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Happy Thanksgiving!

27 Nov

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope those of you who are celebrating the holiday have very safe and smooth travels to wherever you are headed.

Today I baked my paleo pumpkin pie, among other things we will bring to Eleanor and Michael’s house for Thanksgiving.  This weekend, I hope to *finally* catch up on my blogging (it’s been a while) so please stay tuned!!!

Gluten-free French-style Anjou Pear Tart

3 Mar

pear tart - slice

This French-style Anjou pear tart is the perfect light and fruity dessert to serve when you have brunch or dinner guests.   Not only is the tart gorgeous and delicious, it is very simple to make.  Before our gluten-free days I made this tart quite often, but once we went off gluten I stopped, for obvious reasons — no more flour in our lives!  I recently started to experiment with gluten-free flour, however, and I discovered that this tart works just was wonderfully gluten-free.  We love that the tart is mostly pear — the crust is thin, buttery and flaky.  Instead of regular sugar I use organic coconut palm sugar, which is low-glycemic, and I try to buy apricot jam or preserve with the least amount of sugar per serving.  If you are looking for a simple and beautiful dessert to serve the next time you have company, do try this tart!  I like to make the dough the night before.

Continue reading

How to Eat Water…for dessert

25 Mar

I used agar agar to make almond water jelly cubes!  Like the coconut kanten, this concotion, too, might be an acquired taste.  But these cubes makes for a refreshing, low-calorie dessert option… made from seaweed!  The translucent cubes look quite beautiful when topped with fruit — like wild blueberries cooked down in lemon juice.

ALMOND WATER KANTEN

  • 4 cups filtered/spring water
  • 4 tbsp agar agar flakes
  • 5 packets of organic Stevia
  • 2 tsp almond extract

Bring the water boil.  Add the agar agar flakes and Stevia, and simmer until the flakes are completely dissolved, whisking frequently.  Add the almond extract, stir.  Once the agar agar flakes have dissolved completely, take off from the heat and pour into a glass container (I use a 9 in. x 7 in.  glass tupperware).  Cool and then refrigerate.  When the liquid has solidified into jelly, cut strips into cubes and top with fruit!

Coconut Kanten w/Berry Compote

19 Mar

Coconut kanten might be an acquired taste… my husband doesn’t care for it, but I love it!  I turn to this dessert confection when I get a sweet craving.

Kanten, also known as agar agar, is extracted from seaweed.  Often used as a gelling agent in Japanese and other Asian desserts, I grew up with kanten in such desserts as anmitsu.  Low in calories and high in fiber, agar agar is a healthy gelling agent — and I recently started using agar agar with coconut milk to make coconut jelly cubes.

Agar agar often can be found in long strips.  I found agar agar flakes instead, which I think are easier to use.  The texture of this coconut kanten is harder than your typically jelly.  While I love the texture, David finds it a little weird.  (More for me, then!)

It’s super easy to make coconut kanten.  I also make a simple berry compote sweetened with Stevia, which goes nicely on top.  I can eat coconut kanten cubes just as they are — they have become my go-to snacks.

Here’s how I make it: Continue reading

Flourless Choc Cinnamon Banana Cake

26 Dec

I came up with this recipe when we had over-ripe organic bananas at home that neither of us wanted to eat but seemed wasteful to throw away.  It occurred to me that I could use the bananas as the “sweetening” component for a flour-less chocolate cake, instead of using Stevia (which I don’t have anyway) or sugar.  The result was fabulous — the bananas give the cake a creamy, almost mousse like quality.  The cake is light and isn’t overly banana-y — just a hint of the fruit.  The cake pairs nicely with a mango sorbet.  I served this cake as a dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner party and everyone loved it!

FLOURLESS CHOC CINNAMON BANANA CAKE

  • 10 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate (I like to use 81% dark)
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, room temperature and softened
  • 3 very ripe organic bananas
  • 4 organic free-range eggs
  • 3 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F (or about 175C).  Grease a spring-form pan (or another kind of baking pan — I use a 9 in. round spring-form pan, which works well).

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, set aside

Cream the butter.  Since we don’t have a hand mixer, I had David cream the butter with a wooden spoon — it requires some muscle-ing, but it works fine.

When the butter is creamed, add bananas, one at a time.  We used the back of a wooden spoon to smash the bananas into the butter; blend well.

Add eggs to the butter/banana mixture, one at a time.  Mix well.

Add the cinnamon.  Pour in the melted chocolate, mix until blended.

Pour the batter into the baking pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cake sets.  Let the cake cool before serving.  The cake keeps well refrigerated.

Good Snacks: Raw Organic Fudge

30 Nov

Here’s a recipe for raw organic fudge that we love to make when we’re home.  I really miss being able to make this fudge while we’re away in Stockholm — these make great power snacks and helps satisfy a sweet craving.  I don’t have a food processor in our Stockholm apartment, nor have I found Stevia… but I am hopeful that I might find a way to make this fudge.  In the mean time, I will share the recipe here.

RAW ORGANIC FUDGE

BASE (Cashew Butter)

  • 4 cups organic raw whole cashews, no salt
  • 1/4 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup organic creamed coconut

Place cashews in a food processor and process for about 3 minutes minutes. Add the coconut oil and creamed coconut and continue to process until you have a nice shiny cashew butter. (You may want to add about 1/8 cup each more of coconut oil and creamed coconut if the consistency is not quite creamy and buttery.)  This will make about 2 cups of cashew butter.

