ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It is Valentine’s Day and finishing off dinner with a sumptuous and romantic dessert is almost expected.
People with diabetes often feel that their diets are going to be so restricted that they may never enjoy food and especially a dessert ever again.
That does not have to be true. It is just as delicious to finish off your special dinner with a dessert for you, and your love, that is scrumptious, even if it has fewer carbohydrates.
The trick with food and love is to find what works for you, and find different ways to create and re-create them over and over in new and interesting ways. It is truly a labor of love.
I am known for my cheesecakes. I won prizes for my “original” cheesecake recipe, Death by Cheesecake. It was filled with chocolate chips, apricots and walnuts. Today I make a lower carbohydrate version using the nuts as part of the crust and a chocolate glaze over the top.
Another favorite variation on my cheesecake is “Razzleberry” (Raspberry) Cheesecake. In this recipe I add fresh raspberries to the cheese filling for a romantically pink color and a bit of zing. For Valentine’s Day try making it with a lower carbohydrate chocolate butter cookie crust.
The combination of the raspberries and cheese can be used to create a light, almost mousse-like crème. In October 2017, we shared the vanilla version of this crème recipe (abqjournal.com/1076039/tinker-with-recipes-to-enjoy-desserts.html). The raspberry version has that romantic pink color and flavor of cheesecake. It is a lighter finish to your Valentine’s Day dinner. It might be a better choice than the cheesecake if your meal is on the heavier side.
If you love a flavor combination, build on it and keep falling in love with it over and over again.
Chef Ward Alper retired to Albuquerque after being a professional chef in Boston and New York City. He blogs as “The Decadent Diabetic: Taking Back My Life and Table,” thedecadentdiabetic.com.
Carbohydrates: 12 g per serving
¾ cup sugar replacement of choice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 30-ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or crème de cassis or ¼ teaspoon raspberry flavoring
6 ounces fresh raspberries
NOTE: Must be made in a food processor or it will be grainy. It will still taste good but the texture will be off.
Place sugar replacement of choice in the bowl of a food processor. Add the ricotta cheese, vanilla extract and liqueur or raspberry flavoring and process for two minutes. Scrape down the sides and process for 1-2 minutes more. Slowly add the fresh raspberries. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
Spoon the mixture into 1 cup white ramekins (for the kids) or martini or wine glasses. Cover and refrigerate 2-4 hours or more.
May also be made in a large dish for a spectacular and easy dessert presentation.
Top with very lightly sweetened raspberries soaked in 1 tablespoon of Trop 50 or cassis.
“RAZZLEBERRY” (RASPBERRY) CHEESECAKE
Net carbohydrates: less than 12 g per slice
FOR THE CRUST:
2/3 cup all- purpose flour
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup granulated sugar substitute of choice
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons cold butter
1 large egg
In a food processor with a steel blade pulse all of the dry ingredients until very well combined and the nuts disappear into the mixture. Add cold butter and pulse until butter is well distributed in the flour mixture. Add the egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball on the blade. Remove dough, pat into a disc about 5 to 6 inches. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a half hour but overnight will also work.
FOR THE FILLING:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar substitute of choice
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or ¼ teaspoon raspberry flavoring
6 ounces fresh raspberries, evenly divided
3 large eggs
In the food processor combine granulated sugar substitute and cream cheese. Whip on high speed until combined. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and raspberry liqueur or flavoring and pulse to combine. Add 3 ounces of the raspberries and combine with the cheese. Add the eggs and pulse until well combined. Taste for balance of flavor.
Roll out dough on a floured surface to form a crust about two inches larger than the bottom of an 8- to 9-inch springform pan. Spray springform all over and press the dough into it (don’t panic, it always falls apart a little; just press it into place).
Pour filling into springform.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour until sides are set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove and let cool completely. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. Decorate with any remaining berries.