DEAR PEGGY: In the December/January 2009 issue of Healthy Cooking, you were asked about using fat-free rather than reduced-fat whipped toppings. Your answer made perfect sense to me, then later in the same issue there is a recipe called Frozen Pistachio Dessert with Raspberry Sauce and fat-free topping was used. So which is best?—A. H., Blairsville, GA
There are very few "rules" in light cooking that are hard and fast. It is true that we shy away from folding in fat-free whipped topping to refrigerated fillings, pies and cheesecakes because it doesn't typically hold its volume and consistency as well as the reduced-fat version.
But, in the case of the Frozen Pistachio Dessert with Raspberry Sauce, we tried it with fat-free whipped topping because it was a frozen dessert. Therefore, we didn't need to be concerned about the whipped topping thinning out or not setting up—it would be frozen. Frozen desserts have a firm texture, not a light and fluffy texture like a refrigerated pie. We wanted the Pistachio Dessert to have a creamy mouth feel, however, and the fat-free whipped topping does retain its creamy mouth feel just like the reduced-fat version, so fat-free whipped topping was appropriate in this case.
I hope that helps further explain our thought process.
Video: Whipped Cream Techniques »