In the lowcarber’s on-going quest to find low-carb versions of traditional dishes from the high-carb world, there exist the ones from the pastry world. I won’t bother to enumerate any of them here. The list is legion and I’m sure you just rattled off at least a dozen in your head while reading the previous sentences. It’s a world you’re better off leaving completely behind. But if you insist on going there, then you need to be aware of the preparation challenges with adapting these temptations to your way of eating.
The crux of the problem with pastries of most kinds is twofold and comes down to finding suitable substitutions for two major ingredients: flour and sugar. Without these key ingredients why even bother? Cauliflower double-fudge brownies anyone?
The essential challenges are finding substitutes for refined white flour and that sweetest of all ingredients: sugar. There are nut flours you can choose from and coconut flour isn’t a bad one. It tastes like coconut and is sort of sweet and you can always use baking powder and/or tapioca flour for low-carb forms of leavening. Where the typical sugar substitutes fall short when it comes to baking is lack of caramelizing properties at least for most of them. But what if there was a sweet treat that just about everyone craves that doesn’t use flour and can do just fine without caramelization?
If I had obscured the delicacy in question in the title of this post, I bet it would have taken you a while to come up with it, unless of course you’re a cheesecake fanatic. After all what is cheesecake, besides a big ole hunk of cream cheese, combined with eggs and a ton of sugar? Baking a cheese cake is typically a rather involved, time-consuming process. My Aunt Mary’s “Light as air fluffy cheese cake” is a rather big production, but oh so worth it. I’m providing the link to the recipe on her blog for information purposes only. You’ve been warned! Oh, and be sure to watch the video she recorded.
I found this microwave version of a single-serving cheese cake on Facebook. I’ve adapted it to replace the sugar with a few drops of liquid stevia. When it comes to cooking and dressings, substituting Swanson Vitamins’ liquid stevia will make you swear that real sugar was used. I lied in the title. Actual preparation time is somewhat under five minutes with a cooking time of ninety seconds. And of course you need to let it chill in the fridge for a few hours prior to eating. That’s a true test of your willpower!
Note-1: This recipe doesn’t use a crust. As you probably know, most cheesecakes have a streusel type crust made from either crushed graham crackers or bread crumbs. It also uses quite a bit of sugar along with butter. Honestly, I don’t really miss the crust. I was thinking about making a faux crust using almond flour, but I think the crunchy granularity of the sugar would be missed in this case.
Note-2: Portion control tip. I’ve mustered the discipline to consume exactly half a mini cheesecake per sitting. My typical routine – when I have some on hand – is to eat half with my afternoon coffee (great combo!), and then finish the remaining half as dessert after dinner or as an evening snack. It sounds really hard, but it’s a great way to manage both appetite and cravings.
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 1/4 tsp organic vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 6-8 drops liquid stevia
- Small ramekin for “baking”
- Place cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and soften (about 20-30s on High).
- Add remaining ingredients and whisk together.
- Pour batter into small ramekin and microwave on High for 90s. Stir gently after 30s. Recheck at 60s and only stir if still soupy.
- Chill in fridge for at least one hour.
- (Optional) top with fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries or if you’re feeling really decadent; sugar-free jam.