With the Christmas leftovers finally dwindling into the past, many of us are feeling a bit on the heavier side. It’s madness to start a diet before the excess of New Year’s Eve is firmly behind us all, but there are a few things you can do to help yourself through to the first of January when you can, in all seriousness, begin eating and drinking more healthily. And one of those ways is by having lighter desserts that won’t weigh down the stomach the way Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, and other such delights can do.
The quickest and simplest way to get a nice, light, healthier dessert is by making fruit salad. The best part of a fruit salad is the fact that you can easily make one at home and won’t need to worry about special preparation methods; simply cut the fruit of your choice into chunks and combine it all into a large bowl. Some passionfruit can help introduce a hint of liquid without turning the lot into a soggy mess, and a healthy sniff of cinnamon can bring it into the festive season, allowing you to truly enjoy the lot and still feel like a holiday is being celebrated. Distribute into portions over large wine glasses, squirt with some aerosol whipped cream if desired (or use a hand-mixer to whip some double cream until it thickens, add a few spoonfuls of caster sugar and the juice of a lemon, and blend thoroughly for a homemade, delicious and tart alternative) and sprinkle over some silver and gold edible glitter or other cake decorations; you’ll scarcely be able to imagine a more festive-looking dessert.
Another wonderful, light yet posh dessert is the mini Pavlova. You can make your own mini meringues (be sure to let them sit out for about ten minutes to form a skin before you place them in the oven) or you can buy them, cheaply, from your local supermarket. Using a handmixer, whip up some double cream until thick with a small amount of sugar and some cinnamon or simply purchase some squirty cream if you prefer it simple. Top with fruit of your choice (berries do well, as does passionfruit, but the sky really is the limit here) and sprinkle with some granulated sugar or some gold and silver cake decorations to add a festive touch. Don’t overdo it – less is more – and you’re sure to wow your guests. For a more Eton-mess style dessert (handy when taking your mini meringues off the baking paper) you can crunch up the meringue and mix in the cream and fruit, spooning the ‘mess’ into a tall glass. This looks extra-nice if you make some syrup out of your fruit of choice and drizzle it artfully over the top.
Lighter desserts can be a lovely way to top off a festive meal without feeling deprived. But with their lighter texture and healthier contents, they can make you feel a lot better about yourself, ease heartburn and even help you face the odds when dieting time comes along on New Year’s Day.