Pastry Chef Miko Aspiras Shares How To Make Health-Friendly Desserts
Easy and delicious desserts can help with immunity.
Now more than ever, people have become increasingly mindful of the things they do in order to keep themselves healthy and to avoid getting sick.
Miko Aspiras, the sought-after chef behind well-known concept restaurants like Le Petit Soufflé and Scout's Honor, is no exception. To help build his immune system, Chef Miko exercises regularly, takes his vitamins and supplements, and keeps a regular sleep schedule.
Chef Miko also extends these immunity-boosting efforts to the kitchen by choosing ingredients to make all his meals — yes, including dessert - flavorful and nutritious.
“I make sure I know what I eat is real food. I try to be mindful of what goes into my meals and snacks. I try to know the source of each ingredient and the health benefits it can add to my dish,” he told Yummy.ph.
Home bakers can learn a thing or two about creating their own health-friendly desserts from Chef Miko himself:
1. Use fresh ingredients.
Chef Miko prioritizes the use of fresh ingredients like fruits, saying that these help increase the overall nutritional value of his dishes.
“Adding fresh fruits on top of pastries, tarts, [and] ice cream can instantly make your dish more nutritious and tasty,” he said.
2. Opt for guilt-free alternatives.
Simple ingredient substitutions can help you make your favorite dishes guilt-free and better for your health. For example, honey instead of sugar; or reduced-fat, skim, or fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
“Open your mind to the possibilities. There are plenty of healthier alternative ingredients in the market nowadays,” Chef Miko said, adding, “Healthy does not mean boring. Experiment and pile on the flavor!”
3. Consider adding grains to your recipes.
One of Chef Miko’s go-to ingredients these days? Grains, or more specifically, oats. Known as a superfood, oats is a natural source of many different nutrients including iron, which helps build immunity, among many other benefits.
“Whether the recipe requires it or not, I just put a dash or a sprinkle [of oats] on my dishes to add more flavor and texture,” he said.
Curious how to use oats? Chef Miko shared his recipe for Quaker Oats Cream Pie, made with Quaker Rolled Oats.
He explained: “Cookie sandwiches are one of my favorite snacks growing up. So I thought of putting a healthy twist to it by adding oats to the mixture to give the plain ol’ cookie sandwich more crispness, nuttiness, and essential nutrients like iron.”
Watch this video to find out how you can make Quaker Oats Cream Pie sandwich cookies:
Quaker Oats Cream Pie Recipe
Takes: 31 minutes
Makes: 14-15 sandwich cookies
Ingredients For Quaker Oats Cream Pie:
For the cookies:
1 1/4 cups (290 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark molasses (or honey, to substitute)
1 1/2 cups (187 grams) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled to measure
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves (or nutmeg, to substitute)
3 cups (240 grams) Quaker Rolled Oats
For the cream filling:
3/4 cup (175 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups (360 grams) confectioners’ or powdered sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Salt, to taste
How To Make Quaker Oats Cream Pie:
1 To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 190 degrees C or 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2 Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and molasses, scraping down the sides as needed. Set aside.
3 In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and Quaker Rolled Oats.
4 With the mixer running on Low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. (The dough will be quite thick and you may have to mix it all by hand after a few seconds in the mixer.) Drop dough with a large cookie scoop onto the baking sheet, or make sure each ball of dough is 2 tablespoons. Place each ball of dough 3 inches apart. (Cookies will spread in the oven.)
5 Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
6 To make the cream filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in heavy cream and vanilla extract. Beat on High for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Taste and add a pinch or two of salt, as needed. If the filling is too thick, add a couple more teaspoons of heavy cream.
7 Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons cream filling on the bottom side of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, right side up.
In parting, Chef Miko reminds everyone to be more responsible and to take every opportunity to enhance the quality of the food you serve not just for yourselves but also to your loved ones.
“There has never been a better time to eat [healthily] than today. Eating healthy doesn't mean dull, expensive, or boring. With the resources that we have today and a punch of creativity, we can all benefit from this change of lifestyle,” he says.