Chocolate raspberry custard pots

One of the challenges of using food as medicine is sometimes you feel like you’re missing out. Especially when it comes to desserts – or at least that’s my weak point! When I first changed to a dairy-free diet, I found eating out with the family particularly difficult. The children would order deliciously tempting chocolate and cream laden puddings which I would then try to stop myself thinking about how much I wanted to eat it. Torture!

To stop that awful feeling of missing out, I soon found an easy way to stop my cravings for all that chocolate and cream. I would get one of the children to pass me their dessert (before they woofed it up) and have a good sniff. Sounds mad I know, but just having those lovely deep aromas waft up my nostrils put a stop to the cravings. The smell of a dish is a key part of enjoyment when it comes to eating, which is why losing your sense of smell can be devastating to a lot of people. At first the children protested, but after a while they just automatically offered me their dessert before tucking in. Satisfaction for all 🙂

Nowadays, there’s a lot more dairy free and vegan desserts available. However, unless it’s a fruit salad, most of these tasty offerings are full of saturated fat. Which is one of the key dietary elements avoided in an anti-inflammatory or disease management programme like Overcoming MS. And which is why I have a lot of sweet treat recipes here on my website as I love dessert! Because life without pudding is a sad one 😉

Chocolate is one of those ingredients which is officially off the menu due to it’s high saturated fat levels. Hang on a minute, I hear you cry, isn’t chocolate supposed to be good for you? Well, yes – and no.

Chocolate does contain a good amount of fabulous flavonoids that have a strong anti-oxidant effect ie: it can have an anti-inflammatory effect. And a lot of them too. Cocoa powder can contain 10% flavonoids (dry weight). It also seems that other compounds in chocolate result in high absorption of these phytonutrients. On top of that, chocolate contains arginine, an amino acid that protects nitric oxide. This chemical, found in blood vessels, is important as it helps regulate inflammation, vessel dilation and blood pressure.

All good stuff. The problem is that chocolate contains cocoa butter which is high in saturated fat – 100g of unsweetened chocolate has 32.4 grams of saturated fat. That’s over the daily amount in standard health guidelines, let alone a disease management programme. You  may say that 100g of chocolate is a lot to eat in one go. Which it is (although I know people who can trough through much more than that in a day!). 25 grams tends to be the serving suggestion. That’s still 8.6 grams of saturated fat (and who sticks to a small portion, eh?)

The Overcoming MS programme limits daily intake of saturated fat to 15 grams a day. This is important as research shows higher intakes fuels inflammation and disease progression. Recent studies suggest this applies to all people with autoimmune disease, not just multiple sclerosis. I suggest the same can be applied to all chronic health problems which have inflammation at their heart.

If you’re a chocolate lover, don’t be too despondent. There are other ways to get that lovely chocolate hit with raw cacao or cocoa powder. Whilst it does still retain a small amount of cocoa butter, it’s much lower in saturated fat – 100 grams contains 8 grams of saturated fat. Although I think it’s most unlikely someone will sit and scoff all that cocoa powder in one go with a spoon! One tablespoon contains just 0.4 grams of saturated fat. The recipe I’m sharing with you today calls for 3 tablespoons which will result in 1.2 grams of saturated fat from the cocoa powder, or 0.3 grams per pot.

Wholefoods do still contain saturated fat, just in much lower amounts as they also have more fibre so it’s  not as concentrated. I will write more about this in another post soon.

This recipe is a wonderful easy and cheap option to chocolate mousse. I can’t say it’s full of wholefoods as it contains a few refined ingredients like dairy-free milk, cream, cornflour and of course cocoa powder. It does, however, contain a good amount of flavonoids – remember that point I made above how cocoa powder retains 10% flavonoids by dry weight? Good news on the nutrition front!

This recipe can be adapted to all dietary needs as it can be made gluten free, nut free or soya free depending on which dairy-free options you choose. You can also make it added sugar free by leaving out the maple syrup. I still like to add a little, but I don’t enjoy the bitterness in cocoa, so need a little something to lift it.

This dessert is perfect for serving at a dinner party, romantic evening or just when you fancy a chocolate hit. Chocolate and strawberries are always suggested for Valentine’s Day, but I’ve used defrosted raspberries as they hold their shape well, and fresh strawberries out of season are just not good – for flavour or the environment.

If you fancy making something else with that chocolate hit, then have a look at these yummy options:

I hope you enjoy these delicious chocolate and raspberry custard pots. Do let me know if you make them – did they hit the chocolate spot for you?

Chocolate raspberry custard pots

A tasty and simple way to get a chocolate hit without the saturated fat.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Setting times 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 4 portions

Equipment

  • 4 small ramekins

Ingredients
  

  • 100 grams raspberries fresh or defrosted
  • 250 ml oat cream
  • 300 ml oat milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence AND/OR
  • 5 drops chocolate essence
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Instructions
 

  • Place the raspberries in the base of the serving dishes, reserving four juicy ones for garnish
  • Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and whisk together to combine.
  • Pour the mix into a small saucepan and heat gently. Bring the mix to a simmer (do not boil), whisking all the time. The mix will start to thicken and coat the whisk.
  • Turn off the heat and pour the mix out equally between the pots.
  • Leave to cool then place in the fridge to set. Serve with a raspberry on the top.
Keyword low saturated fat, OMS friendly, valentines day, vegan dessert

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