Craving sweets but trying to keep your family's diet on the healthy side? Take a few tips from chef and cookbook author Jennifer Iserloh, who learned how to deal with her weight issues without cutting out her favorite treats. In her new book, Secrets of a Skinny Chef: 100 Decadent, Guilt-Free Recipes ($19.99, Rodale Books), Iserloh shows you how to make nachos, French toast and pancakes that won't pack on the pounds. Here's her recipe for banana cream pie, sure to please the entire family, at only 273 calories per slice.
Banana cream pie
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11/2 cups whole-wheat graham crackers (about 8 graham crackers)
2 tablespoons trans-fat-free margarine, melted
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/4 teaspoon salt
21/2 cups fat-free milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon trans-fat-free margarine
3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced (about 1 pound)
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place graham crackers in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Drizzle in melted margarine and pulse again. Spoon mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch pie plate and press with your fingers to form an even crust. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until crust is firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
2. Whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon, flaxseed, and salt in a large saucepan off the heat. Add milk gradually, stirring until smooth. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, until it boils, stirring constantly. Transfer 1 cup of the liquid into a mug. Whisk in egg yolks. Slowly mix the contents of the mug back into the liquid in the saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and margarine. Cool 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Place bananas on top of graham crust, pour in filling, and smooth with a rubber spatula. Top with meringue (see note) and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature or chill uncovered for 1 hour before slicing.
Note: To make meringue, combine 4 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar in a large bowl and beat until frothy with an electric mixer set on high speed. Gradually add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until the mixture will hold a glossy peak.