Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Featured Ingredient: Truvia
With obesity and diabetes numbers skyrocketing in North America, more people are looking for ways to satisfy a sweet tooth with less damage. Using stevia powder such as that from Truvia may help you accomplish such a feat. Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that is meant to appease those who are a little iffy about artificial sweeteners created in a lab. Truvia is made by extracting super sweet rebiana from the leaves of the South American stevia plant. Until late 2008, stevia could be sold in the U.S. only as a dietary supplement. But in December 2008, the FDA stated they believe rebiana is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a food additive. This up-and-coming sweetener is 200-400 times sweeter than table sugar so a little goes a long way.
In Truvia, rebiana is paired with erythritol, which is added as a bulking agent. Pure rebiana would be crazy sweet on its own. Erythritol is a naturally fermented sugar alcohol. It is fairly benign, but in some people it could cause stomach troubles when consumed excessively.
Truvia comes in packets as well as a new spoonable container. In this clafoutis recipe, it worked very well and I could hardly tell regular sugar was given the night off. Plus, there was no curious aftertaste that has plagued some stevia products. So if you’re concerned about your sugar intake and waistline or need to get your blood sugar numbers under control, Truvia might be worth trying in your next batch of cookies.
You can find sugar Truvia conversions here. Be very aware that it is not a 1:1 substitution.
Clafoutis is a wonderful custard-like baked dessert (or breakfast for some) from the Limousin region of France. It is typically made by baking fresh fruit (often cherries) and a sweet batter similar to a crepe in a cake pan. But who needs a cake pan when you’ve got a muffin tin handy. These are so delicious, you’ll be glad for the built-in portion control. Instead of cherries, I used three seasonal berries: tart red currants, blueberries and raspberries. Most clafoutis recipes use white flour but try whole wheat pastry flour for the superior nutritional profile.
Muffin Tin Mixed Berry Clafoutis
Recipe adapted from Food & Drink
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
8 packets (or 2 Tbsp + ½ tsp) Truvia stevia or 1/3 cup normal sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1.5 cups mixed berries of choice
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If not using silicon muffin cups or paper liners, grease muffin cups with some of the butter. In a blender or food processor, combine butter, eggs, extracts, sweetener, and salt. Process until combined. Add flour and blend just until combined. Divide berries among 12 medium sized muffin cups.
Pour the flour mixture over the berries.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until puffed and set. Let them cool in the pan to firm up and make removal easier. If you’re impatient and remove them too soon they will fall apart but will still be very much edible. The clafoutis will puff up in the oven but will sink back down in the middle as they cool.