Many of us would like to eat more healthily, but if you have a seriously sweet tooth, you might draw the line at giving up desserts. Luckily, there are plenty of puds that are low in fat and processed sugars but will still delight your senses and satisfy your cravings.
Here are 6 to get you started...
Honey and amaretti baked pears
This aromatic, juicy dish is heavenly to eat and reassuringly wholesome at the same time. It’s also easy to prepare.
4 ripe pears
8 amaretti biscuits
6 tbsp clear honey
½ tsp cinnamon
Cut each pear in half, leaving the skin on. Scoop out the cores using a small spoon (or a sharp knife if the pears are tough). Then spoon a quarter of the ricotta into the hollow of each halved pear, before sprinkling on a little cinnamon and drizzling over some of the honey.
Place in a preheated oven at 190°C (fan 170°C) and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, place the amaretti biscuits into a food bag and crush them using a rolling pin. Next, remove the pears from the oven and scatter the amaretti crumbs over them. Place the pears back in to bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and the fruit is soft.
For a little extra luxury and sweetness, you can drizzle the pears with some more honey before serving.
Chocolate and banana ice cream
Think ice cream is off the menu if you want to stay healthy? Think again. This fruit-based recipe means you can enjoy a gorgeous low-fat chocolate ice cream guilt-free.
4 frozen bananas (peel and chop before freezing)
4 tsp cocoa powder
As long as you remember to put the bananas in the freezer in advance, this dish takes only seconds to prepare. Just add the banana and cocoa powder to a blender and blitz until smooth. Serve immediately.
Creamy rice pudding
Traditionally made with cream and full-fat milk, rice pudding probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you’re looking for a healthy dessert option. But with a few tweaks, it’s easy to cut the calorie and fat count of this comfort food classic.
100g pudding or risotto rice
750ml semi-skimmed milk (or unsweetened almond milk)
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or the seeds from a vanilla pod)
4 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt to serve
Pour the rice, milk and vanilla paste or seeds into a pan over a low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring the rice to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for around 50 minutes, stirring occasionally to begin with and then more frequently as the rice absorbs the liquid. When the rice is tender, stir in 1 tablespoon of honey.
Then divide your mixture into 4 bowls. To serve, top each bowl with a tablespoon of yogurt and a drizzle of honey, and swirl through the creamy rice.
Banana and berry slush
This is the ultimate quick fix, perfect when you want a healthy dessert in a hurry. Made purely from fruit, it’s great for helping you to get your 5-a-day.
4 ripe bananas
400g frozen berry mix (raspberries, blackberries and currants are ideal)
Simply slice your bananas into a bowl, tip in your frozen berries and blitz using a stick blender to create a creamy slush. Spoon into glasses or bowls and serve straight away before it melts.
Apple and date cups
Fruity and beautifully spiced, this warming dish takes less than 20 minutes to make, and it will fill your kitchen with enticing aromas.
2 cooking apples
85g prunes, roughly chopped (or raisins if you prefer)
85g dried dates, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
Small tub of fat-free fromage frais or Greek yogurt to serve
Leaving the skins on, halve each apple and remove the cores using a spoon. Then combine the prunes, dates, mixed spice, muscovado sugar and orange zest in a bowl and divide the mixture between the 4 apple halves, placing it in the hollows where the cores were removed. Put the apples into a microwaveable dish and pour over the orange juice. Cover and cook on medium power for 5 to 7 minutes until the apples are soft.
Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving with fromage frais or Greek yogurt.
These gooey chocolate pots have all the decadence and deliciousness you’d expect from a dessert with this name, but they’re much healthier than you might think.
60g plain dark chocolate
3 tbsp sweetener
4 tbsp fat-free fromage frais
2 tbsp dark rum (optional)
Heaped tsp chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Separate the eggs, then beat the yolks and mix them into the cooled chocolate, along with the sweetener. If you’re using rum, add this to the mixture too.
Next, whisk the egg whites until they form peaks and then fold them into the chocolate, taking care to keep as much air in as possible.
Transfer the mixture into small glasses (shot glasses are perfect) and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. To serve, top each glass with a spoonful of fromage frais and, if you want a final flourish, some chocolate sprinkles.