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Dessert storm

Antony gives us his favourite sweet recipes – and they won’t pile on the lbs

Eating puddings is almost seen as a criminal offence these days, but according to Antony it is possible to enjoy a treat now and again without risking your health. ‘I have fond childhood memories of sitting around the table as a family, eating a homemade cake or pudding,’ he says.

‘Many of us thoroughly enjoy sweet things and we mustn’t deny ourselves those cravings, which is why replacing some, if not most of the sugar you add to your food, with Splenda, you can reduce the calorie intake of your family but still enjoy some mouth-watering desserts. Here are some classic recipes that everyone will enjoy.’

A classic Italian dish, this recipe takes almost no time to prepare.


  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2tbsp Splenda granulated sweetener
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 4-5tbsp Tia Maria liqueur
  • 300ml cold strong black coffee (real coffee is best)
  • 225g sponge fingers
  • Dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), grated, to decorate

Place the egg yolks and sweetener into a bowl. Whisk thoroughly until the mixture lightens and thickens slightly, then stir in the mascarpone. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them in, a little at a time.

Mix the liqueur with the coffee and dip half the sponge fingers into the liquid to soak them. Use the soaked fingers to line the base of a shallow dish, then spoon over a generous half of the mascarpone mixture. Dip the remaining fingers in the liquid and make another layer, finishing off with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

Chill for a few hours (longer if you can – the flavours will mature the longer you manage to leave it) and sprinkle with grated chocolate just before serving.

Deep-filled pear pie with creme anglaise
This luxurious dessert has a definite French feel but the delicate pear flavour keeps it light and delicious.


  • 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g white vegetable fat, diced
  • 50g cold butter, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 750g not too ripe pears
  • 5tbsp Splenda granulated sweetener

For the crème anglaise:

  • 300ml whole milk
  • 300ml single cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split open lengthways
  • 4 large organic egg yolks
  • 2tbsp Splenda granulated sweetener

Put the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the vegetable fat and butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add just enough cold water to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Knead lightly until smooth, then wrap in cling film and chill for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6. Divide the pastry into two equal pieces. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured work surface into a circle with a diameter of 25cm. Use one circle to line a 23cm pie plate. Brush the base with a little beaten egg.

Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl. Peel, core and slice the pears, and place into the bowl with the sweetener. Toss together and tip into the pie dish. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little water, then cover with the second pastry circle, pressing the edges together to seal. Trim with a sharp knife, then brush the surface with beaten egg.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Meanwhile, make the crème anglaise. Place the milk, cream and vanilla pod in a heavy based saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.

Whisk the yolks with the sweetener in a bowl. Pour the cream mixture over the yolks, whisking well. Lift out the vanilla pod and, with a tsp, scrape the seeds back into the custard. Clean the saucepan and return the mixture to the pan. Cook very gently over the lowest heat, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Pour into a serving jug.

Remove the pie from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Serve with the crème anglaise.

Panettone and clementine bread and butter pudding
Try this classic favourite with a twist – made with Italian panettone or light fruit bread and sliced clementines. It’s truly delicious.


  • 40g butter
  • 6 slices (about 350g) panettone or light fruit bread
  • 3 clementines, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 600ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 150ml single cream
  • 3tbsp Splenda granulated sweetener
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Use a little of the butter to grease a 1.5 litre baking dish. Spread the remaining butter over the panettone. Cut them into triangles, then lay them in the dish, overlapping them to fit. Tuck the clementine slices in amongst the bread.

Beat together the eggs, milk, cream, sweetener and vanilla extract. Pour into the dish, over the bread. Cover with cling film and leave for at least 30 minutes. If you want to cook the pudding a little later, refrigerate until required.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4. Sprinkle the surface of the pudding with the ground nutmeg. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, then serve.

Recipes courtesy of: The Sweet Life by Antony Worrall Thompson, Kyle Cathie, £14.99) with photography by Steve Baxter

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