Category: Food

Maple Custard Tart

I’ve seen custard tarts topped with apple “roses” and wanted to make something similar for our Christmas dessert. Since we made our own maple syrup this year, I wanted to use a maple custard. We had a big bag of walnuts, so I used those for the crust.

Maple Custard:

  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3T corn starch
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1/4t sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler (or a metal bowl on top of a pot). Select a medium heat (‘4’ on my cooktop). Whisking constantly, heat custard until it thickens. Remove from heat, cover with cling film, and refrigerate.

Walnut Cookie Crust:

  • 1.5 cup pulverized walnut pieces
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2T sugar
  • 2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put walnuts into a food processor and pulverize – not just powdered, some 1/8″ pieces should remain.
Measure 1.5 cups of pulverized walnuts. Combine with flour, salt, and sugar.
Melt butter. Using a fork, cut the melted butter into the dry ingredients. Add egg whites and cut together until evenly moist.
Press dough to the bottom of a pie or tart plate (can be lined with parchment – makes removing the pie a LOT easier). Cook for 15 minutes. Crust should be crunchy and brown.

Apple Roses:

  • 2 apples
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

The instructions used a mandolin to slice the apples, I used a spiral food slicer. Worked well. Combine orange juice, butter, and sugar in a bowl and mix. Gently stir in apple pieces so they are covered. Let sit for 10 minutes.

To assemble – spread custard into cooled pie crust. Curl apple slices around themselves to make rose shapes and gently press into custard.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium cloves roasted garlic
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) whole San Marzanos tomatoes
  • 2 cups stock
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Heat the olive oil over medium low heat, add a pinch of salt, then slowly add the onion slices (allowing time for the liquid to evaporate off between additions) and sauté until the onions begin to caramelize. Mush the roasted garlic and add to onion. Deglaze the pan with stock. Run tomatoes through a blender, then add to pot. Add red pepper flakes and black pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in cream. Voila, tomato soup!

We served this with cheddar biscuits – whatever bread recipe you like, then add grated cheddar cheese. I used about a cup of cheddar for four cups of flour in the bread.

Pies

Again this year, no one wanted to make the pumpkin pie for Anya’s preschool feast. So I volunteered. I didn’t want to make the same pie a few days later for our dinner.  A bit of Internet searching and I found a dairy free pie for her class and a carrot pie for us. Both were incredibly good.

Because these are custard fillings, I blind baked the crusts. When dough is in pie plate, lay aluminium foil over the whole thing. Pour white sugar into the lined pie plate. Bake at 350 — 40 minutes for non-refrigerated coconut oil crust, 60 minutes for butter crust that was refrigerated for an hour after being placed in pie plate. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and pick up the aluminium foil with the sugar & dump it back into the sugar bag. Since the crust is already baked, I covered the pie’s edges with aluminium foil to bake the completed pie.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie – adapted from https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/11/04/healthy-pumpkin-pie-recipe/ and http://minimalistbaker.com/coconut-oil-pie-crust/

Pie Filling:
20 oz pumpkin puree
14 oz can coconut milk without emulsifiers
2 tbsp ground flax (or 2 eggs)
1/4 cup rolled oats, powdered in food processor
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup solid coconut oil
6 tbsp ice cold water

Crust:
Put about half a cup of water into a glass and place in freezer.
Mix salt and flour, then use a pastry blender to cut in coconut oil.
Add 4 tablespoons of water from freezer and mix in. Add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time, until dough forms.
Split dough in half, wrap with clingfilm, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove from refrigerator and roll out dough. Place into pie plate and bake for 30-40 minutes until it is cooked.
Remove crust from oven and allow to cool while making filling.

Filling:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drain watery liquid from tin of coconut milk and reserve. Combine coconut milk solids with pumpkin puree and mix to combine.
Add sugar, spices, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
Add ground flax seed (or egg) and mix. Pour into pie crust, cover crust edge with aluminium foil, and bake for 30-50 minutes until pie has mostly set.
Cool, refrigerate for 4+ hours.

A lot of kids really enjoyed the pie (it never occurred to me that “picky eating” extended to pie … but I learnt last year that, yeah, a lot of kids won’t eat pie. Especially not a pie that’s got any sort of could-be-a-veggie in it. For a normal snack/dessert, I make the filling, put it in ramekins, and steam it in the pressure cooker. Same flavour without the trouble of making a pie crust.

The recipe made two “normal” sized pies (i.e. not deep dish), and there was plenty for twenty people (sixteen kids, four adults). With enough left over that all three of us got a slice after class 🙂 Since I expected to have pumpkin pie on Tuesday, I wanted to make something different on Thursday. I found a carrot pie at http://www.craftycookingmama.com/carrot-pie-perfect-fall-holiday-pie/ and adapted it a little bit. I used the all-butter crust from Smitten Kitchen.

1.5 lbs carrots
2 T butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp tapioca powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil carrots for 20-30 minutes until they are tender. Drain water & return to heat to evaporate excess liquid.
Place carrots, butter, and cream in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and puree until well mixed.
Pour into cooled crust and bake at 350 for 60 minutes until pie is set (knife inserted into centre comes out clean).

Served with maple whipped cream — add a few tablespoons of maple syrup to one cup of heavy whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks form.

This pie was really good too – Scott didn’t realize it was carrot-based until I mentioned it. It’s creamy and spicy and really good. So good we didn’t manage to get any pictures 🙂

Coconut Almond Chocolate Bars

I made a homemade dessert inspired by Almond Joy bars. It’s got three layers – coconut, sliced almonds, and either chocolate or carob.

For the coconut layer, combine the following in a food processor and pulse until you’ve got a somewhat creamy well blended mix.

3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup maple syrup

Line a pie pan with clingfilm and press coconut mixture into pan. Top with sliced almonds.

