yup, sugar. Carbohydrates. Diabetes. It all sucks.

But - ta-da! Here is my sugar-free adaptation. I promise that this is just as delicious as it would be made with sugar. Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

1/4 cup sugar substitute (I love Swerve, but you can use xylitol or another)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
pinch of salt
*2-3 TB cornstarch

2 cups whole milk (this is the richest tasting, as well as lowest in carbs)
1 large egg
4 oz best quality semisweet sugar-free chocolate, chopped finely (I like ChocoPerfection)
OR a mix of sugar-free and low-sugar chocolate

6 small to medium-sized ramekins or custard cups

Whisk together the sugar substitute, cocoa powder, corn starch and pinch of salt in a 2 quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk. (Please note that you may need a spatula to get some of the powder from the perimeter of the pan to incorporate.) Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil, whisking, until the pudding is thick, 3 to 5 minutes.

Place the egg in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk it. Gradually whisk the hot pudding into the egg. Add the chopped chocolate to the pudding, then whisk until it is melted and well-incorporated.

Pour the pudding into the ramekins. Let cool until room temperature, then cover and put in the refrigerator. Chill for at least two hours. Devour!

Chocolate notes:  Most of the sugar-free chocolate on the market is sweetened with maltitol.  In fact, most of the sugar-free products on the market are sweetened with maltitol. Unfortunately, according to my online research, maltitol causes insulin to spike. Therefore. its usefulness as a sweetener for diabetics is limited. There are several nice non-maltitol-sweetend chocolates out there. ChocoPerfection, which is sweetened with inulin (chicory root) and erythritol, Coracao, which uses xylitol, and Xyla, which also uses xylitol. None of them are cheap, but it's worth it!

*Cornstarch Notes:  For reasons that are unclear to me, many of the sugar-free chocolates have a completely different thickening behavior in the pudding. While pudding made with regular chocolate requires only 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, most sugar-free chocolates require 3 TB. If you use a mix of regular and sugar-free chocolate, the lower amount works up until approximately 50% regular chocolate. Otherwise, if using all sugar-free chocolate, I recommend using the higher amount. You will certainly find on the first batch (and I assure you, you will make more within a day or two!) whether you hit the right amount. If it's too thin or too thick, it's still completely delicious. Just adjust it on the next batch.


New: Sugar-Free Banana Bread

Even after I have created a new recipe and found it delicious, I continue to tweak it; I work on lowering the carbohydrates and raising the deliciousness. And frankly, sometimes I lose confidence in ingredients that I was fond of; soy  - not so thrilled with how it's raised.  These days, I'm pretty excited about working with coconut flour. It is low in carbs, very high in fiber and protein, and has a fine crumb and a lovely sweet base flavor, perfect for cakes and cookies. However, all that fiber tends to suck up the liquid, and creates a strong drying effect. This is where a fruit quick bread is the perfect pairing; the moisture in the fruit binds with the coconut fiber. This, plus the addition of almond meal and additional eggs creates a moist, flavorful loaf. In this case, the new formula is so much more delicious than the old, I decided to do a new posting. One word of warning: the lower the wheat content, the lower the gluten. The lower the gluten, the lower the crown. This recipe is completely delicious, but it has a lower profile than you might be used to!

Group 1
4 small, very ripe bananas, or 3 large, mashed
3 large eggs
1/3 cup erythritol
2 TB xylitol
1/4 tsp stevia extract powder
1 TB coconut palm sugar (optional, but delicious - for flavor)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup xylitol or Swerve
1 TB coconut palm sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp stevia extract powder

Group 2
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 TB flax meal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Group 3
1/2 cup walnuts, broken into medium pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease loaf pan. (Gotta love spray-on coconut oil!)

2. Combine mashed bananas, eggs, sweeteners and vanilla in a large bowl and stir well to combine.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flours, salt and leavening. Whisk to combine, carefully breaking up any lumps of meal or flour. (Coconut flour does have a tendency to lump.)

4.  Stir flour mixture into banana mixture. Stir until all lumps and dry spots are well incorporated.

5. Stir in walnuts until well distributed.

6. Scoop batter into greased loaf pan and smooth top.

7.  Place pan on middle rack of preheated oven. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, around 50 minutes to 1 hour.

8. Cool on rack until cool enough to tip out of pan. Cool completely on rack out of pan.