Tag Archives: Good Fats

Gluten-free Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cake

SONY DSCThis recipe is amazing.  I had never made a cheese cake before let alone attempted a goat cheese and gluten-free one and to be honest I was pretty nervous as botching it would mean wasting A LOT of pricey ingredients, not to mention I made it for my first try the night before a dinner party but since I am here posting it obviously it was a success!   I have had no issue in the past making traditional dairy recipes with coconut milk so I was confidently hopeful it would work here too and it did.  I made this one another time with goat yogurt and milk and it turned out great too! If using coconut milk I suggest full fat thick coconut milk and even draining off the separated liquid, you can find thickened coconut cream at some health food store which would work beautifully but it’s not necessary.  The only other detail worth mentioning is whether you decide to use a “water bath” or not.  I’ve now made this recipe both ways, the water bath method worked and the cake was very moist but the bake time was unbelievably lengthy, I honestly lost track but it was well over an hour and a half in my oven.  The cake turned out without a water bath too but it did crack.  Maybe do some further research yourself and decide which way you want to go. For the crust I bought one box of gluten-free Graham Crackers and one box of Mary’s Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps from Whole foods and combined at about a 2/3rds Graham to 1/3 Ginger Snap but honestly you can’t go wrong anyway here, use both or one or the other, doesn’t really matter.  My guests consisted of a man I planned to impress, a very dear friend and fellow health foodie, her partner, a cheese loving, health foodie skeptic and their young daughter who said “seriously I don’t even usually  like cheese cake but this one, with the pumpkin I love!”.  All thoroughly enjoyed this cake and they even took the left overs home with them.  I served it with a dollop of a vegan whipped topping mixed with cinnamon.  Seriously Delicious.

A springform pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes
Large Sheet Tin Foil  (if doing a water bath *see below)
Second Large Baking Pan

Graham Cracker Pie Crust:
1.5          cups gluten-free Graham Cracker/Ginger Snap Crumbs, finely ground
1              tablespoon Coconut Sugar
5              tablespoons melted unsalted Butter or Coconut Oil, melted
Cake:
1.5          lbs or 24 ounces of un-ripened soft Goat Cheese, room temp
3/4         cup Coconut Sugar
1/4         Raw Cane Sugar
1              cup/can Pumpkin Puree (make your own or store-bought), room temp
1              cup full fat Coconut Milk, cold  (or 3/4 cup Greek Goat Yogurt and 1/4 cup Goat’s Milk, also cold)
5              large Eggs, room temp
1              teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1              teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4         teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/2         teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4         teaspoon ground Clove
1/8         teaspoon ground All Spice
1/8         teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/2         teaspoon Sea Salt

For the Crust

Oven 325 degrees. Wrap a 9-inch springform pan twice with aluminum foil (preferably heavy-duty). Take care to pull the foil all the way up the sides so that water cannot seep in from the water bath. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with coconut oil. Pulse the crackers (or crumbs) and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Dump the moistened crumbs into the prepared pan and, using a measuring cup or glass, press into an even layer. Bake until fragrant and set, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling

Bring about 2 litres of water to a simmer in a kettle (this will be used for the water bath). In a small, heavy saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputter, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until thick, bronzed and shiny. Scrape the mixture into a large food processor fitted with the metal blade and process for 1 minute.

With the motor running, add the cold coconut cream then the goat cheese (cut into chunks) and process for about 30 seconds, scraping the sides if necessary, or until smoothly incorporated.

Add the eggs and process for about 5 seconds or just until incorporated (do not over mix!).

Set the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the batter into the cooled crust, and then pour enough boiling water into the large roasting pan to come about halfway up side of the cake pan. Bake until the cake is just set, about 1-1 1/2 hours. If it jiggles, it’s not done.

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set on a wire rack. Use a paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil and set on a wire rack. Continue to cool at room temperature until barely warm, about 3-4 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

CHEESECAKE TIPS

1) A springform pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes.

2) Avoid over-beating the batter. Over-beating incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.

