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Cut Calories Without Skipping Dessert

November 20, 1986|TONI TIPTON

Deprivation is often the term used by waistline watchers to describe their holiday sweets eating strategy. The obvious alternative is to substitute prepared light, low-calorie and sugar-free products on the buffet table. There is still hope, however, for those who want to indulge but not bulge from gooey and chocolatey holiday desserts this Thanksgiving by substituting less-caloric ingredients for those with higher fat content.

We offer here some lower-calorie desserts that tally a lot less than their traditional counterparts, although a range of 200 to 300 calories per serving may still seem high to some. The average slice of homemade pumpkin pie can provide more than 300 calories and up to 16 grams of fat, but our Pumpkin Dessert Squares, even when served with packaged gingersnaps, chocolate-covered graham crackers or a dollop of whipped cream, boast about half as many calories and a fraction of the fat.

The Lemon Cheesecake, which is surprisingly low in fat and calories, comes from "Jane Brody's Good Food Book" (W.W Norton: $19.95, hardcover), a collection of recipes and information on the basics of healthful eating.

Fat, Sugar Kept to Minimum In the book, Brody offers some suggestions on keeping fat and sugar to a minimum when making desserts. Her ideas can be helpful from now through the end of the year, when entertaining (and eating desserts) becomes the national pastime.

Some holiday hints: Use milk and evaporated skim milk in place of cream; yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese and part-skim ricotta for sour cream, ice cream, whipped cream and cream cheese; fruit purees and fruit-juice concentrates to replace some sugar; fresh fruit and fruit canned in unsweetened juice instead of fruit canned in heavy syrup; beaten egg whites for whipped cream; small amounts of liqueurs and extra vanilla to enhance flavor without adding sugar or calories, and crumb crusts instead of higher fat pastry crusts.

PUMPKIN DESSERT SQUARES 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

2 cups water

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

9 thin slices orange

Soften gelatin in 1 cup water in medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until dissolved. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, eggs, spice and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just comes to boil.

Dissolve dry milk in remaining 1 cup water. Stir dissolved milk, orange juice and vanilla into pumpkin mixture. Chill until mixture mounds from spoon. Beat 1 to 2 minutes or until light and smooth. Spray 8-inch square pan with non-stick coating spray and pour mixture into pan. Chill until set. Cut into 9 squares. Garnish with thin slice of orange. Makes 9 servings.

Note: Nutrient data does not include orange slices.

Variation: Serve pumpkin squares with packaged gingersnaps, chocolate-covered graham crackers or 2 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream. Add 17 additional calories per gingersnap, 62 per graham cracker and 20 for dollop of whipped cream.

PER SERVING: 106 calories; 5 gm protein; 19 gm carbohydrate; 1 gm fat; 102 mg sodium; 223 mg potassium.


Protein 08% Riboflavin 09% Vitamin A 39% Niacin 02% Vitamin C 26% Calcium 08% Thiamine 04% Iron 03%

DELLA ROBIA CHEESECAKE TART 1 (16-ounce) can fruit cocktail in juice

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

5 ounces evaporated skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Drain fruit cocktail, reserving liquid for other use. Combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar and baking powder in food processor. Mix well. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 egg and process until mixture holds together.

Pat in even layer on bottom and up sides of greased 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Set on baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees 15 minutes. Crust may shrink during baking.

Reserve 1/2 cup fruit cocktail for garnish. Spoon remaining fruit cocktail into bottom of hot shell. Beat cream cheese with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 2 eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract. Pour over fruit and return to oven. Bake 30 minutes or until mixture is set in middle. Place on wire rack to cool. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with remaining 1/2 cup fruit cocktail before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Note: To further reduce calories and fat, cut smaller serving pieces.

PER SERVING: 385 calories; 8 gm protein; 34 gm carbohydrate; 25 gm fat; 271 mg sodium; 227 mg potassium.


Protein 13% Riboflavin 15% Vitamin A 26% Niacin 06% Vitamin C 02% Calcium 10% Thiamine 10% Iron 07%

HOLIDAY LEMON CAKE 1/2 cup butter

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup drained, chopped maraschino cherries

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

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