SAN DIEGO, November 25, 2014 — Thanksgiving Day is a cherished and time-honored American tradition.
Families and friends across the country gather together to share time away from their busy workaday lives and acknowledge the spirit of gratitude.
Central to most celebrations is a Thanksgiving Day meal with a traditional Thanksgiving turkey as the main course.
As supper comes to a satisfying close, presenting a lovely dessert to eager guests can be the crowning glory of the Thanksgiving Day dining experience.
Although many Americans are accustomed to eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, there are also a variety of healthy dessert options which have pumpkin as a primary ingredient.
Pumpkin Coconut Tart is a great example of a scrumptious and healthy Thanksgiving Day dinner finale.
In fact, Pumpkin Coconut Tart is delightfully creamy and pleasantly spicy and is a tasteful, healthy dessert option which is anything but tasteless or boring!
Appealing to even the most discriminating dessert palate, Pumpkin Coconut Tart is an eye-pleasing addition to any Thanksgiving Day table.
With the added benefit of the ability to be prepared a few days ahead of time, the following Pumpkin Coconut Tart recipe, published in Eating Well is easy to prepare:
1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (or butter alternative)
4 teaspoons cold reduced-fat cream cheese
1 1/2 cups canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 11-inch round or X 12 rectangular removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray.
Combine flour, almonds, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely ground.
Add butter one piece at a time, and then cream cheese by the tablespoonful, pulsing once or twice after each addition–until incorporated.
Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust.
Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
Beat pumpkin, 3/4 cup sugar, rum, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until blended.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
Beat in coconut milk.
Place the tart on baking sheet and pour in the filling.
Bake the tart until the filling is just set (the center may still appear soft, but will become more solid as it cools), 45 to 50 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature.
Serve room temperature or refrigerate until chilled. Remove the pan sides before slicing. Garnish with coconut, if desired.
-Make ahead of time by preparing the crust, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
-Cover and refrigerate the cooled tart for up to 1 day.
This healthy, delightful Pumpkin Coconut Tart is a mere 260 calories per serving, low in fat, high in protein, high in fiber and packed with vitamin A.
For those on a special dietary exchange program, each serving is considered two carbohydrate exchanges and two fat exchanges.
Pumpkins are known for their many health benefits including being heart healthy because of their profuse levels of vitamin A and abundant carotenoids, which are also responsible for the inviting pumpkin-orange color.
It is also believed that eating pumpkin lifts the spirits while enhancing relaxation.
Pumpkins may also be eaten for their seeds or pureed.
Pumpkin purees are easily added to many recipes as an ingredient, including breads, casseroles, soups, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies and more. Pumpkin puree is also ideal for mixing into hot oatmeal for additional health benefits.
Though considered a symbol for the advent of Fall, and often used as a Halloween decoration or eagerly consumed in Thanksgiving Day dishes, the extraordinary health benefits of pumpkins also makes them ideal for consumption year-long.
As Thanksgiving Day is celebrated and enjoyed with others this year, it is important to remember that it is entirely possible to have a warm and joyful holiday experience while also keeping good health in mind.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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