3) For even marbling and the best distribution of added ingredients, such as chocolate chips or nuts, do not over-soften or over-beat the cream cheese.

4) Avoid over-baking: Cheesecake baking times are not always exact, due to variations in ovens. The cheesecake will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven. The center of the cheesecake should be just slightly moist when it is ready to be removed.

5) Upon removal from the oven, loosen the cake from the edge of the pan by running the tip of a knife or narrow spatula between the top edge of the cake and the side of the pan. This allows the cake to pull away freely from the pan as it cools.

6) Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack away from drafts.

7) After a cheesecake has cooled completely, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly releasing the springform pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.

8) Baked cheesecakes freeze well. Cool them completely and wrap them securely in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap, but do not freeze cheesecakes with garnishes or toppings.

PREVENTING SURFACE CRACKS

The most common complaint is cracking that develops through the middle of the cheesecake during or after baking.

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath (instructions below) to keep the oven moisture high and the heat gentle.

Don’t overbake the cheesecake. When perfectly done, there will still be a two to three-inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake; the texture will smooth out as it cools.

Cheesecake will shrink as it cools. Generously greasing the sides of the baking pan before pouring in batter will allow the cake to pull away from the pan as it cools and shrinks instead of pulling apart from the middle.

Cheesecakes have a tendency to crack, but they don’t have to. This favorite American dessert can have a cracked surface for a number of reasons. One cause is air trapped inside the batter – a result of over-mixing. Once in the oven, the air bubble expands and wants to escape from the cake. As it finds its way out of the top of the cake, it creates a crack or crevice in the cake’s surface. Another cause of a cracked surface is a drastic temperature change.

How to avoid cracks then? Be sure to mix your cheesecake batter well, eliminating all possible lumps in the cream cheese BEFORE you add the eggs. It is the eggs that will hold air in the batter, so add them last, and mix as little as possible once they are in the mix.

Also, be sure to cook your cheesecake gently. Use a water bath – wrap the bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil and place it in a larger pan with water in it, just halfway up the outside of the springform pan. This will allow the cheesecake to cook more slowly and evenly.

Finally, cook your cheesecake slowly – at 325º F. After about 45 minutes, turn your oven off and leave the cheesecake inside the turned off oven for another hour. Cool at room temperature with a plate or cookie sheet inverted over the cheesecake to slow the cooling. Only then can you refrigerate the cake, which you will need to do for another 6 hours at least.

If after all this, you still have a crack, make a topping or a sauce for your cheesecake, and tell all your guests that you intentionally made a special crack in the top of the cake to hold more sauce!

ready-to-bake-in-water-bath” Water Bath ” For Baking Cheesecakes

A “water bath” is a method that will help keep your cheesecake from cracking while baking.

Instructions For Water Bath

First, take heavy aluminum foil, and wrap it around sides and bottom of your springform pan or cheesecake pan with removable bottom. This prevents leakage while baking your cheesecake.

Place your springform pan or cheesecake pan (filled with cheesecake batter and crust) into a larger deep baking pan* that it will fit into easily.

*Note: The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth.

Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle filled with very hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Bake cheesecake as directed. When cheesecake is done, remove springform pan or cheesecake pan (if using) from “water bath” in oven. Carefully remove larger pan with water in it from oven. It will be very hot. Discard water when it has cooled.

Remove aluminim foil from sides and bottom of pan after your cheescake has cooled completely in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to release sides of springform pan, or remove cheesecake from a cheesecake pan with removable bottom (if using) and cheescake has cooled in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight; this is the best time to remove aluminum foil.

Pumpkin Pie – Gluten-free/Dairy-free

2013-10-10 19.37.40

This Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie making had an extra element of enjoyment and pride for me as I was able to grow my own pumpkins!  The best variety for pie purees are the little Sugar or Cinderella pumpkins, I managed to yield just three little ones this crop which turned out to be just enough for the pies and cheesecake I made.    This is my gluten-free, dairy-free, healthier version of the traditional that is tried and tested many times over.  Side by side most people even chose my version over a store bought traditional.  Love it.

