Indulge your sweet tooth, minus the sugar


We’re trying to cut down on our sugar intake these days, so that means the cola, packaged juices, biscuits and the likes have a ‘no entry’ board at home. It is difficult because when you’re tired at the end of the day you really have to make an effort to reach out for some fresh fruit rather than a packet of biscuits. It isn’t that we are doing this because we want to shed the kilos, yes, I will admit weight loss is one of the goals but we are looking at the bigger picture – overall health.

One of these weekends we wanted to have something sweet after our meal and even though it was tempting to just run down to the ice cream store down the road, I decided that we would stick to our resolution despite it being one of those days where we could afford to indulge. I thought I’d bake something at first but, I wanted something that would be faster. Pannacotta is one of those things that never fails to impress and I vouch for David Lebovitz when he says that, if you’re taking more than 5 minutes to put together a pannacotta then you’re definitely doing something wrong!

Yes there is cream in this pannacotta, otherwise it wouldn’t be called so! But I’ve used a 20% fat cream for this one and instead of the sugar there’s organic Maple Syrup in it. I also wanted something that’s a little different in texture and temperature, so I quickly made some caramelised bananas with jaggery. Now those of you who know me, will know that I go weak-kned when I see something with jaggery. Maybe it’s my coastal roots or maybe it’s the earthy flavour that appeals to my sensibilities, I can’t put a finger on it but, what I do know is that jaggery is just the yummiest sweetener ever.

Maple pannacotta

200 ml of fresh cream (I used the one with 20% fat)
1 tbsp of milk
2 tbsp of Maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp of gelatin
1/2 cup water

Sprinkle the gelatin over water, give it a quick stir, cover and keep aside. This process is known as ‘blooming’ and is essential if you want the gelatin to work its magic.

Meanwhile mix the milk and cream together and bring to a gentle boil. Add the Maple syrup and simmer for another minute. Now add the gelatin mixture to this and mix well. Remove from heat and pour this mixture into your moulds.

Let the mixture cool down to room temperature and then place it in the fridge for about 4-6 hours, or until it has set.

Caramelised bananas

2 large bananas, peeled and cut into pieces
2-3 tbsp of jaggery, grated (I used the granules)

Place a non-stick pan over medium heat and add the jaggery to this, when it begins to caramelise and turn into a thick liquid you can add the bananas to this and quickly stir around. Make sure the bananas are completely coated with the caramel.

Remove from heat and serve.

To serve.:

– Unmould the pannacotta and place it on a serving plate. Now place the bananas next to this and serve immediately. You can drizzle some Maple syrup over the pannacotta just before serving.

* Sprinkle some sea salt over the bananas just before serving and voila! you have some salted caramelised banana
* Grease the pannacotta moulds just a little bit before pouring in the mixture, this will make it easier to unmould later on
* If you don’t want to use gelatin you can substitute it with Agar Agar/Chinagrass


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