Tag Archives: Dessert

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

pie-before-bakingHere is another classic pie I made this weekend (and often). I used my basic gluten free pie shell recipe and two shells. This pie is tart and not very sweet, you can add sugar if you prefer a little more sweetness. I just noticed I haven’t posted my blackberry pie recipe either! I make a few of these from fresh picked berries here in North Vancouver in late August or September, its probably my favourite =)

Oven to 425 degrees

1-2     Pie Shells of your choice
Large bowl
3          cups Rhubarb, thinly sliced
2          cups Strawberries roughly chopped
1/2     cup Honey or sweetener of choice
1/4     cup Tapioca Powder
1           tablespoon Lemon Juice
1          teaspoon Lemon Zest

Combine all in a large mixing bowl then add to your pie shell. Cover with more dough and cut a hole in the top or crisscross or, simply leave open. Loosely cover with tin foil and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes then, reduce heat to 350 degrees, remove foil and bake another 30 minutes or until less filling is bubbling and crust golden. When using a gluten free crust I always egg wash the top in the last few minutes of baking to get a golden top. Allow pie to cool for half an hour or more before serving so it sets. You can always reheat it on a low temp covered in foil.

pieEnjoy =)

Home Made Almond Milk

*Addendum :  You can make quick nut milks (no soaking required)  with just a Nut-Milk-Bag_1024x1024nut bag and a good blender.  Creamy nuts like Cashews and Macadamias make great milk for coffee, tea, granola or smoothies.  Don’t be afraid to experiment either, I like  Cashew Almond or Macadamia and Toasted Coconut,  simply toss 1/2 – a full cup of nuts with  equal parts water (less or DIY-Coconut-Milk-All-Sorts-of-Pretty6more depending on the thickness you desire), a pinch of sea salt, flavour if you like: vanilla or cinnamon and/or sweetener like honey or stevia and blend until smooth.  Sheeze through the nut milk bag and you’re done!


I’ve been meaning to post these simple instructions on how to make your own nut milk for years, if you Google almond milk recipes you’ll find pretty much the same instructions, its super easy and much healthier and tastes fresh. You can make any sort of nut milk you like, Hazelnut is awesome, Walnut for an another example, Pecan, Brazil Nut, Macadamia, Cashew, the list goes on, or, mix more than one nut together like Almond Hazelnut! Yum! Beware this is raw, natural food so it will only keep for 3-4 days (as real food should). I used to make my nut milks with layered cheese cloth, its super cheap, you can buy it at a hardware store but eventually I bucked up and bought a re-usable nut bag, and honestly it’s well worth it. Look for future posts on using the left over nut pulp!

Makes 32 oz.
High powdered blender
Nut bag or Layers of Cheese Cloth
Pitcher or large bowl
2     cups Raw Almonds
4     cups Fresh, Spring or Filtered Water
Pinch of Sea Salt
1    teaspoon Vanilla
Healthy Sweetener of your choice: stevia, coconut sugar, honey, maple or add dates to the soaking nuts and blend too.

Soak the almond in the filtered water over night or for 8-12 hours. Rinsing and replacing the water at least once is a good idea.

Drain and rinse your soaked almonds then blend with 4 cups of fresh water and sea salt on high for 2 minutes. If using a regular blender (not heavy duty, like a VitaMix) you may need to do two batches, blending 1/2 at a time.

Strain the milk from the pulp using your nut milk bag by squeezing as much of the milk out as possible. Add vanilla and sweeten to taste if you desire.

Reserve and store the pulp in the freezer to make other delicious recipes like crackers, cookies or bread.


Chocolate Milk
32 oz    Almond Milk
1             tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4       cup Honey or Dark Agave
1            teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Chai Milk

32 oz     Almond Milk
1/4        cup Honey, Maple Syrup or Dark Agave
1             teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1             teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2       teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4       teaspoon Nutmeg

Kyla’s Healthy Holiday Baking 2012

IMG_9345Each year I like to made a little treat box or container of my baking for friends and family. This year I only added two new recipes and altered or played with a few goodies from last year.  As I mentioned before I recently discovered coconut sugar and have been experimenting with it with great results.

Coconut sugar, derived from the flowers of the coconut tree, is an organic, sustainable natural sweetener that shows promising results for people who suffer from chronic illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, gallstones, cancer, heart disease, obesity or simply want to reduce sugar intake. This sugar has a low glycemic index (approximately 35) and is also a nutrient powerhouse, filled with lots of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut sugar is minimally processed, unbleached and contains no preservatives.  Sounds good to me!

IMG_9316So the recipes I altered are the Almond Butter Cookies ,  Gluten Free Short Bread and Raw Vegan Rum Balls, all worked great subbing in the Coconut Sugar.  For the short bread this year I rolled the dough out and cut small but thick rounds and with half pressed a dried cranberry on top and the other half a sprinkle of coconut sugar.  These were a definite hit!