2013-10-09 16.16.00Roasted Pumpkin:
1              Sugar/ Cinderella Pumpkin
2              tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch     Sea Salt

Gluten-free Pie Shell

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
3/4         cup Coconut Sugar
2              teaspoons ground Cinnamon
1/4         teaspoon ground Allspice
1/4         teaspoon ground Cloves
1/4         teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4         teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/2         teaspoon Lemon Zest
1              teaspoon Sea Salt
1              tablespoon Tapioca Starch
1 1/2      cups Roasted Pumpkin Puree
1              teaspoon Vanilla extract
3              large Eggs, beaten
1              cup Coconut Milk

To Make Roasted Pumpkin:

Oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut the pumpkin into wedges; cut off the stem. Scoop out the seeds and pulp (save the seeds for toasting).

Rub the pumpkin wedges with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Bake on a cookie sheet on the center rack until tender, about an hour. A knife should easily pierce through the pumpkin wedge.

Scoop flesh from the skins and puree in a food processor.

To Make Pumpkin Pie:

Oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together spices, salt, zest and starch.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl then add to cool pumpkin puree with vanilla and coconut milk, then mix all together until well combined.

Pour filling into pie crust.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until filling is firm and set or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Note that the pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up (from the leavening of the eggs), and will deflate as it cools.

Gluten-free Plum Cake

20130830_124746Wow, pretty proud of this one, I very much enjoyed this cake.  I have a tree in my backyard that is loaded with tasty dark purple tart skinned but sweet fruit plums and I was trying to come up ideas on what to do with them all.  A dear friend of mine was visiting earlier this week and asked if he could have a bag to take to him Mom to make a plum cake, now, to be honest I have never tried or even heard of plum cake so naturally I was intrigued.  A few days later, I got to try his mom’s cake, and, it was good, really basic but…cringle…ingredients: oil, sugar, white flour and a few eggs… which in my head screams CHALLENGE!    Today a friend came over to have a cook day; we harvested the plums (also apples, recipes for those to follow) and made a bunch of fun stuff. 20130830_172730 I pretty much just wung it with the cake, I took Mom’s recipes into account and started swapping, we had so many plums we made two cakes right away, she took one home to bake and I baked mine a couple hours ago.  Nailed it.  Wouldn’t change a thing.  Love when that happens!  It’s super moist, fluffy, tarp and just the right amount of sweet.  I used coconut oil and only half a cup of raw cane sugar to health it up a bit too. Also, I made a gluten free flour blend for this one, usually I try to measure per recipe but since we were making two it just I’ve made sense for me.  It’s always good to have a good gluten free flour mix on hand anyway.  I didn’t use any of my previously posted blends simply because I was missing some ingredients, so, technically I wung it here too, ha. I’ve posted the blend below but you can obviously try a store bought blend if you prefer, just look at the ingredient list for something with a couple flours, a starch and xanthan gum.  Sometimes the blends already have baking powder in them and that would probably mess the recipe up.   Have fun and enjoy! x

Oven 350 degrees

8 inch glass baking pan, greased with coconut oil
2           cups Fresh Plums, chopped
Small bowl
1/2       cup organic Cane Sugar
1/2       cup Coconut Oil, melted
3            large Eggs
1/2       cup Coconut Milk, room temperature
2            teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract
Large Bowl
1 3/4    cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend*
1             teaspoon Baking powder
1/2        teaspoon Baking soda
1/2        teaspoon Sea Salt
10          fresh Plums for topping, cut in half (approx.)
1             tablespoon Coconut Sugar mixed with Cinnamon for Sprinkling 20130830_182314In your small bowl combine the sugar and melted coconut oil and mix.  Add eggs and hand beat until sugar is melted and slightly whipped. Add Coconut Milk and Vanilla and mix again.  Set Aside. Combine dry ingredients in the large bowl and stir.  Add wet to dry and mix well. Add chopped plums combine then pour into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Coconut Sugar and Cinnamon then completely cover the top of the cake with plum halves, open side down. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Let stand before serving. 20130830_202936

*Gluten Free Flour Blend

2              cups White Rice flour
2              cups Sweet Sorghum Flour
2              cups gluten free Oat Flour
1/2         cup Potato Starch
1/2         cup Arrowroot Flour
1              cup Tapioca Flour
4              teaspoons Xanthan Gum

Mix all the ingredients in either a glass container or large ziploc bag.  Sift together using a large wire whisk to really incorporate all of the flours.

