Nut flours, sugar sub­sti­tutes and edi­ble flow­ers. Dig into desserts that scream healthy this sea­son.

India Today - - CONTENTS - SABINA GUPTA Founder, Not Just Desserts

There is such a thing as a healthy fes­tive dessert

WHAT’S A FES­TI­VAL with­out de­li­cious desserts? With a dis­tinct shift to­wards eat­ing healthy and stick­ing to dif­fer­ent di­ets, desserts this sea­son are all about mak­ing peo­ple feel good about what they are eat­ing rather than guilty. So, the baker’s kitchen is ex­per­i­ment­ing with un­con­ven­tional in­gre­di­ents such as un­re­fined flours, raw sug­ars, more spices, nuts and grains that we didn’t ever imag­ine would go into cakes and cook­ies. Sugar, which is seen as the chief en­emy by those watch­ing calo­ries, is mak­ing way for nat­u­rally sweet in­gre­di­ents like pan­ela and rice bran syrup which are go­ing into desserts.

Look at in­ter­na­tional dessert trends and you will see that vegeta­bles and fruits like avo­cado, sweet potato, tapi­oca, co­conut, bananas and ap­ples are tak­ing cen­tre stage when it comes to desserts. Tra­di­tional in­gre­di­ents like nuts and grains are now be­ing adapted into flours which can be used as sub­sti­tutes for the tra­di­tional all-pur­pose flour, thus mak­ing desserts gluten free and ac­ces­si­ble

to a wider num­ber of peo­ple who oth­er­wise would skip these sweet treats.

The gen­eral as­sump­tion is that a healthy dessert is usu­ally ined­i­ble and bor­ing but for the past two decades, we have been cus­tomis­ing ev­ery­thing to our pref­er­ences and re­stric­tions. The trends keep chang­ing—we’ve made gluten and dairy-free desserts and what is trend­ing now is ve­gan, pa­leo and keto diet choices. So, the desserts also re­flect that.

In­gre­di­ents like pan­ela (rape­dura), jag­gery, rice bran syrup, honey, ste­via, co­conut sug­ars and dried fruits like figs, dates, raisins and sul­tanas have re­placed the more com­monly used re­fined sug­ars. When it comes to flours, tapi­oca, co­conut, sorghum, rice, buck­wheat, ba­nana and maize seem to be the best choices Desserts this sea­son also come with seeds like flax, sesame, chia, sun­flower and pump­kin for that ex­tra dose of good health.

Fes­ti­vals and cel­e­bra­tions are in­com­plete with­out sweets but now, the fo­cus has shifted from the tra­di­tional to a more whole­some and al­lur­ing dessert. Peo­ple want off­beat flavours and com­bi­na­tions. So we see that our laven­der, sesame and chilly co­rian­der cook­ies, the ever colour­ful rose and pis­ta­chio gra­nola, and a fun chia seed pud­ding are what peo­ple are opt­ing for. Berry tarts, be­sides be­ing a treat for the eyes, come packed with an­tiox­i­dants and are also pop­u­lar this sea­son. Al­though healthy is trend­ing, you can­not en­tirely dis­re­gard lus­cious chif­fon sponges, rich choco­lates and cream fill­ings.

Di­wali is a time of cel­e­bra­tions and it is said you eat with your eyes. That def­i­nitely holds true this sea­son— it’s all about fresh berries, silk and edi­ble flow­ers, those gold and sil­ver foil ac­cents and elab­o­rate choco­late gar­nishes, al­beit all healthy.

Avo­cado, sweet potato, tapi­oca, co­conut, bananas and ap­ples are tak­ing cen­tre stage when it comes to desserts LOOKS GOOD, TASTES BET­TER

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