Health and Fitness By Claire Henderson / April 2, 2015 It’s unlikely you often see the phrase ‘healthy desserts’ used sincerely. Many would find these words contradictory to each other. The former usually evokes images of strict dieting that almost always requires avoidance or decreased consumption of sweets, while the latter evokes images of weight gain due to consumption of unhealthy food—especially sweets—in large quantities. Nowadays, however, certain creative individuals have created desserts that are delicious and good for you, making dieting no longer an ordeal. Case in point: pumpkin pie pudding. Pumpkin pie pudding is an American dessert, but it’s a combination of the traditional American and Canadian dessert pumpkin pie and the originally European dessert pudding. Pumpkin pie consists mainly of pumpkin-based custard baked in a single pie shell without a top crust that is flavored with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. This dessert is traditionally served in the United States of America and Canada during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Back in Medieval Europe, pudding was a savory dessert consisting of meat encased in a crust. At present, pudding can be a sweet or savory dessert. Apart from Europe, pudding is now enjoyed in several other countries. The reason for the creation of pumpkin pie pudding is a mystery to us. But we assume it was born out of the desire of creative chefs to give traditional recipes a modern and strange yet cool twist. In fact, there’s a bakery in the USA where you can request to blend a slice of pie into a parfait glass of milk shake. Customers say this concoction is quite a treat. Consuming some pumpkin pie pudding can be quite beneficial to your health. Indeed, pumpkin contains high amounts of vitamin A, which your body needs to keep your eyesight sharp; fiber (3 g per cup); the plant-based chemical phytosterols, which reduces the ‘bad’ cholesterol LDL that finds its way into your body; the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps your body ward away cancer; carotenoids, which keeps your skin healthy; the amino acid tryptophan, which helps your body produce mood-enhancing amino acids; potassium, which gives you energy; and vitamin C, which boosts your immune system. Pumpkin also contains little calories (a mere 49 calories per cup). If you worry that it would be difficult for you to prepare some pumpkin pie pudding by yourself at home, don’t; we assure you that it will be easy. So you can prove this for yourself, below is a recipe for making some: Ingredients 1/2 cup of canned, unsweetened pumpkin 1/2 cup of sugar 1/8 teaspoon of salt 1 large egg 3/4 cup of 1% low-fat milk 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons of cornstarch Cooking spray Tools/Utensils Saucepan 4 desserts bowls Baking sheet Foil Cling film Small, nonstick skillet 3 bowls Mixer Whisk Knife 2 tablespoons 5 spoons Preparation Step 1: Place the saucepan over medium heat. Step 2: In the saucepan, mix together 6 tablespoons of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Step 3: In one of the three bowls, mix together the milk and the egg using the whisk. Step 4: Gradually pour the milk-egg mixture into the saucepan and then mix it and the sugar-cornstarch mixture together. Step 5: Bring the resulting mixture to a boil while stirring it constantly. Step 6: After 1 minute, remove the saucepan from the heat. Step 7: In one of the two remaining bowls, mix together the pumpkin, the vanilla extract, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Step 8: Carefully pour the pumpkin mixture into the saucepan and then mix it and the aforementioned mixture together by whisking constantly. Step 9: Place the saucepan over low heat and then cook the mixture therein while stirring it constantly. Do not bring the mixture to a boil. Step 10: After 3 minutes, or once the resulting mixture—the pudding—is heated through, divide it among the 4 dessert bowls, cover the mouths of each with cling film, and chill them all. Step 11: Line the baking sheet with foil and then coat the foil with the cooking spray. Step 12: Sprinkle the remaining sugar, walnuts, and salt all over the skillet. Step 13: Over low heat, cook the resulting mixture for 3 minutes, or until the sugar melts and turns golden brown, while stirring around the mixture constantly. Step 14: Transfer the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and then let it cool completely. Step 15: Once the mixture has cooled completely, chop it up coarsely. Step 16: Spoon the cream into the remaining bowl and then beat it with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form atop it. Step 17: Serve each dessert bowl of pudding topped with 2 tablespoons of the cream and 1 tablespoon of the nut-based mixture. Step 18: Enjoy. Given this recipe for the above-mentioned healthy dessert, we hope to have convinced you that dieting need not be an ordeal, for delicious and nutritious desserts do exist.