Chia Buckwheat Seed Flat Bread

Hello!

Well I’ve just been too busy to create or post any recipes,  I moved from an apartment into a house with a huge yard and besides that being a ton of work in itself I planted a huge vegetable garden, very exciting and having my own organic fresh veg, fruit and herbs to work with is awesome. I am off today to my family cabin for most of August so I was up late last night blending my green smoothies for freezing and making breads and crackers.  The recipe below is one I created from gluten-free bread and cracker recipes, it’s kind of a cross between a cracker and a bread. Very filling and nutritious, loaded with protein, healthy fats and fibre.  I used my fresh herbs but you can use dried if that’s what you’ve got and feel free to experiment with different herbs or flavours.   You can top these gems with most anything, I love them plain or avocado spread on top. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Chia-flatbread-2Chia Buckwheat Seed Flat Bread

 

Oven 350 degrees
Coconut Oiled Baking Sheet
Food Processor

1        cup Gluten-free Oats
1/2  cup Raw Buckwheat Groats
1       cup Chia Seeds
1       cup Pumpkin Seeds
1       cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2  cup Hemp Seeds
2       teaspoon Coconut Sugar
2       teaspoons Oregano, chopped
1       teaspoon Thyme, chopped
1       teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2  teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2   teaspoon Onion Powder
2       cups Water

Grind your oats and buckwheat in a high powered blender or food processor until you get a flour.  Move to a large bowl, add remaining ingredients and  mix well.

Transfer to a coconut oil greased baking sheet and use a spatula to spread and flatten.  Sprinkle with some more sea salt and bake for approximately 25 minutes or till firm to the touch.

All to cool for a 5-10 minutes then cut and transfer to cooling rack.

Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze.

Aside

Here they are!!!  Very proud of these treats, I have made them several times trying to get this recipe right.  As my goal is to make healthier recipes, I used goats milk and butter instead of dairy, all organic ingredients, … Continue reading

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
Optional:
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.

Variations:

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

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
Blend.

Gluten-free Blueberry Chia Muffins

20130224_101748Put this little recipe together this morning when I woke craving a muffin, kinda random but I take it as a challenge, plus, I bought a container of Organic Blueberries this weekend that were super tasty and would be perfect addition to a muffin recipe.  I like the challenge of using what I’ve got kicking around to create new recipes and I also have some Almond pulp/grinds left over from making almond milk (a recipe I will also post) to use.  You can sub in fresh ground almonds if you like, in fact, the muffin will probably taste even better, fine grind though!  I used a frozen banana in this recipe but you could sub in sweet potato puree or apple sauce if you have that instead.  I’m going to make these next time with fresh cranberries and orange next time. Have fun, and enjoy!

Oven 350 degrees

12 pan muffin tin, greased
Large bowl:
1 1/2      cups Gluten-free Flours, I made a mix of brown rice, white rice and sorghum
1              cup Almond Pulp/Grinds
1              teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1              tablespoon Chia Seeds
2              teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2         teaspoon Sea Salt
Medium bowl:
1              Banana, from frozen or ½ cup Sweet Potato Puree or Apple Sauce
1              large Egg
1/2         cup Maple Syrup
1/2         cup Coconut Oil or other oil like Sunflower or if you must room temp. unsalted butter
1              tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Juice and Zest from half a Lemon
1/2         cup fresh Blueberries

Combine dry ingredients.  Mix wet ingredients.

Fold wet ingredients into dry. Scoop batter into muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.