Tomorrow I will be teaching a class on how to execute tasty, light desserts while still using “real” ingredients.

What do I mean by “real” ingredients? While still using butter, eggs, flour, sugar, chocolate, etc. rather than imitation sweeteners and flavors, I want to create delicious and satisfying sweet treats.

I never liked the idea of light deserts until I saw Alice Medrich’s book, “Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts”

In this book she creates beautiful tasting and looking desserts using quality ingredients – just less of them.

I recently bought a copy of Nick Malgieri and David Joachin’s book, Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs

He follows the same idea. These two books really opened my eyes that desserts can still be delicious while containing fewer calories. And while I still maintain the belief that dessert is meant to be eaten in moderation and when following that rule who cares about calories? I do think that especially after the holidays many of us are more aware of what is going into our bodies and trying to loose or maintain a certain weight. So I am appealing to that crowd while showing them that artificial ingredients are not needed to create great tasting low-calorie sweets.

One of my favorite lightened desserts is Granita. They are so simple to make and have thousands of different flavor possibilities. It’s a great way to highlight seasonal flavors. Granita originates from Sicily and is a mixture of water, sugar and flavorings. Flavoring can be fruit juices, purees, savory flavors, etc.

Italian Coffee Granita

from Perfect Light Desserts

4 cups water

1 cup ground espresso-roast coffee

1 cup sugar

Bring water to a boil and whisk in coffee. Strain the coffee. Stir in the sugar. Cool mixture to room temperature. Pour mixture into a 9x13x2 pan and freeze for 20 minutes. Scrap the mixture with a flat spatula (I like to use a fork personally). Continue to scrap every 10-15 minutes until thick and grainy. If thick chunks form you can process in a food processor then place back in the freezer.

Serve in beautiful, chilled dessert or martini classes with a small dollop of cold cream. Perfect for a light summer dessert.

This picture is a blueberry granita I made last summer. I simply froze blueberry juice following the same freezing procedure as above.