The other two recipes I put together are below.  Also look for my two other Holiday experiments: Coconut Milk Bailey’s Irish Cream and Home-Made Healthy Clamato Juice.  Click here for Holiday Baking 2011.


Dark Chocolate, Cranberry, Pistachio and Tangerine Zest

Baking sheet, flipped over and covered with tin foil or parchment paper
1               pound Dark Chocolate, chopped
1/8          cup Raw Cacao Pieces
2/3         cup Raw or Shelled Roasted Pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3         cup Juice Sweetened Cranberries, coarsely chopped dried
1              large firm Tangerine, zested with a citrus zester (can use an orange here too)
Coarse ground sea salt

In a double boiler melt chocolate over simmering water, stirring frequently – this is standard chocolate melting procedure, I fortunately have a “warming zone” on my glass top oven and can slowly melt chocolate in a pyrex bowl.  There are few methods to melt chocolate, I suggest Googling it. Just be careful not to burn your chocolate, melting it on the stop in a pot will likely burn it!

Once your chocolate is melted, pour onto tin foil or parchment paper -lined pan and spread with a rubber spatula until it is about ¼ inch thick.

Sprinkle with zest first, then with pistachios and cherries and finished with cracked sea salt.

Allow toppings to settle a bit before transferring to your refrigerate to harden hardened.  Once hardened, break into pieces and serve.  Can be stored in the fridge or freezer.

IMG_9319Flour-less Pistachios Sugar Cookies

Oven 325 degrees
Two parchment paper lined baking sheets
Food processor
2              cups Raw or Roasted Pistachios
1              cup Coconut Sugar
2              large Egg Whites
1              teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2              drops Green Food Coloring   *Optional
¼            cup coarse chopped Pistachios and/or Dried Juice Sweetened Cranberries

Grind pistachios in your food processor until a paste. Add coconut sugar and grind some more.  Add remaining ingredients and process until you have a thick and sticky batter.

For a small, bite sized cookie use a teaspoon and drop onto your prepared cookies sheet.

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little sugar and chopped pistachios or a cranberry and gently press.  I like to do half and half.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden on the edges.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack before eating or storing.



Coconut Milk Bailey Irish Cream

Coconut Milk Bailey Irish Cream

Homemade-BaileysI love Bailey’s during the holidays and I always indulge a glass on ice in the evening or a generous splash in a coffee Christmas morning but boy do I pay for it, the combination of cream, sugar and alcohol really make my stomach hurt.  So, this year I made my own!  I made it a few different ways to suit different restrictions and see what works,  personally I am ok with goat’s milk and like that it lends a bit of that dairy like flavour but you can also make this recipe totally vegan using just coconut milk or half coconut milk, half unsweetened almond milk.   If you Google homemade bailey’s recipes they are all  pretty much the same although some have egg and some don’t,  I tried my recipe with and without and although I think I like it better with the eggs, it works nicely without (just not quite and thick) so, suit yourself!  Most at home recipes call for almond extract, I took this out because I found the coconut and almond together yield a less Bailey’s like taste.  I will also include a recipe to make your own chocolate sauce, it’s easy and much healthier then store-bought.

Coconut Milk Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 – 1 ½  cups Irish Whiskey
1 ½        cups Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk *recipe below
1              cup Goats Milk or Almond Milk (if you want full vegan sub in one cup of light coconut milk here)
3              Eggs (can omit)
2              tablespoons Chocolate Syrup *recipe below
2              teaspoons Instant Espresso (or brew your own double shot)
1              teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Couple pinches of sea salt

In a blender or food processor, mix eggs until frothy.  Add all other ingredients except Whiskey and blend for a few minutes or until thick and frothy. Add Whiskey to taste and pulse a few times to mix well.  Store in the fridge for up to a month!

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

2              cans Full Fat Coconut Milk
½            cup Coconut Sugar
1              teaspoon Vanilla
Pinch of sea salt

First you need to make your own Condensed Coconut Milk and Chocolate Syrup.  2 cans of coconut milk into a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer on low for approximately 10 minutes;  you want to see it reduce by about 1/3 here.  Then, add ½ a cup of coconut sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract  and a pinch of sea salt then continue simmering until total volume is reduced by almost half.  You want it thick!  Strain and set aside to cool.

Chocolate Sauce

½           cup Dark Cocoa Powder
1             cup Water
1 1/2     cup Coconut Sugar
½           teaspoon Vanilla
Pinch of sea salt

Combine cocoa and water in a small pot and bring to a boil, add sugar, vanilla and sea salt then simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Done!  I pour mine into a jar and store it in the fridge for all kinds of uses.  If you want a thicker sauce simply continue to simmer on medium/low to desired reduction.

Gingered Rhubarb and Pear Crisp with Hazelnuts

Crisps are one of my favourite go to desserts, I use gluten-free oats and switch up the brown sugar for agave or honey, dial down the sweetness to quite a bit and use organic goats butter, thus making it much healthier and yet still very satisfying.  I even love it for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt on top. Delish.   Feel free to play with the ingredients, if you like it sweeter, use organic brown sugar or agave is quite sweet (just watchful for burning). Ginger and rhubarb are an amazing combination, for dessert and the hazelnuts are a nice different touch, I serve this one with a vegan whipped topping or vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy and share!

