Happy Easter! How do you spend your day? Do you have a big celebration with lots of food and Easter Egg Hunts?
Well, however you choose to celebrate, I hope you are enjoying your day.
When I was younger, I lived on a cul de sac and we used to have a big block party where we would have egg smashes.
Starting in January, my friend’s mom (who I called my second mom, as well as the other moms in the neighborhood) would start saving egg shells.
Anytime she would make something using eggs, she would carefully make a hole in the bottom of the egg shell to allow the yolk and egg to escape keeping the shell in tact. Right before Easter, we would fill them with confetti and those were the eggs that got hidden for the egg hunt. And whoever found the egg(s), you got to smash them over anyone you wanted to head. It was a lot of fun.
For my hubby and I it is usually just a quiet day spent together. I’m making us a really nice dinner of Lamb Chops, Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans. For dessert, I thought I would do something light but delicious (and by light I do not mean low calorie, just not dense) with these Pavlova Nests with Honey-Vanilla Cream with berries.
Pavlova Nests with Honey-Vanilla Cream and Berries
Yields: 8 pavlova nests
2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz.) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipped cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons local honey
Strawberries and Blueberries to top nest (optional)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and position oven rack in the center. Use a fine-mesh strainer to sift 2 tablespoons of the sugar and all of the cornstarch into a small bowl. Place egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on midium-high speed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. (You can also us a hand mixer and medium bowl. You may need to beat the mixture a little longer at each step to achieve the same results.) Add the vanilla and with the mixer running, slowly rain in the remaining sugar. Turn the speed to high and whip until the meringue is very stiff, 30-45 seconds. Sift the sugar cornstarch mixture over the meringue and gently fold in with a spatula until just blended.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. To create a more uniform meringue nest, gently spoon meringue into a 1/3 measuring cup, level the top, and use the spoon to help turn it out onto the baking sheet. If you would like a more rustic look: Take heaping spoonful of meringue and throw down on baking sheet similar to throwing mashed potatoes on a plate.
Continue in this manner, spacing them evenly. Use the back of the spoon to make a well in each meringue.
The finished meringues should be about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch tall.
Bake meringues for 50 to 55 minutes, until faintly gold and crispy on the outside. The interior will be soft and fluffy. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Place a tablespoon measure in hot boiling water for about 15 seconds. In the bowl of a stand mixer, filled with a whisk attachement, add the cream, vanilla, and pour the honey into the warmed measuring spoon and then directly into the cream, and repeat until all the honey is added to the cream. The hot measure will liquify the honey and enable it to easily incorporate into the cream. Turn the stand mixer on high and whip until soft peaks form.
To assemble pavlova nest:
Spoon Honey-Vanilla Cream into pavlova nest.
Top with strawberries and blueberries and enjoy.
Pots de Crème is a loose French dessert custard dating to the 17th century. The name means “pot of custard”. I love chocolate and orange so I thought I would make Chocolate Orange Pots de Creme.
3 1/2-ounce chocolate (I used vegan chocolate chips)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used Hemp milk)
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon orange extract
Pinch fine sea salt
Berries or whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Special equipment: 4 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, over low heat, add the cream and milk and heat until hot but not boiling. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth.
In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, orange zest and extract, and salt together until smooth. Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth.
Ladle the custard into 4 (4-ounce) ramekins. Arrange the ramekins in an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish. Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30 minutes until the custard is almost set and still slightly soft in the center (custard will set as it cools). Let the ramekins cool for 30 minutes in the baking dish. Remove the ramekins from the water and refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 1 day.
Garnish with homemade coconut whipped cream or fresh berries and serve.
Red Grape and Olive Oil Cake
Yields: 8 servings
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup yellow cornmeal
2⁄3 cup palm sugar
1⁄3 cup non-dairy milk (I used Hemp milk)
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups red seedless grapes, washed and dried (If they are very large, cut them in half)
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray 5″ x 10″ loaf pan with olive oil spray and set aside.
Put cornmeal in food processor and pulse to a fine grain. Don’t skip this step or you will have “grit” from the cornmeal every now and again in a bite.
