Healthy desserts are tricky creatures. For one thing, the qualifying parameters differ from person to person. Some may consider them to be lighter versions of classics, like lower-calorie brownies or pie. Others will insist there's no such thing as a healthy dessert, as dessert itself is inherently an indulgence. (Side note: These people are wrong.)
Personally, I think of a "healthy dessert" as a dish I don't feel particularly guilty about afterward; there's no walk of shame back from the kitchen.
Often, the recipe begins with fruit. For moisture, it might include an oil substitute or low-fat dairy product. It could also contain egg whites, used in meringues and chiffon cakes, to provide volume and airiness without added fat. Frequently, each portion comes with its own serving vessel, as in tarts, soufflés, or anything involving a ramekin.
Lemon Yogurt Mousse is a good example of all these principles; it relies on lemon for zip, fat-free Greek yogurt for creaminess, egg whites for a delicate texture, and the aforementioned ramekins for serving.
This is to say nothing of the flavor, which is generally freaking delightful. Light, airy, and fresh, the mousse is perfect for warmer weather. Depending on your serving size, each portion falls between 100 and 135 calories, with virtually no fat, as well. Top it with a few berries, and it's a healthy dessert in every sense.
Ultimately, I don't want (or need) to be cured of my lifelong M&M addiction. But it's desserts like these that make me feel a little better about it.
- Yield:6 to 8
- 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 envelope (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
- 2/3 cup eggs whites (from 4 or 5 large eggs)
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 to 8 serving vessels (glasses, ramekins, etc.)
Combine yogurt, zest, juice, and extract in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
To a separate small bowl, add water. Sprinkle gelatin on top and set aside.
Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water. Boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, to the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg whites, salt, and sugar, stirring gently to combine. Once water is boiling, carefully lower stand mixer bowl into saucepan. Whisk gently until sugar is dissolved and eggs are near-scalding to the touch. Remove bowl from pan.
Scrape gelatin into egg mixture and whisk quickly and thoroughly to combine.
Secure bowl to your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip egg mixture at medium-high speed until the outside of the bowl is totally cool to the touch. (This took me about 8 minutes.) Once this occurs, add yogurt mixture. Continue whipping a few more seconds, until it's all combined.
Divide mixture among serving vessels and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Serve cold, with berries if you have 'em around.