Celebrate Easter and Lighten Up Traditional Desserts

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You may remember about Easter that you always got a new dress and shoes, or you may remember easting a basket of jelly beans and chocolate eggs, but as we get older it’s the traditional Sunday lunch and especially the desserts. Often the table is filled with yummy spring inspired cakes, and pies filled of course with lots of sugar!! Here are some ways to enjoy your traditions and save a few calories and fat grams while you do!

Coconut Cream Pie

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough

Cooking spray

2 cups 1% low-fat milk

1 cup half-and-half

1 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons butter

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 425°. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with foil; arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes; remove weights and foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups coconut. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds and pod into milk mixture. Bring milk mixture to a simmer; immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather edges of cheesecloth; squeeze over bowl to release moisture. Discard solids.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter; whisk until smooth. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into prepared crust. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Place 3 egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250°. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until thick. Spread meringue over pie. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top with toasted coconut before serving.

Serves 12, each serving contains; Calories 266, Fat 11.5 g, Protein 4.2 g, Carbohydrate 36.4 g,

Fiber 0.3 g, Cholesterol 79 mg, Iron 0.4 mg, Sodium 189 mg, Calcium 79 mg.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup poppy seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

Lemon Glaze

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan, preferably nonstick, with cooking spray and dust with flour (or use cooking spray with flour).

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice in a glass-measuring cup. Beat eggs, egg whites and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until thickened and pale, about 5 minutes.

Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, a third at a time, alternating with 2 additions of the buttermilk mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

To prepare glaze: Sift 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl; mix with lemon juice and water to create a thin glaze. Poke 1-inch-deep holes all over the cake with a skewer. Coat the warm cake with the glaze using a pastry brush. Let cool completely. To serve, set the cake on a serving plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Serves 16, each serving contains; Calories 215, Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 27 mg, Carbohydrates 38 g, Protein 5 g, Fiber 2 g, Sodium 146 mg, Potassium 70 mg.

Pineapple-Coconut Layer Cake

Cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour, preferably white whole-wheat (see Note)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup canola oil

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk or milk

2 tablespoons coconut rum or dark rum

2 teaspoons coconut extract

3 large eggs, separated (reserve 2 yolks for pineapple curd)

Pineapple Curd

2 large egg yolks

1 6-ounce can pineapple juice (3/4 cup)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

5 teaspoons cornstarch

Frosting & Garnish

12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon coconut extract or rum

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups finely diced fresh pineapple, divided

2 tablespoons toasted coconut (see Tip)

To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray.

Sift cake flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a medium bowl.

Beat 3/4 cup sugar, honey, oil and melted butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Whisk buttermilk (or milk), rum and coconut extract in a small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, alternately mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the sugar mixture, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined.

Clean and dry the beaters. Beat 3 egg whites in a medium bowl with the electric mixer on medium-high until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading to the edges.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 26 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

To prepare curd: Whisk 2 egg yolks, pineapple juice, 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thick and beginning to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool completely.

To prepare frosting & assemble cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, extract (or rum) and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Place one cake layer, top-side down, on a cake stand or plate. Spread evenly with the pineapple curd, stopping just short of the edge. Scatter 1/2 cup diced pineapple over the curd. Place the remaining layer, top-side up, on top. Spread the frosting over the top and sides. Decorate the top with the remaining 1 cup pineapple and toasted coconut.

Serves 16, each serving contains; Calories 318, Fat 13 g, Cholesterol 45 mg, Carbohydrates 46 g, Added Sugars 24 g, Protein 6 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 203 mg, Potassium 113 mg.

Quick and Easy Lemon Squares

Crust

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

Topping

3 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the crust, beat 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the butter at medium speed of a mixer until creamy. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Gradually add 1 cup flour to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Gently press mixture into bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

To prepare topping, beat eggs at medium speed until foamy. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar and next 5 ingredients (3/4 cup granulated sugar through salt), and beat until well-blended. Pour mixture over partially baked crust. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar evenly over top.

Serves 16, each serving contains; Calories 118, Fat 3.2 g, Protein 2.2 g, Carbohydrate 20.5 g,

Fiber 0.3 g, Cholesterol 47 mg, Iron 0.6 mg, Sodium 68 mg, Calcium 16 mg.

Written By

Photo of Tammy Kelly, Ed. DTammy Kelly, Ed. DCounty Extension Director (252) 527-2191 tammy_kelly@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Posted on Mar 24, 2015
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