Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pecan Pie

This version may be sans-rum, but all other deliciousness is preserved.


1/2 c garbanzo bean flour
1/2 c millet flour
1/2 tsp potato starch
1/8 tsp salt
3/8 c extra light olive oil (or coconut) / add until crust just barely sticks together.

Cut oil into the dry ingredients using two knives, pastry-style. Mix until beads of dough are pea-shaped.
To save time, I didn't even roll out the crust-- just plopped the dough into the pie tin, then used a spoon to press it into shape. 

The Filling:
2 eggs
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
1/4 c ghee, melted
1 tbs tapioca flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs milk
1/4 c xylitol/erythritol
3/4 c agave nectar
1 c chopped pecans

Beat eggs until foamy, then stir in melted oil/ghee. Stir in sweeteners, vanilla, and flour. Mix well, then stir in pecans. 
Pour mixture into crust in pie tin:

Bake for 10 minutes at 400 F, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes-- or until filling doesn't tremble when touched, /is no longer foamy and light.

This pie makes a delicious custard filling with pecans on top. It's delicious. And, funfact: my mom made a sugary family-pie at the same time that I made mine. And, hers ended up far LESS successful than mine. This could be due to the fact that she accidentally added twice the necessary butter, but I can still state that my recipe worked way better than the standard one.

Success! A wonderful Christmas dinner dessert.

Chocolate Tahini Truffles

Gorgeous Christmas truffles!
I've never made truffles before-- not in real (sugar-eating) life, not in acd-life. However, on Christmas day I recieved "On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen", by harold McGee, and I read the chocolate section.

I learned that ganache (standard truffle filling) is a suspension of cocoa and fat molecules within a sugar-syrup, created by combining melted chocolate and cream. For a soft ganache, the chocolate-to-cream ratio is about 1:1. For a thicker ganache (as in, truffle filling), the ratio should be closer to 2:1.

I took note of this, and figured I'd give it a shot, despite the fact that I didn't have any suitable cream. So, to sum it all up: I experimented.

I must admit, I was a very bad blogger while making these. I went a bit crazy, starting out with a couple main ingredients, and then quickly throwing in so many things by taste, that I pretty much lost track of all accurate measurements.

I started out with a sweet-potato based filling, deciding that this tuber would add volume, freshness, and subtle sweetness to the inside of the truffles-- and that I would add some cocoa, and adapt the texture to be more creamy and thick.

I began with a traditional ganache for the outer layer (coating). I melted grain-sweetened chocolate chips, and added half their volume of coconut milk... and then some coconut oil to add fat, since I wasn't using cream. And then some agave and xylitol to enhance the "sugar syrup" component.

... and then I ran away with both of them. Pretty much, I started adding tahini to make both components creamier, then needed to add vanilla to neutralize the sesame-taste, and thennn...? It's a mystery.

But here's a secret. Which I discovered, sweet-craving, kitchen-less, stressed, and food-destitute, in my eagle's-nest, secluded, dorm room, thesis-stressing senior year at Princeton University. Tahini whipped with vanilla =  creamy and delicious mousse. Crazy, I know. Especially because it works best with crummy, international-food-store, cheap Lebanese-labeled tahini. Add some cinnamon to the vanilla-only version, or add cocoa powder to make full-on chocolate mousse. Either way, it's incredibly creamy, but light and frothy at the same time. And, I figured, a great cream/volume-booster to my truffle components.

Thus, my chocolate truffles because chocolate-tahini truffles, with the "tahini" taste lost to the vanilla and chocolate and coconut and all other ingredients.

So, take this recipe as "inspiration", and use it as guidelines to make your own unique creations.


The Coating/Ganache:

1/2+ c Sunspire grain-sweetened chocolate chips
1/4- tsp coconut milk
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp ghee
1 tsp tahini
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp xylitol
1+ tsp agave

Melt chocolate over lowest heat possible, then remove from heat and add other ingredients. When it's really hot, it will be a bit too thick to really work with, so try to keep the heat low (or you'll have to wait forever for it to cool).

