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Sigh-- how to eliminate cream from this recipe?

There was a delicious ratatouille recipe in the Chicago Tribune this week, in which you roast the veggies and then layer them in a loaf pan with a mix of three eggs and one cup of whipping cream.

I know it won't taste as good, I know, I know-- but please advise me on what changes will occur in the setting of the cooked dish if I substitute Egg Beaters and 2% milk or what else you would suggest substituting. What if I use fat free milk? What about fat free cream (what the hell is it, anyway)? Or ??? In other words, what makes this set, what is essential to the recipe, and what can I change?

Thanks for any advice.

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  1. when I make quiches, I use whatever type of dairy I have on hand and this is usually skim milk, and it turns out fine. In fact, I made a crustless ratatouille quiche (alright, alright, a frittata) last week using skim milk and it was still delish. I don't know about the eggs because I never substitute eggs. I imagine that if egg beaters scramble, etc. cook like normal eggs, then they'd be a fine substitute. I have no idea what fat free cream is, and I wouldn't bother with it, just use whatever dairy you feel comfortable with, it will set fine.

    1. I often sub in low-fat evaporated milk in recipes that require a bit of cooking, like chicken pot pie, and I haven't yet had a problem. I've never used Egg Beaters, though, sorry. (And I've also always wondered that about fat-free cream!)

      1. If you are worried about the fat, then cut back somewhere else. Most of your suggested substitutions will produce a curdled dish.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          Have you considered completely replacing the cream with chicken or vegetable stock?

          AnnieG

          1. re: Candy

            There's nowhere else to cut back, that's it, veggies, egg and cream. I'm not too worried about the Egg Beaters, I've used them quite a bit without problem. I just haven't got a clue what role the cream/dairy/broth might play? Can I really use broth? What makes the whole thing set? It's all very mysterious to me.

            1. re: Anne H

              The role of the eggs/eggbeaters and the cream is similar to a quiche, in that it creates a custard that surrounds and binds the ingredients. The high fat content makes it creamier. Using stock would make it a LOT less rich. Consider those ads on tv that suggest lowering the fat of mashed potatoes by using chicken stock. It's high in flavour and low in fat. I wouldn't use stock in something like a quiche, but I WOULD use it in the kind of recipe that you describe. I have used stock in such situations as yours, and if it needed some creaminess, I've replaced some of the stock with evaporated milk, or just added some powdered skim milk to the stock (heated, it dissolves better that way)

              Tell us what you did and how it turned out.

              AnnieG

          2. I think I would substitute a bechamel sauce made with vegetable stock instead of milk. You would get a good binding agent with much less fat.

            1. On the subject of fat free cream:

              I have had great success using fat free half n half in sweet recipes, but if it's a large part of a savory recipe it can result in a slightly off flavor because it has a sweet tinge to it. That said, it's *perfect* in coffee, and in sweet sauces (like a chocolate fondue or a whiskey cream sauce over bread pudding), and it's good enough in a savory sauce if there is enough other flavoring (fine for a blush, probably not a great idea for alfredo or for what you've described above). I honestly can't remember whether I've baked with it, so I can't report on whether texture is maintained, but straight up, it does feel like cream on the tongue.

              One idea for thinning out eggs is to use fewer yolks -- if a recipe calls for three eggs, try 1 whole egg and 4 whites, for example. That might work for you here. You might also just put less cream in, it doesn't sound like that would mess it up too much so long as you had an even coating over the top.

              1. If I saw that recipe, I would most definitely not make it w/one cup whipping cream. what a way to ruin some roasted vegetables.
                instead you might try real eggs, no subs, and some freshly made bread crumbs.
                OR no eggs and serve with a small amount of whole fat yoghurt or sour cream.
                OR add a little cream, no eggs.
                OR mozzarella cheese and a little cream
                OR mozzarella cheese and a little bit of boiled egg.

                none of what i've listed above will give you the same result, but the original recipe sounds off to me. is that how quiche is made?

                1 Reply
                1. re: fara

                  Yeah, it sounds a bit like a crustless quiche, with ratatouille vegetables in it. And more veg than custard. I'm going to make it tomorrow, and I think I will go with Egg Beaters and evaporated milk.

                2. Use evaporated skim milk. It shouldn't curdle, it's pretty stable.