I love pastry! I love the buttery taste, the flaky texture, and the rich smell of it while it’s cooking in the oven. Unfortunately, I hate all the calories (and so do my hips).
I’ve tried a few “lower calorie” versions found on the internet, but I don’t like any of them. Vegetable fillers sound like a good idea, but you lose the taste & texture of real pastry, and low calorie butter substitutes are evil and should be avoided like the chemical loaded fake food plague they are.
So what’s a pastry lover on a diet to do? I’ve found only one solution – eat the pastry, just less of it. Instead of making an entire pie with both top and bottom crust, make single serving mini pies in ramekins, and put pastry cut-outs on the top only. This looks beautiful, avoids trying to serve a piece of pie without a bottom, looks like you did a lot of work (you actually did less – shhhh), and puts the small bit of pastry that you do eat right under your nose where you can see and smell it.
This is the recipe I used for mini beef & mushroom pies (to be posted on Thursday). As it’s a savoury pie, I didn’t add sugar but if you’re using it for sweet pies, add a tsp or two of sugar in step 1.
Tips & Tricks:
Extra pastry freezes well. To thaw, bring it out of the freezer the night before – don’t use the microwave.
Use a fine grater (cheese shredder) to cut the butter into the flour.
Very cold butter works best. If you have the time, pre-measure and freeze it.
Butter gives you a nice buttery flavour, but shortening or lard give the best flaky texture. Margarine never works well. A mix of half butter / half shortening gives both flavour & texture, but you can decide what you want to use.
I’ve been eating these for breakfast for a week and OMG what a treat. They freeze well and warm up in the microwave easily – perfect for work. My co-workers are jealous when they smell them… 😉
This is a sweet variation of the Quick Biscuits I posted last week. I wanted something easy for breakfast that tasted like it was off the diet radar.
The easy part is that they’re quick to make and you can make them ahead of time and freeze them. The “yum” part is the honey and cardamom – they’re a nice hint of sweet and spice without being overwhelming.
The secret to the diet part is plain non-fat Greek yogurt; the extra thick yogurt cooks like soft cream cheese without all the extra calories. The other diet secret is that this uses biscuit dough instead of puff pastry. Trust me though, no one will notice. 😉
I make these last Christmas and they were so good I had to make them again. I think I’m getting spoiled for homemade bread.
One of the comments I got over and over (besides “yum”, and “omg this is good”) was “how did you get them so perfectly shaped?” That part is super easy – you just need a kitchen scale to measure out even amounts of dough and two equal sized pans.
This recipe makes delicate, light, soft dinner rolls which freeze really well. If you’d rather have hamburger buns, all you have to do is shape them a little differently at the end. You could even do a mix of rolls & buns; one 9×13 inch pan could be used to make 18 dinner rolls leaving the other half of the dough for 18 hamburger buns on large cookie sheets. Continue reading “Soft Bread Rolls”→
Losing a lot of weight is a real motivator for my other half. He’s seen the changes I’ve made and can now see the results, so he wants to make changes too. One of his particular quirks is that he usually doesn’t eat breakfast and when he does, it’s a horrible take-out type thing that isn’t exactly diet-friendly.
I usually have oatmeal for breakfast, but that’s too much of a change for him right now. He needs a grab-n-go, no-thought breakfast that can be varied enough to keep it interesting. I need to not spend a lot of time on this, because I have a life too. 😉
The solution last week was mini muffins. Each one is two bites (which is interesting), they freeze well (which saves time and keeps them fresh), and the fruit can be swapped out to accommodate any flavour combination (which keeps it varied).
Ok, so this is a little more advanced, and it’s not exactly “fast”, but some things are worth the effort. I made 3 loaves and 24 buns because if I’m going to spend the time on this, I don’t want to have to do it often. 😉 My freezer is now full of pre-sliced bread and buns, so now they count as healthy, fast, easy and most definitely delicious.
Homemade bread always reminds me of Christmas, when dad used to use this recipe to made a jelly roll version with nuts, raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar and icing. I’ve tweaked it a bit to use some whole wheat flour, but you can use 100% white flour if you want.