B·CONCEPT/WEBINAR

How to make creamy and appetizing low-fat pastry? Let’s talk about creaminess

The assumption that to make creamy pasty means to use large amounts of fat is very common, but also incorrect. Although it is true that traditionally pastry has depended on fatty ingredients – both for their preservative properties and for providing creaminess –, today we have many ingredients that can replace a certain amount of that fat or even all of it.

Although there is a very close connection between creamy sensation and fat, they are not mutually exclusive. Meaning fat provides creaminess, but creaminess does not come exclusively from fat. In fact, creaminess is a much more complex mental concept and fat is only part of this equation. Something that we already highlighted a while ago in the post “Beyond the lines of traditional pastry – redefining the concept of creaminess” and later complemented with the chestnut creamy recipe comparative.

Talking about low-fat pastry is to talk about of one of our mainstays – healthier, lighter, tastier pastry – since it is an easier-to-digest pastry that make us feel good and be in harmony with our body. That is why we are going to deepen into creaminess in this article: what it is and which are the factors that contribute to creating it. Only by understanding these two points we will be able to formulate low-fat (or even fat-free) recipes without compromising the creamy sensation.

What is creaminess?

Creaminess is the mouthfeel creamy sensation that food or a preparation brings us. It is a highly sought-after property in pastry, since a creamy elaboration is usually associated with a more appetizing pastry. Many traditional pastry preparations already suggest this creaminess in their name: pastry cream (custard), crème anglaise, sabayon cream, buttercream, crème chantilly (whipped cream), etc.

If we analyse it, all these custards and creams use fatty ingredients such as butter, cream, whole milk, egg yolk, etc. That is why it is so common to make the mistake of identifying creaminess with these ingredients and flavours. For example, dairy or vanilla flavours are closely related to our perception of creaminess.

Even though, as we already introduced above, creaminess is a much more complex concept: a set of textural and organoleptic properties. For a preparation or food to be considered creamy, mouthfeel – the way in which a food moves on the palate – is as important as taste, aftertaste, visual appearance, colour, etc.

Which factors influence creaminess?

There are three important factors that help to achieve a creamy texture, even if we work with very little fat: type of fat used, emulsification technique and viscosity.

THE TYPE OF FAT

When talking about fats, it is very important to understand the physical-chemical properties of the different types. The type of fat is a key factor in building creamy textures. A very different result will be obtained depending on the melting point and the way each fat is crystallized.

For example, it is not the same to work a pastry recipe with a polyunsaturated fat than to do it with a saturated fat, since each one behaves differently when faced with changes in temperature. The more polyunsaturated fats, lesser the creaminess; but if we increase the amount of saturated fat it can also result in a too hard texture.

Usually, fats that provide a lot of creaminess are fats with a melting point close to human body temperature. Thus, on contact with the tongue, they melt neither too fast or too slow. Some ingredients that perfectly exemplify this are cocoa butter (melting point 35ºC), butter (28-35ºC) or coconut fat (20-28ºC).

THE EMULSIFICATION TECHNIQUE

Emulsification is one of the four basic pastry techniques to achieve perfect textures. It is a key factor to achieve creaminess since the fat used in the recipe needs to be perfectly linked with the water so that the texture obtained does not break. This union is known as an emulsion, the process of linking the watery part with the fat part of a recipe to achieve a creamy texture. A broken emulsion will not give us any creamy sensation but quite the opposite.

VISCOSITY

Viscosity is the resistance of liquid to flow. It is a very important parameter in terms of the food texture and pastry preparations. A too liquid texture that flows without any resistance (such as, for example, water), passes very quickly through the mouth and, in general, it is not perceived as creamy. On the other hand, ice cream made with cream has a higher viscosity than water and stays in the mouth longer, which allows us to perceive both its flavour and detect the fat droplets present in it. All of this contributes to the feel and perception of creaminess.

In addition, we must highlight two very important pastry techniques that can help us increase viscosity in recipes: thickening and gelling. While thickening prevents textures from being too liquid, gelling creates a gel that traps water inside. Both techniques can enhance the mouthfeel of creaminess.

We should emphasize that it is necessary to find the optimal or ideal viscosity for each texture depending on the objective we have in mind for our pastry recipes, since, for example, a too gelled texture will not be perceived as creamy.

Free pastry masterclass: How to make creamy and appetizing low-fat pastry?

You can continue learning about how to make low-fat pastry without sacrificing creaminess in this webinar, the second in the B·Concept Pastry Answers series: “How to make creamy and appetizing low-fat pastry”. In it, Jordi Bordas and Adrianna Jaworska explain in deep all the aforementioned concepts, in addition to exemplifying them with two recipes: strawberry creamy and chocolate creamy. You will find both after the video (make sure to turn the subtitles on). We will be waiting for you at the next free pastry masterclass!

STRAWBERRY CREAMY

120 g (12.00 %) Inulin HP (high performance)
10 g (1.00 %) Pectin NH
2 g (0.20 %) Guar gum
868 g (86.80 %) Strawberry puree 10%

  1. Mix inulin, pectin and guar gum.
  2. Heat the puree to 30 ºC in a saucepan, add the inulin mixture stirring with rods and heat to 72 ºC while stirring.
  3. Work with the hand blender, cover making contact and let gel/thicken in the fridge for 12 hours.
  4. OPTIONAL: Whip with a kitchen robot to obtain a creamy whipped texture.

MARACAIBO 65 % CREAMY

582 g (58.20 %) Water (at 20 ºC)
3 g (0.30 %) Guar gum
15 g (1.50 %) Citrus fibre emulsifier
400 g (40.00 %) Dark couverture 65% (at 45 ºC)

  1. Mix water and guar gum.
  2. Add the emulsifier and the couverture to the water mixture and emulsify thoroughly with a hand blender.
  3. Dose and let crystallize in the fridge for 3 hours.
  4. OPTIONAL: Set for 12 hours in the fridge and whip with a kitchen robot to obtain a texture similar to that of a whipped ganache.