The Filling:

~3/4 c sweet potato (aka 1/2 large sweet potato), cooked and mashed without skin
1 tbs almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs tahini    ---> whip into the rest
2 tsp cocoa
1/8 c coconut milk 

Shape filling into balls, then dip them into coating. Then, optionally, roll them in the following powder:

 Rolling powder (optional):

Cocoa powder
Coconut flour
Shredded coconut
Almond meal
(or any combination of the above)

Place "finished" truffles on a waxed-paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle powder ontop, if desired. When ganache is sufficiently thick, it can be used alone to make balls of truffle, with powder sprinkled on top.

Let sheet of truffles cool in the fridge (/garage if it's cold out!) before storing/serving. Keep in fridge.


Strawberry Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

Soft, chewy, fresh, delicious, and heavenly: everything a cookie should be.

Christmas cookies #1 for 2010. Red strawberries add some color to a holiday cookie tray! Inspiration for these from The Spunky Coconut. I added coconut and fresh strawberries, to make these extra-delicious.


1/2 cup ghee or coconut oil, liquified
6 tbsp honey or agave
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp chia seeds, ground
1 tsp vanilla                                      --> beat wet ingredients

2/3 cup tapioca flour
2/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
2/3 cup shredded coconut              --> add dry ingredients

Mix!  Then roll into 1-2 inch balls, flatten slightly, and create an indent in the center. Fill with strawberry filling:


Chopped strawberries  (~ 1/2 cup)
Xylitol           (~1 tsp/to taste)          --> sprinkle on top and mix

Bake at 350 degrees for ~12 minutes.


Holiday Baking: Povitica

Yum! Povitica (pronunciation: poh-vit-teet-sa) is the epitome of our family Christmas baking. Traditionally, it has a cinnamon-walnut filling rolled inside a sub-paper-thin yeast dough. Making povitica is a multi-purpose, all-day operation. The most exceptional moment of the process is when the lump of dough is genttly stretched out so thin that it covers an entire full-sized table. Next, the filling is painted all over, and then the whole thing is rolled up and baked.

Traditional povitica making, for Xmas 2010!

For my version, I used my cinnamon roll dough, and created a almond-agave-coconut oil based filling that was nearly identical to how I remember the genuine filling. Because my dough was still gluten/yeast-free, it does not "stretch" the same way that the real stuff does. However, it does roll out exceptionally well, and rolls thin enough to see the tablecloth through the dough-- which is the landmark "thinness" measurement, in my books.


The dough:

½ c tapioca flour
½ c potato starch
¾ c arrowroot powder
¼ cup brown rice flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp guar gum
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder                  --> combine dry ingredients

3 tbs coconut oil (melted)
2 ½ tbs agave
1 tsp vanilla
10 drops stevia
1 egg                           --> combine wet ingredients; whisk in egg; add wet to dry

½ c coconut milk         -->  add coconut milk slowly, until it is dough consistency (a little sticky is ok.)

If dough is too sticky, dust with brown rice flour until it does not stick to your hand/spatula when touched
Place a cloth tablecloth (/old sheet) over your table. Dust with flour, then roll out dough on top. 
Using a (floured) rolling pin, you should be able to get dough thin enough to see the tablecloth through it-- the thinner the better!

See through dough = success.
 Next, spread the filling on top, using a rubber scraper. Be generous; it will soak in a bit while cooking:

The Filling:

1 tbs almond butter
2 tbs almond meal
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs ghee
2 tbs agave nectar (/to taste)
1 tbs rice milk

 Then, lift one side of the tablecloth to roll up the whole sheer of dough. You may need to manually start the initial rolling, but after the first fold it should roll up on its own as you lift the cloth.

 Then, fold the long roll into a pan-shaped coil. (Secondary structure?) Place the baking dish upside-down on top of the roll, then use the tablecloth to flip the whole thing into the pan.

Place in the oven, and bake for ~30 minutes at 325. Slice and enjoy!

For a little extra yum, pour extra filling ontop after it comes out of the oven. It doubles as delicious frosting!