Santa says don't cheat on your diet, and so we bring you over-the-counter desserts that taste just as good
Cheesecake with fresh strawberries
At the Pantry, Kala Ghoda, the Keto strawberry cheesecake is not just for those on a low carb diet, but also those who aren't. This, it turns out, was manager Vijay Mohit's brief to the bakers. "We were changing the anatomy of one of the most popular desserts in the city by eliminating sugar and flour. This, for sure, was the biggest challenge. Also, we wanted everybody to enjoy it," he says. Only 23 days old on the menu, the dish comes with an almond-butter base that brings in the crunch, with a soft and creamy centre. "The strawberries on top add the right amount of sweet-sour flavour," he says.
Where: The Pantry, Yashwant Chambers, Military Square Lane, Fort
Cost: Rs 375 a slice
Inspired by Zimtsterne, a delicious blend of ground almonds and cinnamon topped with a meringue glaze, Rachel Goenka of Chocolate Spoon Company has given the German Christmas cookie a low-carb and diabetic-friendly twist. She calls it the keto cinnamon stars. "I wanted to create a healthy range because my dad happens to be diabetic. The cookies had to carry the essence of this season, and what better than a warm cinnamon flavour to do the job," she says. To give it a healthy spin, Goenka has used egg whites as a binder instead of butter, powdered sweetener to replace regular white sugar and almond flour to make it keto.
Where: Sassy Teaspoon, Shop No.3, Ground Floor, Pali Darshan, 16th Road, Bandra West
Cost: Rs 125 plus taxes for a pack of 5
The cauliflower cheesecake
[PALEO, VEGAN, SUGAR-FREE, NUT-FREE]
We almost did a double take on learning that the entire range of cheesecakes at Colaba's Easy Human is prepared using cauliflower. Sandeep Sachdev, nutritionist and director, says it was borne out of their quest to find that one dairy-free ingredient which could lend a creamy texture to their cheesecake. "Cauliflower can be turned into a creamy textured puree and has high nutrition value with low calories," he says. The most challenging part for the team was disguising the taste with lemon zest, and balancing it for richness with nut butter without increasing calorie content.
Where: 75, Park House Annexe, Wodehouse Road, Colaba
Cost: Rs 501 for a slice
No Christmas feast is complete without the traditional pudding. And, to cater to the growing breed of the calorie conscious, Rahul Dhavale, executive chef of The Westin Mumbai Garden City, rustled up a sugar-free version. "Even though the idea is not novel, the style is unique," he says. By and large, the recipe is fairly standardised, however Dhavale has substituted sugar with stevia, keeping in mind the lifestyle demands of his guests. "We macerate the fruits over a year, hence they acquire a very mellow taste and flavour making it far from boring," he says. In Dhavale's words, the end product is "wholesome, fruity, nutty, spiced, warm and immensely comforting".
Where: The Westin Mumbai Garden City, International Business Park, Goregaon East
Cost: Rs 450 (small); Rs 600 (large)
Turns out, a healthy chocolate mousse does exist. The less-than-a-month old artisanal store Deli By The Blue has rolled out a raspberry verrine that contains white chocolate and a dairy-free mousse making it perfect for vegans and sugar watchers. "Our first focus was to understand the different flavours from each ingredient and then see how it tasted when they blended together. Also, we saw how each ingredient could either compliment another or offered a contrast in a satiating manner," says Anurita Ghosh, consultant pastry chef.
Where: Le Sutra Hotel, 14 Union Park, Off Carter Road, Khar West
Cost: R 210 for a piece
One look at the new range of dietary ice-creams by Papa Cream, and you know that they have you covered. The flavours — peanut butter, chocolate, mango — range from vegan and sugar-free. Making these taste as good as the regular, indulgent scoop was the overarching concern for founder Tanvi Chowdhri. "People associate healthy eating with a compromise on taste. Our aim was to change this mindset," she says. She's especially proud of the vegan peanut butter and jelly ice cream derived for the classic PBJ sandwich. "The best part is that we have some clients who don't have dietary needs but have still migrated to our vegan range."
Where: 18, Eros Building, Churchgate
Cost: Rs 500 for 500 ml
Orange and almond cake
ORGANIC, VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE
This is a detox dessert to make up for the month's debauchery. Made from oranges, almond flour and sweetened with unrefined coconut sugar, the base is prepared using a mix of organic dry fruit and organic raw cacao. Chef Raveena Taurani, founder and CEO of Yogisattva, calls it the "naked cake" (cake without frosting). "I love the combination of orange and almond because it has a warm Christmas feeling to it," she says.
Where: Yogisattva, Pinnacle House, 7th Floor, 15th Road, Khar West
Cost: Rs 295 per slice
Buckwheat dark chocolate brookies
Chef Manish Khanna, founder and partner at Brownie Point, had to go back to the drawing board when he decided to whip up a brookie (a brownie and chocolate chip cookie rolled into one). "Personally, I feel if I didn't tell anyone that it was a gluten-free option then they wouldn't be able to tell the difference," says Khanna. The idea came up when they were experimenting with muffins. Since cookies are fast movers, the space seemed inviting. "It's when I saw my kids heartily binge on dark chocolate cookies embedded with chocolate chunks, that I thought why not do a brownie cookie?' Here, Khanna uses jaggery, coconut or sunflower oil and buckwheat flour. The latter because it has lesser fat, zero cholesterol and more dietary fibre as compared to other millets.
Where: Brownie Point, 30, Terrace Building, Mahim
Cost: Rs 1,800 per kg, get 20-25 brookies
Espresso walnut raw brownies
Brownies are usually equated with decadence, but at Garde Manger Cafe they do not contain eggs and butter. Instead, it has dates, walnuts, cocoa powder and powdered coffee beans. "It is essentially a raw dessert which means there is no baking; it has no flour, baking soda and buttermilk" says food consultant Vinita Contractor.
Where: Garde Manger Cafe, Vile Parle
Cost: Rs 250 per portion
Gooey chocolate brownie cake
[VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE] Deliciae Patisserie
The fact that there's nothing quite like a fudgy chocolate cake made Bunty Mahajan, founder of Khar's Deliciae Patisserie, rustle up the gooey chocolate brownie cake which is vegan, gluten free and oil free cake. It comes with a layer of raspberry puree and sugar free chocolate on the top.
Where: Deliciae Patisserie, Khar Danda Road, Khar West
Cost: Rs 1,650 for a kg
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