I then made both carob and chocolate sauce to spread on top. Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Then stir in either cocoa powder or carob powder until the mixture has the consistency of melted chocolate.

Spread chocolate or carob (I made it with half chocolate and half carob). Refrigerate for an hour so the chocolate sets.

Curried Salad

I made a really good curried salad based on a recipe I found online. I omitted the sriracha from the sauce and used a little of Penzey’s Bangkok Blend to add a little flavour and heat. I also poached a salmon filet (for Anya and I) and some chicken (for Scott). Flaked / shredded the meat and coated it in the sauce. Then I made the salad (without cilantro), drizzled with the curried peanut sauce, added the meat, and topped with some crunchy noodle things.

Halloween Flatbreads

We volunteered to make the ‘healthy snack’ for the preschool class Halloween party again this year. We made pumpkin-shaped flat breads with carrot hummus.

Flat Bread Recipe:

4t active dry yeast
1t Penzey’s roast garlic powder
2t Penzey’s italian herbs
1t sea salt
1t sugar
4 cups all purpose flour
2T olive oil
1.5 cups water
1 large carrot, shredded finely

Combine all of the dry ingredients and mix, then add in water and oil. Kneed until it becomes a smooth and stretchy dough. Add carrot shreds and kneed to distribute throughout dough. Allow dough to rise until doubled (at least an hour).

Heat electric griddle to 375 F. Roll pieces of dough to ~1/8″ thick and cut with pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Carrot Hummus Recipe:

1c dried garbanzo beans – in a pressure cooker, add about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and water. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. Add about a pound of carrots and cook for another 15 minutes.

In a food processor, combine 1/4c fresh lemon juice and 1/4c tahini. Pulse to combine. Fill with garbanzo beans and carrots, and blend until smooth.

We topped the flatbreads with the orange-coloured hummus to make pumpkin flatbreads:

Spent Grain Banana Bread Muffins

We brewed ten gallons using a partial mash technique. Five pounds of spent grains! Four pounds of two-row malted barley and one pound of Gambrinus honey malt. This means a lot of baking. Today, I came up with a spent grain banana bread muffin recipe.

Ingredients

6 Tbsp butter, melted
4 over-ripe bananas
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup spent grains
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter and mash the bananas into the butter. Stir in the honey and molasses. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.

Sprinkle spices over the mixture and mix. Stir in spent grains. Sprinkle baking soda over mixture.

Gently fold in the flour. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 with batter. Bake for about 30 minutes, until knife inserted into center of the largest muffin comes out without raw batter.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Mmmmm – I made an avocado chocolate mousse that a friend of a friend sent out. I modified the original recipe significantly: used a lot of carob in place of the cocoa, used maple syrup in place of honey, and used coconut milk in place of almond milk

Ingredients:

2 avocados (room temperature)
6 Tbsp coconut milk
5 Tbsp carob powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used KAF’s triple cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Method:

Dice up the avocado into large chunks. Combine everything in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Eat 🙂

Fish And Chips

We had watched one of Gordon Ramsey’s cooking challenge shows where contestants made fish and chips using his technique/recipe. Aside: If you grow fresh English peas, you don’t need to add butter to your mushy peas. If you are adding butter, get a new variety of peas!

When we made the grocery list yesterday, Anya volunteered us to make fish and chips too. Interesting idea, it didn’t seem too difficult watching him do it 🙂 So we picked up some cod, potatoes, and yams (I love yam chips, especially dusted with a little cinnamon … doesn’t go well with fish, but if I’m boiling a big pot of oil, figured I’d make some of these too).

Ingredients, per Ramsey’s web site:

  • 4 175g thick cod fillets
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 130ml soda water
  • 170ml lager
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • vegetable oil for deep fryer

Dredge the fish in flour, then coat in the batter and fry at about 350 degrees F. I was worried that they wouldn’t be crispy and puffy like they are meant to be, but WOW. The batter was super puffy. Spewed oil all over the place too.

We made the fries using a method from Cooks Illustrated that starts with cold oil. I used carola potatoes. Wash potatoes, dry them, and cut them into batons (nice if they are close to the same size. I got some smaller super crunchy ones, medium sized ones cooked perfectly, and larger ones that didn’t crisp as much). Place in a dutch oven & fill with oil to just cover. Turn burner on high and bring to a boil (~5 mins) and then leave ’em alone for fifteen or twenty minutes to cook. When they start to get browned, scrape anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. When they reach the desired color, net them out with a slotted spoon or scoop. Salt immediately and eat.

fish and chips

Cannoli Recipe

We watched people making cannoli on MasterChef tonight, and Anya wants to make some now. I am trying to sort a good recipe.

Shells:

  • 7 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 oz cocoa powder
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ oz butter
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Marsala wine

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, melted butter and eggs in a bowl. Then add the Marsala. The dough will start out quite sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, about 15 minutes. Form into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  and let it rest for half an hour.

Roll out the cannoli dough to about the thickness of a penny. Cut it into circles with diameter of about 2.5″ for smaller ~1/2″ diameter forms, 3.5″ diameter circles for larger ~7/8″ diameter forms. Wrap the circles around the metal tubes to shape the cannoli and seal with a little dab of egg white. Heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the dough, still wrapped around the tubes, for about one minute. Use a skewer to remove the form from the hot oil. Let the cannoli cool on paper towels. Once cool, slide out the metal tubes. Fill shells immediately before serving – pipe filling into center and top with chopped pistachios, hazelnuts, or chocolate.

Honey Ricotta Filling:

  • 15 ounce whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer to stiff peaks and then set aside in the refrigerator.

Combine the ricotta cheese, honey, powdered sugar, and the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean.  Fold in the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Chocolate Mascarpone Filling:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for decoration

Beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.