Oven 350 degrees
Glass baking dish, square or round, medium, greased

2-3           cups fresh or frozen Rhubarb, chopped
3-5           Pears, cored and chopped
1                teaspoon fresh Ginger, grated
¼ to ½  cup Agave, Honey or brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your dessert)
2                tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

For crisp topping:
1               cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats
½            cup Gluten-Free Flour like Sorghum, Oat or Sweet Rice
½            cup Hazelnut Meal (chop hazelnuts in a processor or blender)
½            cup Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave or Brown Sugar
2               teaspoons Ground Ginger
¼             cup cold Butter, chopped
½             teaspoon Sea Salt

Combine rhubarb, pears, ginger, honey and butter in your greased pan and set aside.

Combine oats, hazelnut meal, flour, and ground ginger in bowl and stir well. Mix in maple syrup, then add butter and rub with your hands to form a rough crumbly mixture. Spoon over rhubarb pear mixture then bake for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve while still warm with ice cream or a vanilla whipped topping.

Raspberry-Nectarine Pie

Two 9-inch pie crusts
Large bowl
Medium bowl
Non-stick sauce pan
8             cups Nectarines, pitted and sliced (approximately 5 – 6 large)
1              tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2         cup Sucanat Sugar
½            teaspoon Sea Salt
1              tablespoon fresh grated Lemon Zest
2              tablespoon Arrowroot or Corn Starch
2              cups fresh or frozen (thawed) Raspberries

Place the sliced nectarines and raspberries in a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice and sprinkle on sugar and salt then toss them gently to mix evenly. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes to one 1 hour.

Transfer the nectarine mixture and juices to a colander suspended over medium bowl to capture the liquid.

In a small non-stick saucepan, over medium-high heat, reduce the captured liquid by half until a syrupy and lightly caramelized sauce and set aside to cool.

Transfer the nectarines to a bowl and add lemon zest and starch and mix well.  Add the cooled sauce and toss once more.

Pour the nectarine raspberry mixture onto your pie shell and then cover with a second shell, crimping the edges well and make slits in the top.

Bake at 375 degrees on the lowest level shelf on top of a baking stone or baking sheet for approximately 45 minutes or until the juices bubble through the slits.

Cool pie completely before serving.

Fresh Peach Pie

My boyfriend’s parents spent the day with us today and then had dinner at our place. The last time we visited them at their home on Vancouver Island, James’ Dad asked if I could make a good peach pie. I laughed (because his wife is a baking master) and said “sure”; to be honest, I had never made a peach pie. So, I did what I usually do when I want to create a new recipe: research then put one together based on what I like or bits and pieces of what I find others doing or reviewing about. I have a natural sense for flavour combinations and spices and decided that I loved the thought of cardamom and fresh peaches. Plus, the local peaches right now are to die for!

The crust below is a basic, good-for-all wheat flour crust, personally I prefer and usually make, gluten-free crusts but every once in a while it’s ok do go traditional. If you must have gluten-free, I have a recipe for a crust I will post later. In a pinch I love to use Mountain Top Bakery’s Gluten-Free Pie Crusts, they are located literally 3 blocks up the street from our place but can be purchased at Whole Foods.

As always I use the best ingredients I can, only the freshest peaches, organic flours, unsalted goats butter, earth balance shortening, raw sugar, sea salt and fresh spices.

You will need:
Oven at 400 degrees
2 large bowls
9 inch glass pie pan
Large baking sheet
Parchment paper
Rolling pin

2 1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon fine Sugar
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chilled Vegetable Shortening, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
5-6 tablespoons of cold Water

5 pounds medium Peaches, peeled, pitted, sliced (approximately 9 peaches)
3/4 cup Turbinado Sugar
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Tapioca Starch
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg

Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Add butter and shortening, using hands, rub in until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add in vinegar.

Using fork, mix in enough water to form a moist clump.

Form two equal dough balls; Flatten each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic. Chill for 45 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated. Soften to almost room temperature before rolling out.)

Roll out first disk to approximately 13-inch round and transfer to the glass pie plate.

Here is a great read on how-to pie crusts, pretty much all you need to know and it explains how to roll out. http://whatscookingamerica.net/piecrsthint.htm

Cut peaches into a colander so that any extra juice drips off then toss them into a large bowl with, sugar, flour, tapioca and spices; mix well.

Transfer peaches to crust.

Roll out second dough disk and then gently lay on top of peaches.

Pinch edges together and crimp.

Cut 6 slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Place pie in the oven on the middle rack. You may have some bubble over, it’s a good idea to place a large baking sheet on the shelf below, just in case.

Bake pie for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes, cover with tin foil just after you notice the crust begin to brown (approximately the 50 minute mark).

Cool pie 3-4 hours.

Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream