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Cooking Channel's Chef Goes Back in Time for Decadent Desserts

Ellie Krieger shares secrets for creating historic recipes with a healthy update
“Decades of Decadence” Recipe Collection
by Ellie Krieger, M.S., R.D., host of the Cooking Channel’s “Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger”


1820s: Lemon Chess Pie

This Southern classic’s name is a bit of a mystery, but the story goes that when asked what kind of pie the inventor made, she said “jes’ pie” and culinary history was made. This version has the requisite flakey pastry crust and sweet lemon custard filling but it’s healthier with canola oil and a touch less sugar than the sticky-sweet traditional version, so the lemon really shines through.



Ingredients:

Crust

canola oil cooking spray

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour 125 mL

1/2 cup all-purpose flour 125 mL

1 tsp sugar 5 mL

1/4 tsp salt 1 mL

1½ Tbsp cold 1% low-fat milk 20 mL

1/3 cup canola oil 75 mL



Filling

2 medium lemons

4 large eggs

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk 60 mL

1/4 cup canola oil 60 mL

1 tsp vanilla extract 5 mL

1 cup granulated sugar 250 mL

2 tsp all-purpose flour 10 mL

1/4 tsp salt 1 mL



Garnish

1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar 15 mL



Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray 9-inch (22-cm) pie plate with canola oil cooking spray.

2. To prepare crust, in medium bowl, whisk whole-grain pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt. Beat milk into canola oil until frothy. Make well in flour mixture, pour in canola oil mixture then combine with fork until crumbly. Pat mixture into prepared pie plate like graham cracker crust. Prick pie crust in several spots with fork. Line crust with foil and cover with pie weights or raw rice and bake for 20 minutes. Remove weights or rice and foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes.

3. To make filling, finely zest lemons and squeeze to get 1 Tbsp (15 mL) zest and 3 Tbsp (45 mL) juice.

4. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer. Add buttermilk, canola oil, vanilla, sugar, flour, salt, lemon juice and zest and beat until smooth.

5. Pour filling into pie shell and bake until pie is just set in center, about 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.



Yield: 8 servings. Serving size: 1 slice.



*Note: Whole-wheat, all-purpose flour can be substituted for whole-wheat pastry flour.


Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Calories 340

Total Fat 19 g

Saturated Fat 2 g

Cholesterol 105 mg

Sodium 190 mg

Carbohydrates 38 g

Fiber 1 g

Protein 5 g



1850s: Strawberry Shortcake

This recipe celebrates the beginning of summer with all the luscious flavors you expect from this all-time favorite dessert, but in a healthier and easier way. The biscuits are made better-for-you with canola oil instead of butter and half whole-grain flour. They are simple drop biscuits; no rolling or dough-cutting required. And the whipped cream topping is lightened with Greek yogurt for a subtle tanginess that beautifully complements the fresh berries.



Ingredients:

Topping

16 ounces strawberries 500 g

1 Tbsp honey 15 mL

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 125 mL

2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar 30 mL

1/2 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt 125 mL

1 tsp pure vanilla extract 5 mL

Biscuits

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour* 125 mL

1/2 cup all-purpose flour 125 mL

1 Tbsp sugar 15 mL

1 tsp baking powder 5 mL

1/4 tsp baking soda 1 mL

1/8 tsp salt 0.5 mL

2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk 150 mL

1/4 cup canola oil 60 mL



Instructions:

1. Wash, hull and slice strawberries and place in large bowl. Drizzle with honey, then toss to combine. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

2. Whip cream with electric mixer until thickened. Add sugar and continue beating until soft peaks are formed. Gently fold in yogurt and vanilla. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Cream can be made up to a day ahead.

3. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.


4. In medium bowl, whisk together whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and canola oil.

5. Combine dry and wet mixtures and stir until just moistened. Do not over mix. Drop batter into eight mounds onto prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

6. To serve, using serrated knife, gently cut warm biscuits in half horizontally. Place each bottom half on plate, top with about 1/3 cup (75 mL) strawberries with their accumulated juice and large dollop of whipped topping. Cap with top halves of biscuits and serve.



Yield: 8 servings. Serving size: 1 biscuit, 1/3 cup (75 mL) strawberries, 3 Tbsp (45 mL) cream.



*Note: Whole-wheat, all-purpose flour can be substituted for whole-wheat pastry flour.



Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Calories 230

Total Fat 13 g

Saturated Fat 4 g

Cholesterol 20 mg

Sodium 170 mg

Carbohydrates 24 g

Fiber 2 g

Protein 4 g





1920s: Black and White Cookies

This iconic cookie, which has been around for almost a century, has become a symbol of New York City as it is still found in just about every deli and many bake-shops there. Growing up in the Big Apple, it was one of my childhood favorites. It’s comforting to know that you can use canola oil in the batter to cut the saturated fat. These cookies are traditionally jumbo-sized, but you can halve them to make 12 smaller cookies – just bake them a few minutes less.