In a medium bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use hand mixer on medium high speed for about 5 minutes until mixture is light in color and increased in volume.
With the mixer on low speed, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for 1 minute.
Stir in the milk, vanilla, and lemon zest on low speed.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture 1⁄2 cup at a time, until just incorporated. Stir in 1⁄2 of the grapes.* Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and put remaining grapes on the top of the partially baked cake. Return to oven for an additional 40 minutes until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Release the sides from the pan and let the cake cool completely before dusting with confectioners sugar.
*If you add all the grapes at once, they’ll sink to the bottom, so reserve half to put on top after it’s been in the oven for 10 minutes. They’ll sink slightly but still be visible.
I have a thing for edible flowers so when Melissa from ChinDeep posted her CanCan Tea Cakes over the summer, I was intrigued. I clicked on the recipe and it sounded wonderful. I immediately posted a question on her blog asking her if she had ever made it gluten free. She responded that she hadn’t. I wrote back to say that I would try it.
Her recipe called for a 29 oz. can. I mostly use 15 oz. cans so I started saving them. I had four saved up on Sunday when I was doing prep for our impending Hurricane Sandy. I would be another marathon cooking/baking day, but the media was calling for a bad storm and warned that we may not have power for days. I was making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Walnut Bread as well so I thought why not.
Gluten Free CanCan Tea Cakes
Adapted from ChinDeep’s recipe
For the cake:
3 15 oz. cans, washed and sprayed with coconut spray
2 cups gluten free flour (here’s a link to the brand I used, available on Amazon)
1 cup palm sugar
1 cup dried fruit (I used a combination of golden berries and tart cherries)
1 cup strong, cold black tea (brewed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 large egg
For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons cold water
1/4 to 1/2 Rosewater extract
For the cake:
Place the sugar, dried fruit, tea and spices in a saucepan. Slowly bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Add butter, flour, and egg. Beat until smooth and all ingredients are moist.
Pour batter into cans to two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes (or until a butter knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.)
Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes.
For the icing:
In a small bowl, add ingredients and mix well.
To assemble, remove cake from can and allow to cool completely.
Cut into layers.
Placing jam (I used Raspberry Lavender Jam) on top of the bottom layer (or two).
Add another layer and ice the top.
I’ve also just had just a single layer of the tea cake with both the raspberry jam and icing and a cuppa tea. Delicious!
Double Chocolate Pignoli Cookies
Makes 12-15 Cookies
2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/4 coconut oil
1 cup plain yogurt (Greek or goat’s milk)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine oats, flours, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil with the sugar until pale in color. Stir in the egg until well incorporated. Add the yogurt and vanilla. Mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients; mix just until incorporated.
Fold in the dried cherries and white chocolate chunks.
Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheets. Leave a 2-inch spaces between the cookies.
Place in the oven and bake 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies with a spatula to a cooling rack.
Dark Chocolate Chili Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce and Coconut Cream
Makes 6-9 pancakes
For raspberry sauce:
1 pound fresh or frozen raspberries (do not thaw if using frozen)
2 teaspoons turbinado or palm sugar, more to taste
For chocolate pancakes:
1 cup Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix plus 2 tbs. if needed to thicken batter (available on Amazon)
1 cup coconut milk (I’ve used both unsweetened original and vanilla flavor)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup cacao powder (here’s the link to the brand I use, available on Amazon)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon red chili flakes (if you want it a little less spicy, use 1/2 teaspoon instead)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces chopped dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content (I like Green & Blacks — they have a 70% and an 85%)
Coconut Cream, for serving (optional) (Check out my recipe here)
Maple syrup, for drizzling
For the raspberry sauce:
Add the raspberries and turbinado or palm sugar to a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes until raspberries have fallen apart and sauces has thickened. If you are in a hurry, you can simmer the berries for a few minutes until they are warmed through.
For the pancakes:
Mix all the ingredients, except the chopped dark chocolate in a bowl, making sure to stir out any lumps. Fold in chocolate last. Batter should not be too thin or too thick.
Preheat your medium-large non-stick skillet at medium heat. Oil the pan with Rice Bran oil*. Use 1/4 cup measure to put batter in pan.
Once you see little air bubbles forming, its probably time to flip. Cook until golden on both sides.
This is how I serve them: put desired amount of pancakes on your plate, top with raspberry sauce then top with a nice dollop of Coconut Cream. Last, drizzle with maple syrup. Sigh.
*I like using Rice Bran oil because it has a high smoke point which makes it perfect for stove top cooking.
Did you know you can make a decadent whipped cream by using a can of coconut milk? Not only is it simple to make, but it’s amazing. It tastes much better for you than the chemical laden commercial brands of whipped cream too.
1 Can of Coconut Milk (full fat…don’t use the light version…you’ll break my heart)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 packet of Stevia (or 2 teaspoons of regular cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar, or even a touch of maple syrup)
Place a can of full-fat can coconut milk in the refrigerator over night. It must be full-fat because you will be whipping the solid cream. This is a crucial step as the coconut cream needs to be chilled until it’s very firm. I once tried to make whipped coconut cream without chilling the can – big mistake! It was a watery mess and wouldn’t work so I made Strawberries and Cream Smoothies with it.
Just before you make your whipped cream, place a mixing bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes or so. This helps keep everything cold and will be especially helpful for those of you in very warm climates.
Remove the chilled can from fridge and FLIP it upside down. Why flip it upside down? The liquid coconut milk (the part that doesn’t harden) will now be at the top of the can!
Open the can. See the liquid at the top? You won’t be whipping this part. Pour the coconut liquid into another bowl. You should have just under 1 cup of liquid, but this yield will vary a bit by brand and even by can. Don’t throw it away – use it in smoothies.
As you can see below, you are left with only the hardened coconut cream! This is exactly what we want to use to make our coconut whipped cream.
Scoop the coconut cream into your chilled bowl. Use a hand mixer and whip the cream until fluffy.
Add in vanilla extract and Stevia and whip it again.
How to use:
You can use this whipped cream just like regular dairy whipped cream. It’s amazing on fruit, pancakes, French Toast, on top of smoothies or any dessert. Have fun making different kinds of flavors such as almond and orange blossom, rose…the options are really endless!
You can store leftovers in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Perfect Parfait Pick-Me-Up
1 cup Greek yogurt (I’m partial to Trader Joe’s Brand Vanilla or Honey flavors. I also like Plain Goat’s Milk Yogurt too)
1 teaspoon vanilla.
1/4 cup fruit (I love all fruits and have tried this with just about all of them, but today I used strawberries and raspberries. You just can’t go wrong with whatever you pick.)
1 tablespoon chia seeds (Here’s the brand I use, available on Amazon)
1 tablespoon gluten free granola (Here’s the brand I use, available on Amazon)
Put vanilla in yogurt and mix well. In your serving glass/bowl, start with a layer of fruit, add 1/3 of the yogurt, 1/2 of the chia seeds, more fruit, yogurt, the remaining 1/2 chia seeds, fruit, yogurt and top with granola. You can let it sit and allow the chia seeds and granola to expand and soften or eat it right away and get that ch-ch-ch-chia crunch.
6 gluten free cookies (I used Andean Dream Quinoa Cookies)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup local honey
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used vegan semisweet)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
raspberries for garnish (optional)
caramel sauce for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
Place the gluten free cookies and almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture forms fine crumbs, about 15 to 20 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until incorporated. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
In a small saucepan, whisk the cream and honey together over low heat until the honey has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to just below a boil. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir in almond and vanilla extracts. Pour the chocolate filling over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.
Cut into wedges and serve with raspberries and caramel sauce.
Raspberry Green Tea Smoothie
I’ve tried to cut down on my dairy consumption in recent years which is hard because I do like ice cream a lot. My hubby and I tried soy cream, but stopped eating that when I learned about the dangers of soy. I was quite happy when I discovered Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Dessert, especially the Green Tea flavor. This is what I use to make this yummy smoothie.
8 oz coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen)
1/2 cup Green Tea Coconut Milk “Ice Cream” (I use So Delicious brand)
I served this smoothie with Easy Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Granola Cookies for an afternoon snack.