Divide the base into two bowls, evenly (about 1 cup cashew butter each).

Two flavors we like (per about 1 cup cashew butter base) are peppermint and salted/cinnamon/vanilla.

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FOR PEPPERMINT FUDGE

  • 1 cup organic cashew butter (recipe as above)- 1/2 cup organic cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • Stevia (liquid), about 5 drops (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp organic peppermint extract

In a bowl with about 1 cup cashew butter base, stir in above ingredients — a spatula works well. Spread mixture in a pan and refrigerate for 2 1/2 hours, or until hardened. Cut, serve (chilled) and enjoy.

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FOR SALTED CINAMMON/VANILLA FUDGE

  • 1 cup organic cashew butter (recipe as above)
  • 1/2 cup organic cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • Stevia (liquid), about 5 drops (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp organic cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a bowl with about 1 cup cashew butter base, stir in above ingredients — a spatula works well. Spread mixture in a pan and refrigerate for 2 1/2 hours, or until hardened. Cut, serve (chilled) and enjoy.

Pot du Coco(nut) with Sherry

27 Nov

For dessert for our non-traditional Thanksgiving in Stockholm, I made a “duo of dark chocolate” — a caradamon and orange flour-less sugar-free chocolate cake and “Pot du Coco(nut).”

When I make flourless chocolate cakes, I use a recipe I found on Food52 by ChezUs.  Normally, I use Stevia to sweeten the cake, instead of regular sugar.  On this occasion, I skipped any kind of sweetener because (1)  we haven’t found Stevia in Stockholm and (2) I thought that a less-sweet, almost bitter cake might pair better with the “Pot du Coco(nut),” which is creamy and decadent.  I will post the recipe for the cake later.

The “Pot du Coco(nut)” recipe was inspired by our desire for an easy, home-made paleo dessert and a too-sweet sherry.  Recently, David and I discussed over dinner how, occasionally, it would be nice to have a little dessert.  In New York, we sometimes buy sugar-free coconut ice cream, which we love.  We wondered if we might look for something similar in Stockholm.  Also recently, we bought a Pedro Ximenez sherry, hoping it’d make a nice digestiv.  Unfortunately, the sherry is much too sweet and almost honey-like.  I hate to waste things… and then it occurred to me that I should make my own coconut milk based dessert utilizing the too sweet sherry: How about a Pot du Coco(nut)?

Here’s how I make my “Pot du Coco(nut)”:

Melt 2 bars of dark chocolate in a double boiler (about 7 o., or 200g — I use 81% cacao).  If you don’t have a double boiler (I don’t) you can use two pots, one small pot to heat water, and a small sauce pan (smaller than the pot) in which to melt chocolate over the hot water.

When the chocolate melts, add a can of coconut milk (400 ml).  Keep mixing and heating the mixture until the it is completely smooth and silky in texture.  (It’s important to heat the coconut milk with the chocolate and make sure to mix well to achieve smooth creamy texture.  I use a spatula to keep mixing and scraping the sides, until the chocolate runs smooth.)  Add about 1/4 cup of sweet sherry (or another sweet wine) into the mixture.  The sweetness from the dark chocolate and the sweetness from the wine will act as the sweeteners for the pot du coco(nut).

Pour into small glasses — I will make about 8 small portions (or 4 large portions in mugs).

Chill overnight.  This simple dessert tastes amazingly decadent, and will surely impress your guests.  The sweet sherry complements the bitter chocolate, and the coconut milk gives the Pot du Coco(nut) a beautifully velvety texture.  Our non-paleo dinner guests loved the Pot du Coco(nut), and thought it paired very nicely with the minimally sweet flour-less cake.  Since I don’t have many small glasses, I chilled the rest of the chocolate mixture in a mug, which works nicely as well.

Simple, delicious, paleo dessert that will surely impress your dinner guests — paleo or non-paleo!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

24 Nov

I can’t bake a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year, but I thought I’d share with you my paleo pumpkin pie recipe in honor of Thanksgiving.  I adapted this recipe from a Bobby Flay pumpkin pie recipe, and we love it.  The filling is velvety but the pie itself is very light.  I think it’s a very elegant pie.  Non-paleo friends who don’t normally like pumpkin pies have asked for seconds of this paleo version.

Happy Thanksgiving!

PALEO PUMPKIN PIE (with coconut crust)

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic coconut flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly warm
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 packets of Stevia

Pumpkin filling:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 packets of Stevia (equal to about 1/2 cups sugar) **I tend to decrease sugar content from original recipes as we prefer to keep sweets not too sweet — the original, non-paleo recipe calls for 1/4 cup granualted sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups organic coconut cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped and reserved

For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all the ingredients for the crust to a food processor and pulse until combined; it should feel like wet sand, and just come together. Spread the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan, using your finger tips or the flat bottom of a glass. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and sides of the pan. Put the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the crust is light brown and firm to the touch, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the filling:

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Whisk together the eggs, yolks and Stevia in a large bowl. Add the butter, pumpkin, coconut cream, spices, salt and vanilla seeds and whisk to combine. Strain the mixture into a bowl.

Pour the strained mixture into the baked pie crust and bake until almost set, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let come to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled.