Sweets on Safari

Portion control is key when it comes to desserts

I first sighted the Safari Room desserts at lunch during the holiday season. Saying the usual “no thank you” I suddenly did an about-face as the six little shot glasses (pictured here) were waved before my eyes. “You can choose one or sample from a variety of six, ” said our waitress, displaying them before my eyes.

Walt Worthy, Davenport Hotel owner, first saw this idea in Florida and brought it to the Safari Room in the Davenport Tower. “They offer a smaller piece and a smaller price,” Director of Restaurants Jon Jordan explains. “Guests can enjoy sampling a variety of six different desserts or just one.” One shot glass dessert is $2 and approximately one-fifth the size of a usual dessert.

For a special treat and without too much guilt, choose just one of these high-fat desserts as the perfect ending to a meal.

“See-food-eat-food” is an American consumer pitfall and often desserts come in enormous portions, laden with almost unfathomable calories. The key at the Safari Room is portion size. There is no victory in choosing to eat, or even sample, all six desserts.

I visited with four companions and we all took note of the Peanut Butter and Chocolate selection from Karen Worthy’s own recipe box. We loved the Burnt Cream’s smooth, cool texture contrasted with a caramelized burnt sugar spiked into the top. The Raspberry Cheesecake was topped with a contrasting tart raspberry reduction. Key Lime Pie brought raves from my sampling crew. “The key lime ‘bite’ was perfect, just like eating key lime pie in Florida,” was one sampler’s joyous review.

“I’ve always thought the first few bites of a dessert are the best, especially after a full meal. Instead of one dessert with five spoons, you can savor your very own,” reflected a local hospitality/business student.

German Chocolate Cake (Walt Worthy’s favorite) sparked quite the debate at our sampling session. Three out of the four stated, “I’ll pass,” when it came to eating coconut. I was delighted and snagged the offering all to myself. Even a dietitian can enjoy the moral dilemma of consuming the saturated fat of coconut when she knows it has a limit.

And that is the key to an occasional indulgence. I strive to set strict boundaries around my love of sweets. One macaroon from a local bakery or a few mini Almond Joy bars at Halloween. Now I can steal away to the Davenport Tower and have a shot glass of German Chocolate Cake, with a fresh brewed cup of coffee, in a comfortable tall backed booth.

Dietitians often have the aura of being health nuts. But let it be known we love sweets. One of my best college peers stated it well: “We not only know how to eat, we know how to cheat!”

RECIPE - Key Lime Pie... In a Shot Glass

Key limes come from the Florida Keys and are smaller and more yellow in color. However, if you can’t find fresh key limes, any fresh lime juice is better than bottled juice.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

11 graham crackers
5 tablespoons melted butter

Finely crush graham crackers, set aside. Melt the butter, set aside.

4 egg yolks
4 teaspoons grated lime zest
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together in a bowl until tinted light green. Beat in milk, then juice and set aside at room temperature till it thickens.

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar in another bowl. Add butter and stir until blended. Firmly press this mixture into the bottoms of 24 shot glasses. Bake on the center rack for about 10 minutes until the crust is lightly brown, remove and let cool to room temperature. Pour the lime filling into shot glasses and then bake for 5-10 minutes. Center should be set, but still wiggle when shaken. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Serve chilled.

Yield: 24 shot-glass sized desserts.

NUTRITION FACTS: 104 calories, 5g total fat. 13.5g carbohydrates, 2g protein


America is getting the message — trans fats are bad news!

However, BE CAREFUL — trans fats are being replaced with tropical oils such as palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil. Tropical oils are highly saturated fats. Just like butter, cheese and trans fats, these tropical oils raise LDL cholesterol and clog arteries with plaque, increasing your risk of a heart attack. Be sure to read the ingredients listing because “Trans fat-free” does not necessarily mean heart healthy. Beware!

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