What if a delicious dessert could also be a healthy source of proteins? These babies have less than 70 calories and double the amount of protein of traditional cream puffs made with a gluten-free flour mix. How is it possible? Read here about my experiments.
Being forced to shift to a gluten-free diet also pushed me to explore different ingredients and understand the difference between different types of food. What I found out was very surprising.
My goal at first was to simply make anything I loved, and I thought I couldn’t eat anymore, into a gluten-free treat. That included pasta, cakes, cookies, pizza - typical Italian eating habits right? So I started using popular gluten-free mixes because their promise was to make it easy to simply substitute the new flour in the old recipes that I was using. The result was decent and I loved the taste and experience. I felt less limited in my diet!
In the last 6-12 months I started paying more attention not just to the taste, and the overall calorie count, but also to the nutrients. If you want to lose weight, experts say, the principle is to keep calories under control but also make sure that there’s a healthy balance of macro nutrients, so proteins, carbs and fat. Fat is not universally bad and carbs aren’t either, so they should be balances in your food intake. I’ll dive deeper in the topic in one of the next posts.
Why proteins in a Cream Puff matter?
I started writing this blog with amazing recipes, my friends loved them and I also had a lot of fun cooking. But I gained weight in the first 6 months of the blog. I was cooking more, eating more sugar and all and I got worried. I want to keep experimenting but I don’t want to compromise my health. So I made more research and healthier experiments that I’m happy to share with you. If you’re also on the same “food journey” let me know, I would love to share insights.
2 key changes in my cooking style have been: using less sugar (or different sugars with a lower glycemic index) and looking beyond the amount of calories. That’s where I found out the magic of macronutrients and making balanced foods. That means that eating the same food can give you more energy while keeping your weight in control.
This Cream Puff recipe is a great example. I chose this one of course because it’s easy, but also because the ingredients that you choose make a huge difference.
Using Oat flour instead of a rice-maize mix can increase the amount of protein from 0 to 18 grams for this recipe, and decrease the amount of carbs from 84 to 65 grams. For the same recipe. Without compromising the taste. Scroll at the bottom if you want to see the full calories and nutrients count.
LOOKING FOR EVEN MORE PROTEINS? Try for example red bean paste! However the amount of sugar would be much higher, so only do that if that if it doesn’t compromise your sugar/calorie need for the day.
Ingredients and steps
Servings: 24 (each 69 calories)
110 gr Oat flour
100 gr Eggs (2 medium eggs)
40 gr Butter
3 gr Salt
200 ml Water
250 ml Whipped Cream (no sugar or no added sugar)
50 ml Almond Milk
Fruit Garnish to taste, more or less 250 gr. Mango & Dragon Fruit in the picture.
Place the water, salt and butter in a pot and warm up over medium heat. As soon as it starts boiling turn to low heat and add the gluten-free flour. Stir with a whisk or spatula until the dough is all combined and it separates from the sides of the pot.
Transfer the dough into a bowl, add one eggs and mix well. Add the other egg and incorporate it in the mix. When the dough in homogeneous, transfer it in a pastry bag.
Cover a large baking tray with baking paper and use the pastry bag to create little balls of dough. I made 24, but feel free to make your puffs smaller or bigger (in that case adjust slightly the baking time) Make sure you leave at least a couple of centimeters between each puff.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 200 °C for 30 minutes. After that, let the bignè cool down for 30 min at least.
I whipped the cream with a bit of almond milk because it turned out very dense. If you are not sure of the result whip the cream first and then add the almond milk at the end little by little to adjust the texture.
When the puffs have cool down cut the top part, fill them with a splash of cream, cover with the little puff piece you had cut off, and garnish with fruit how you like (in this version there is roughly 8-10 grams of fruit per each puff).
Protein: 1.8 gr (vs 0.9 for normal GF cream puff)
Carbs: 5.7 gr
Fat: 4.4 gr
Storage and other suggestions
These puffs can stay refrigerated up to 24-48h. In order to preserve for longer don’t cut or fill the puffs: use an air-tight container to store them up to 5 days.