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Dec 17, 2008 08:51 PM

Heavy Cream...not so much?

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?

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: Mild Bill

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

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

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

            4 Replies
            1. re: phantomdoc

              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

                Do you think you can substitute cauliflower for the potatoes?

                1. re: sasserwazr

                  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

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