Citrus lovers need to get ready for a tastebud roller coaster ride! I made the first attempt at this recipe last week, but found the time to perfect it today. It is a fabulous summer dessert. No heating up the oven--that is a winning idea. Even better is the contrast between the creamy white layers and the eye opening tartness of the lemon curd. Because this dessert is made with creamed cottage cheese, it offers a good protein boost too.
When the nice folks over at Z-Sweet offered free samples on their Facebook page, I jumped at the chance. When I explained about my blog, they sent all three of their products for me to review. I admit that I am sold. Before trying ZSweet, when I used erythritol, I had to play around with combinations of stevia and other sweeteners. I depended on the dish, but erythritol generally needs a boost from another sweetener. So far, though I love the blend available in this product. They have added stevia to the erythritol for me. I have been able to substitute cup per cup without tasting to check the sweetening power. And don't you just hate tasting the finished product to find that is is not sweet enough?
This week, I have been busy. We are redoing one room for an extra bedroom for my number two son. It is just too hot to sleep in our gameroom, and he and his older brother seem to not like the idea of sharing a room any longer. Just that college boy independence. So, we have been throwing away old stuff, and painting, decorating, cleaning, organizing and such. Pearson chose a chocolate brown paint, so I have been craving chocolate since every brushfull of paint looked like melted dipping chocolate. I think we will forever call it the chocolate room now. So-- that is what I have been doing instead of inventing new recipes. My freezer meals and crock pot dinners have been very handy! I have enjoyed the packets of ZSweet in my coffee. It is good both hot and iced. I have made blueberry brownies, and they were tasty...recipe later. I accidentally added an extra scoop of coconut flour to that one and made them a bit too dry. It is so hot here, I have not summoned the courage to turn on my leaky old oven to try out that recipe again since. And despite some early problems with the first recipe for this lemon dessert, I now have the formula! No oven required!
The only problem is something that is common to all erythritol products I have ever tried. Crystalization. It seems to take a chemist to overcome gritty desserts. In some recipes, the granular formula is fine. It was great in the creamy cottage cheese layer of this dessert. For some applications, making a simple syrup with water and erythritol does the trick. I tried this with another brand for the chocolate coating for my Cheesecake Dibs and it worked fine. I have been experimenting with some simple syrups with ZSweet, but I am not sure if they are necessary. The trick I found to making a smooth lemon curd for this recipe is to use the ZSweet Powdered version. It blended easily into the egg yolk. The crystal version did not blend as well, despite to heat applied in making the lemon curd. Although it did blend, it recrystallized upon chilling. I tasted great, and we still ate it all, but the texture was wrong. That is why I needed to make this recipe again. With the powdered sweetener, it is perfect. My lemon curd stayed smooth and glossy.
Layers of Lemon
1 cup whole milk cottage cheese
3 Tablespoons ZSweet granular
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest, divided use
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup Powdered ZSweet
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter
Begin by making the white layer. In a food processor, or bowl with an immersion blender, process cottage cheese until smooth. Add the sweetener and lemon juice and process again until creamy and smooth. Stir in one teaspoon of lemon zest. Chill this mixture while making the lemon curd layer.
To make the lemon curd, or yellow layer, Set up a double boiler, and begin to simmer the water on the stove. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set the whites aside for another use. In the top unit of the double boiler, or in a separate heatproof bowl, combine the yolks with the powdered sweetener, mixing until well incorporated and free of lumps. Add the lemon juice and stir until the mixture is smooth. Place the bowl over the simmering water, stirring continuously. Heat and stir until the egg mixture thickens well enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat immediately and stir in the butter. Let the lemon curd cool to room temperature, then chill.
When ready to serve, choose 4 small dessert dishes, or 6-8 cordial glasses for dessert shots. The glass in the photo is sized for a votive candle. Begin with the white cheese mixture, then layer lemon curd. Repeat the layering procedure until all cups are filled. Top each with a sprinkling of fresh lemon zest.
If you don't want to cream the cottage cheese, you can substitute ricotta cheese instead. This is the perfect sweetness for me, but your mileage may vary, so feel free to substitute. I love the contrast between the super charged sweet and tart flavors in the curd and the ultra creamy cheese layer, only lightly sweetened and lemony. It is very rich and a little will go a long way! Unless you do like I did, and grab a spoonful every time you cruise by the fridge...This recipe serves four at 141 calories, and 4 carbs. Be looking for more recipes from me using ZSweet. Since it is 0 carb, 0 calorie, it makes low carb living easy. Check it out at http://www.zsweet.com
This is one of the recipes included in my new cookbook project, Low Carbing Among Friends.
This recipe is available in the book, along with over 60 additional 24/7 Low Carb Diner recipes. By ordering the book, you get more than 300 favorite gluten free recipes from four other well known low carb cooking experts…Jennifer Eloff of Splendid Low Carbing cookbook fame, Kent Altena, the Atkins Diet Geek and You Tube star, nutritionist and author Maria Emmerich of Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal, and popular blogger and food stylist, Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food. Unlike any other cookbook you may own, this one is a compilation of mini cookbooks featuring the talents of these well known low carbers. Think of it as a “best of” project.
Low Carbing Among Friends also features recipes from numerous other talented low carbing friends and recommendations from the medical community who recognize the health benefits of low carb, gluten free living. To preorder your copy, visit http://www.amongfriends.us The official release date is 11/11/11, so pre-order now for a discount.
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