Ingredients:

Cookies

canola oil cooking spray

3/4 cup all-purpose flour 175 mL

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour 125 mL

1/2 tsp baking powder 2 mL

1/4 tsp baking soda 1 mL

1/4 tsp salt 1mL

1 large egg

1/3 cup canola oil 75 mL

1/2 cup granulated sugar 125 mL

1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2mL

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk 60 mL



Vanilla Icing

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar 175 mL

2 tsp light corn syrup 10 mL

1 tsp lemon juice 10 mL

2-4 tsp water 10-20 mL



Chocolate Icing

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 125 mL

1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder 60 mL

2 tsp light corn syrup 10 mL

1/4 tsp vanilla extract 1 mL

3-6 tsp water 15-30 mL



Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray baking sheet with canola oil cooking spray.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-grain flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In large mixing bowl, using whisk or hand blender, beat egg, canola oil and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow, then stir in vanilla.

3. Mix about a third of flour mixture into egg mixture, then stir in half of buttermilk until combined. Stir in another third of flour mixture, then remaining buttermilk followed by remaining flour, stirring to combine with each addition.

4. Dollop scant 1/4 cup (60 mL) mounds of batter onto baking sheet so each is about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) of space between each cookie because they will spread. Bake until set and just golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on tray for 5 minutes, then use metal spatula to transfer to rack to cool completely before making icing.

5. To make vanilla icing, in small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and 2 tsp (10 mL) water. Add remaining water 1 tsp (5 mL) at a time until icing is thick but spreadable. Spread icing on half of each cookie.

6. To make chocolate icing, in another small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in corn syrup, vanilla extract and 3 tsp (15 mL) water. Add remaining water 1 tsp (5 mL) at a time, stirring to combine, until icing is thick but spreadable. Ice other half of each cookie. Allow icing to set for 30 minutes. Store at room temperature in single layer. Do not stack until icing is hardened.



Yield: 6 jumbo cookies or 12 smaller cookies. Serving size: 1/2 jumbo cookie or 1 small cookie.



*Note: Whole-wheat, all-purpose flour can be substituted for whole-wheat pastry flour.



Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Calories 200

Total Fat 7 g

Saturated Fat 0.75 g

Cholesterol 17 mg

Sodium 110 mg

Carbohydrates 33 g

Fiber 1 g

Protein 2.5 g





1930s: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This classic cake was made famous by women’s magazines after canned pineapple became available in slices. The recipe here gets a fresh, healthy update with canola oil keeping it moist, light and low in saturated fat; the addition of tender, whole-grain pastry flour; and a lovely kick of crystallized ginger to mingle with the pineapple in the caramelized topping. You and your guests will be turned upside down by it!



Ingredients:

canola oil cooking spray

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar 75 mL

4-5 pineapple rings (about 1/4 of whole pineapple) about 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) thick

2 Tbsp chopped crystallized ginger 30 mL

1¼ cups all-purpose flour 310 mL

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour* 175 mL

3/4 cup granulated sugar 175 mL

1 tsp baking powder 5 mL

1 tsp baking soda 5 mL

1 cup low-fat buttermilk 250 mL

1/2 cup canola oil 125 mL

2 large eggs

1½ tsp vanilla extract 7 mL



Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously spray bottom of 9-inch (22-cm), nonstick layer cake pan with canola oil cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar, then arrange pineapple rings on top in one layer. Sprinkle chopped ginger pieces in spaces around pineapple rings and in their centers.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla.

3. Mix wet and dry ingredients until combined. Pour batter over pineapple-brown sugar mixture and bake until top is lightly browned and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then run knife around cake edges and, using oven mitts, invert cake onto large serving plate.



Yield: 8 servings. Serving size: 1 slice.



*Note: Whole-wheat, all-purpose flour can be substituted for whole-wheat pastry flour.



Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Calories 390

Total Fat 16 g

Saturated Fat 1.5 g

Cholesterol 55 mg

Sodium 270 mg

Carbohydrates 57 g

Fiber 2 g

Protein 6 g



1940s: Chocolate War Cake

War cake, popularized in the U.S. during World War II, is made without eggs or milk, which were hard to get at the time. The recipe has stuck around all these years because it is moist, chocolaty and a cinch to make. It just happens to be vegan as well, so it is ideal for those with dietary restrictions. Making war cake with canola oil and half whole-grain pastry flour makes it better for you with a taste worth “fighting for.”



Ingredients:

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour* 175 mL

3/4 cup all purpose flour 175 mL

1 cup granulated sugar 250 mL

1/3 cup natural cocoa powder 75 mL

1 tsp baking soda 5 mL

1/2 tsp salt 2 mL

1 cup cold water 250 mL

1 Tbsp cider vinegar 15 mL

1/3 cup canola oil 75 mL

1 tsp pure vanilla extract 5 mL

1/2 tsp confectioners’ sugar 2 mL



Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In 9-inch (22 cm) round baking pan, whisk together whole-grain pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

2. In small bowl or measuring cup, combine water and vinegar.

3. Make well in center of flour mixture in pan and pour canola oil and vanilla extract into well. Pour water-vinegar mixture over top of flour and then stir well to blend all ingredients.

4. Bake until set and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Place cake on rack to cool in pan. Once cool, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.



Yield: 12 slices. Serving size: one slice.



*Note: Whole-wheat, all-purpose flour can be substituted for whole-wheat pastry flour.



Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Calories 180

Total Fat 7 g

Saturated Fat 0.5 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 200 mg

Carbohydrates 29 g

Fiber 2 g

Protein 2 g




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