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Heavy Cream...not so much?

sasserwazr Dec 17, 2008 08:51 PM

Anyone have suggestions for recipes that maintain a richness and mouthfeel of dishes laced with heavy cream but without the wonderful substance's caloric presence?

  1. b
    beth1 Dec 17, 2008 09:04 PM

    If it's a soup or gravy, you can use half and half with some flour stirred in it. Add it to the hot liquid, and bring it to a boil for a few minutes so it doesn't taste like raw flour. Otherwise, just exercise portion control.

    2 Replies
    1. re: beth1
      Mild Bill Dec 28, 2008 03:59 PM

      Quaker Oats buzzed in a spice grinder thickens with a very appealing mouthfeel...

      1. re: Mild Bill
        f
        fallingup Dec 29, 2008 04:10 PM

        Oh that's a great idea, I'll have to remember that one

    2. coll Dec 29, 2008 11:59 PM

      I often use Fage yogurt when sour cream or cream is called for. Lots healthier.

      1. happybellynh Dec 30, 2008 06:07 AM

        Actually, Cook's Illustrated had a recent recipe for creamy tomato soup, with no cream at all. I think probably a small onion and garlic in butter or oil, then mashed whole tomatoes (canned), stock and water, then.... wait for it.... two slices of de-crusted torn bread, soaked in the soup until super mushy, then blended up with everything else. It created the same rich, thick mouth-feel, but obviously much better for you. It works! Same principle as a panade you would add to tenderize meatballs or loaf.

        I've tried it since with other creamy soups as well- cream of broccoli, chowder, etc. If I don't want to blend up the whole pot, I'll soak the bread in a ladle or two of the broth, then mash it with a fork before adding it back in.

        1. JoanN Dec 30, 2008 06:51 AM

          As a substitute, I've used 8 ounces of low fat cottage cheese whirred in a blender with 3 tablespoons of non-fat powdered milk for four or five minutes with great success. It doesn't whip particularly well, but I've used it in cooked recipes and could barely tell the difference.

          1. p
            phantomdoc Dec 30, 2008 07:35 AM

            Potato in soup through the blender makes a creamy soup with no dairy at all.
            Similar with lentils.

            4 Replies
            1. re: phantomdoc
              danna Dec 30, 2008 08:35 AM

              yes, I make a "vichysoise" with leeks from my garden, potatoes and some skim milk. It seems so much richer than it is. I start with about 1/2 T of butter, and something about the blandness of the thing makes that little bit of butter really shine through. My husband keeps questioning me about the cream content. I don't think he believes me.

              1. re: danna
                sasserwazr Jan 7, 2009 09:28 AM

                Do you think you can substitute cauliflower for the potatoes?

                1. re: sasserwazr
                  danna Jan 8, 2009 05:09 AM

                  wow, good thought, I love pureed cauliflower. I think the texture would be a little more grainy than potato, and so might negate some of the faux-creamy aspect. Perhaps a mix of potato and cauliflower to reduce the calorie content?

                  BTW, are cauliflower heads $4 where you live? I've been horrified lately.

                  1. re: danna
                    alkapal Jan 8, 2009 05:12 AM

                    i just got some for $2 (granted, sale price) in sw florida.

            2. t
              thursday Dec 30, 2008 07:10 PM

              I almost always substitute evaporated nonfat milk for heavy cream in recipes. It has a little lighter mouth-feel than cream (but not much, really--and frankly I prefer it) but if you want a little more thickness, evaporated lowfat or even evaporated whole will probably be an almost even sub with much less fat/calories.

              1 Reply
              1. re: thursday
                danna Dec 31, 2008 04:45 AM

                I need to try that more often. I made the bechamel for a macaronni and cheese out of evap milk recently, and it turned out nicely.

              2. s
                somervilleoldtimer Jan 8, 2009 08:57 AM

                Fat-free half-and-half, and you'll have to put up with the dish being a little bit thinner than it would have been with heavy cream.

                2 Replies
                1. re: somervilleoldtimer
                  alkapal Jan 8, 2009 09:08 AM

                  doesn't that have tons of "vegetable gums"?

                  1. re: alkapal
                    Karl S Jan 8, 2009 09:12 AM

                    Yeah, and it tends to curdle when exposed to heat, as you'd expect from a fat-free thing like that

                2. greedygirl Jan 8, 2009 09:05 AM

                  Half fat creme fraiche is the best thing I've found for cutting calories without losing flavour.

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