What Are the Different Types of Lactose-Free Desserts?

Anna B. Smith

The different types of lactose-free desserts can include fresh fruit, fruit compote, and fruit filled pie. These types of desserts use fruit and natural spices to sweeten the overall dishes, instead of dairy products. Dairy-free foods may also be used in traditional recipes to substitute for milk, butter, and other common lactose containing products.

Fruit is often used in gelatin-based desserts, which are a popular lactose-free option.
Fruit is often used in gelatin-based desserts, which are a popular lactose-free option.

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and all milk-based products. Those who are lactose intolerant do not produce the enzyme lactase naturally in a sufficient amount in their bodies. Lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose into glucose and galactose, which are then utilized for nutrient value by the blood stream. A small percentage of the population is unable to process galactose, and these individuals are also unable to digest dairy products. For these sufferers, lactose-free desserts offer the sweetness of traditional desserts without incorporating the potentially harmful dairy ingredients which they must avoid.

Many people are allergic or sensitive to the lactose found in dairy products.
Many people are allergic or sensitive to the lactose found in dairy products.

Fruit is the basis for many lactose-free desserts. It can be served alone or in a gelatin based mold as a mixed fruit salad, and topped with confectioner's sugar to increase its sweetness. A whipped cream topping substitute can be created by combining softened tofu, vanilla extract, sugar, and soy or almond milk. These ingredients can be combined and whipped using an electric hand mixer until stiff. The finished product may be spooned onto fresh fruit, fruit compote, or fruit pie.

Fruit compote combines multiple types of fruit in a syrupy baking dish. The fruit used should compliment one another, and it may be fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Some recipes call for the use of multiple types of preserving methods to increase the flavor and varieties in texture of the dessert. The fruit is layered together in a baking dish and drizzled with a brown sugar based glaze which can incorporate other flavored extracts and liquors, depending on the preferences of the chef. It is then followed with a fruit juice glaze, baking spices, and candied nuts, and baked in a hot oven until set.

Pies filled with different types of fruit can be used to create a wide variety of lactose-free desserts. Basic fruit filling combines fresh or frozen chopped fruit, sugar, baking spices, and a small amount of flour. These ingredients cook down inside a pastry shell to form a hot, bubbling, syrupy filling that is irresistible. The pastry shell, which lines the bottom of the pie baking dish and may also serve as a crust, can be made from flour, shortening, salt, and water.

Those who crave lactose-free desserts based on dairy products, such as cakes, cookies, muffins, and ice cream, can find many dairy-free varieties in local grocery stores. Consumers should carefully check the ingredients labels on any pre-made mixes to ensure that no milk-based products were used during manufacturing. Some traditional recipes may also be altered by substituting vegan versions of common dairy products, such as almond milk for cow's milk, and vegan margarine for butter. Many of these products include recommendations to the consumer on the packaging for substitution amounts.

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