05 September 2011

Get creative!

What do you do when the husband hates cream and you happen to love it?

No, I will not make him eat it without knowing. What are you thinking? That would be a mean thing to do! Ok, I like being bad sometimes... but in this case there's no way that would work. He really hates the creamy taste of milk fat even if slightly there, trust me, he knows! And if we can't distinguish the taste, then what's the point? Oh, I know, tricking him! But, lets skip this part, just this once.

We are working on tasting small bits. Maybe in a distant future he will be able to tolerate it and, who knows, enjoy it, or so I like to believe. In the mean time I need to be creative in order not to have to give up on recipes I love to do and eat. Or else I'll be craving for creamy food whenever we eat out!

For sauces I use milk with a teaspoon of cornstarch flour for thickening, in other cases yogurt, or coconut milk. And these have really been working for me, plus we gain in cutting of calories. Not so bad, uh? Still, I really like a generous spoon of whipped cream over a pie, or a chocolate cake, or a pavlova with fresh fruits sliding on the cream... How do you replace that?

One thing I think works very well is using a thick yogurt, like a greek. I've also tried different custards based on milk or yogurt. They worked, the taste was good, and they looked pretty spooned over the desserts. In some cases this is a very good option. Other thing that also works is whipped cream cheese with icing sugar. Still, for my taste, in both cases it lacked some freshness. I'm pretty sure crème fraiche would be a very good choise also, but I haven't convinced the hubby on that one yet. I'm taking it slow.

Back to the yogurt. It is, so far, the best choice. Listen, if you're looking for something to replace whipped cream, whether you have a picky friend like I do, or you just want to let go of cream for health/diet issues, first you need to face it: nothing will ever replace it. That being said, you can move on and search for something that is a feast to your eyes and a fresh delight to your palate, without comparisons, just enjoy it.

One thing about greek yogurt around here is that it can be pretty expensive and it is very likely that you'd find a fake one (with cream added, instead of the straining method used to thicken the original greek yogurt), so I don't have it very regularly on my fridge. What do I do, then? I do my own greek yogurt, well, something similar, just by draining it over night on the fridge to remove the whey (the liquid). Its the basic technique I use to make cream cheese, this is called labneh. It is a very useful technique, because from here you can do lots of things. You can add salt and herbs and get a very tasty cream cheese (I do this all the time), you can make Tzatziki dip, you can use it to replace mascarpone cheese, you can make balls and roll them on a mix of bread crumbs with parmesan and herbs and deep fry it... Or you can have your hubby doing you a delicious flourless chocolate cake for you to top with yogurt cream and fresh fruits! Have a try!

(strained yogurt)

plain yogurt
coffee filter or cheesecloth
medium bowl
colander to fit the bowl

Put a coffee filter or a cheesecloth over a strainer and place it over a bowl. Pour in the bought plain yogurt, and cover with cloth or film. Keep in mind that the yogurt will reduce to at least half of what you started with when calculating the amount of yogurt needed. Let it drain over night on the fridge, or as long enough to get the consistency you want. For cream cheese I let it drain for at least 24 hours, for a greek yogurt consistency, to cream with sugar, usually 6 hours is enough. Simple as that.

You can keep the whey on the fridge and use it for any recipe that asks for buttermilk. That's great too, because I was passing by too many recipes for the lack of buttermilk (that thing just can't be found in here), and besides I like the idea of using everything.

If you're interested on the recipe of the chocolate cake go to  Delicious Miss Dahl. She knows how to do it! No point in copying it here, we haven't changed a bit. For the yogurt cream, just cream the labneh with sugar as you like, and if you want a bit extra creaminess just add a tablespoon of butter to the mix. Enjoy!

all photos by me


  1. That looks delicious! I'm suddenly very hungry!

  2. I'm not a big fan of cream and have been meaning to try and make some of my own yoghurt for a while now. . oh, and (as usual!) I love the photos!

  3. I love your photos of the cake. It looks so yummy! xx

  4. I like to do my own yogurt too. It tastes so much good... And it's so easy! I'm planning to buy my own yogurt maker, which is no more than a incubator that keeps the correct temperature for the yogurt to be made. Without that is just too stressful trying to keep the milk at the right temp.

  5. Oh Ines, I am pretty sure I commented yesterday and now it looks like it disappeared. So... first of all that cakes looks delicious, gotta make. And then, I am also not a big fan of the whipped cream you get at the supermarkets or over ice cream or in cafes, because it is not the real deal it is made with vegetal oils. But the true stuff, I like, except it is hard to find. And the lebneh looks delicious, here in Holland they have a thing called hangop and it is basically the same (strained yoghurt made really thick). I would put a link here but maybe it is not allowed. Just google hangop and you will see it.
    Your photos are super nice, it is not so easy to take pics of food.

  6. Hi Amanda!
    I'm searching that hangop, I'm curious about! :)
    Yeah, nothing like the true stuff! That thing they use in pastries instead of real whipped cream I call it shaving foam. It's as good as that to eat! :D
    Here what we do is buy a package of pasteurized cream and whip it hardly on the mixer with a few spoons of sugar. Sometimes we also add beaten egg whites for extra fluffiness and a few drops of vanilla extract. I have a major addiction to it. Well, everything with cream on, in fact... too bad that's the only thing the hubby hates!


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