Could Minnesota finally be climbing out of the deep and dark hole that was winter? While April may still bring snow, it’s time for us to banish cold-weather thoughts. It’s time for spring.
No matter what Mother Nature throws our way this month, we can usher in spring by our menu choices. Goodbye to heavy stews and carbohydrate-laden casseroles. Hello salads, spring produce, and lighter food overall.
Even lighter sweets can reflect the season. Lemony desserts are a rite of spring passage and whether you enjoy puckery lemon bars, billowy lemon meringue pie, or its creamier cousin the lemon cream pie, these high-calorie treats can always be made healthier. (Swimsuit season is on its way, after all.)
Making a dessert more nutritious usually means cutting fat and calories. And while this is a noble goal, “healthier” can also mean adding TO a recipe. For instance, cutting butter in a crumb crust slashes fat grams, but adding crushed soynuts to that same crust builds the nutritional profile with heart-healthy soy protein.
Similarly, using reduced-fat dairy products keeps calories down. Though, when appropriate, subbing in pureed tofu can keep the creamy while also reducing fat and calories. But the tofu brings the nutritional bonus of soy protein. As well, soy contributes antioxidants shown to reduce high blood cholesterol, possibly preventing against heart disease as well as certain cancers.
Pureed tofu, mixed with sugar and flavorings, make a lovely “mousse,” pudding, or pie filling. Its neutral flavor and sponge-like texture makes it a blank canvas for whatever ingredients you’re working with. Just as tofu carries the flavors of tomato sauce when it subs in for or partially replaces ground meat in chili, lasagna, or spaghetti, it also takes on the sweeter flavors of chocolate, lemon, pumpkin, and the like in desserts.
Replacing most of the cream with tofu in this Lemon Cream Pie cuts calories and fat, yes, but it also ups the protein and adds calcium, fiber, and antioxidants. You could take it a step further by making a crumb crust using ground roasted soynuts to replace some or even all of the cookie or cracker crumbs. Refreshing and with just the right balance of sweet and tart, this Lemon Cream Pie will have no one guessing “tofu” and everyone thinking “spring.”
Lemon Tofu Cream Pie
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 (12.3-ounce) package silken tofu, drained
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon (about ⅓ cup)
- 1 (9-inch) graham cracker or cookie crumb crust
- Coarse sugar, for garnish
In mixing bowl, beat cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
In blender container or food processor bowl, puree tofu and granulated sugar until smooth. Blend in lemon juice. Gently fold in 1 cup whipped cream. Spoon mixture into crust. Top with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate 2 hours to chill. Sprinkle with coarse sugar just before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers up to 2 days.
Source: Minnesota Soybean