A Healthy, Low-Calorie
Dessert - With Chocolate!
BY THE AMERICAN
INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH
For food-lovers in general
(and chocoholics in particular), this weeks dish is a dream
come true: an elegant, healthy dessert that includes chocolate.
Although deceivingly rich, these meringue tartlets are actually
low-calorie and, consequently, low-guilt. Do note, however, that
this recipe is a bit more time-consuming than most. Be sure to
begin at least a day before you plan on serving.
The sweet winter pears featured
in this recipe are harvested in September. While all varieties
are delicious (and nutritious), for cooking we recommend Bosc
light brown and gold with an elegant tapering neck
or Anjou pears plump, oval and light green when ripe.
These are firmer varieties and hold up best to heat. And, although
ripeness matters less when selecting pears for cooking, firmer
fruit may require a longer simmering time and an extra touch
While the presentation of this
dish is particularly striking, the recipe is also packed with
nutrients. One medium pear contains roughly 5 grams of fiber
and just 100 calories.
In addition to their sophistication,
these meringues are a surprisingly healthy end to a meal. They
provide a low-calorie, low-fat protein source egg whites.
Do remember, when making meringues be sure to use the whites
only. If any yolk accidentally slips into the bowl, youll
need to start over, as they wont stiffen properly otherwise.
Also, no short cuts on time. If the meringues are taken out of
the oven prematurely, they will not get crisp.
Lastly, while this recipe calls
for minimal chocolate, the rich, dark chocolate used here imparts
maximum flavor. In addition, research has shown that compounds
in cocoa, called flavonoids, impart important antioxidant benefits.
The higher the cocoa content, the more beneficial the effect.
And, you guessed it dark chocolate has a much higher cocoa
content than white or milk chocolate. When shopping, look for
dark chocolate labeled 60 percent cocoa or higher.
Tartlets with Pears and Shaved Chocolate - Makes 8 servings.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup orange juice without
- 2 cloves
- 4 ripe pears Bosc or
Anjou varieties (peeled, halved and cored)
- 1 Tbsp. plus ¼ cup
- 4 large, room temperature
- Dash of cream of tartar
- Dash of salt
- 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. shaved
chocolate, from a good-quality dark chocolate bar
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large baking pan, combine water, orange juice, 1 Tbsp. sugar
and cloves. Add pears. Poach pears in the oven until soft. Remove
pears from liquid and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine
the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat with an electric
mixer at medium speed until the eggs are frothy (about 1 minute).
With the mixer at high speed, add the remaining ¼ cup
sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Beat for roughly 6 minutes or
until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Drop the meringue onto the
prepared baking sheet in eight 3- to 4-inch-diameter rounds,
smoothing the edges. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, but
leave the meringues in the oven for about 12 hours. Do not open
the oven door.
When ready to serve, gently
peel the meringues off the parchment paper.
Place each pear half in a bowl
and top with one meringue. To garnish, shave chocolate from the
side of the chocolate bar using a vegetable peeler. Note, it
may help if the chocolate bar is cold, so refrigerate for several
minutes prior. Garnish each meringue with 1 teaspoon shaved chocolate.
Per serving: 117 calories,
2 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate, 3 g
protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 65 mg sodium.