Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An interesting challenge

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

This was an interesting challenge, my first following a gluten-free diet. I had decided to give up the challenges for now, especially since I'm pretty much only baking SCD these days. However, I took a second look at this challenge and realized it might work since it was already an almond-y dessert.

I used an SCD pie crust recipe and changed a few things from the original recipe. The recipe I used is below. It was surprisingly tasty, although probably not something I'd make again.

SCD pie crust, had to be pressed into the pan

I used raspberry jelly, so the dessert wasn't 100% SCD friendly (sugar in the jelly).

The frangipane, pretty tasty

Ready to go in the oven

Done, remember that SCD recipes brown easily. It wasn't burnt at all.
There wasn't a hugely distinct difference in taste and texture between the crust and the frangipane because of my modifications, but it was still good. The jelly really made this dessert though.

SCD pie crust

1 cup almond flour
1 egg
1 cap Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
enough sugar substitute or honey to sweeten crust
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together until they form a ball. The ball should have a little moisture to it, but not liquid. You can taste it to make sure there is some sweetness and hint of cinnamon and butter.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes


11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons almond flour

Cream butter and honey together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the vanilla extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the almond flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Assembling the tart
Preheat oven to 400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base (1/4 of a cup to 1 cup, depending on strength of flavor. I opted for an entire jar). Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

I served with vanilla ice cream and berries

Friday, June 26, 2009

Playing around...

I did a little messing around this week. The best one was an alteration of the pancake recipe. This is not SCD friendly. All I did was take 1 banana, 1 egg, and 1 scoop of vanilla protein (I use designer whey). Mash it all up and cook away! They cooked a little differently but held together well. They tasted just great, especially with a little jelly (Dan loved them with maple syrup). Trader Joe's has a killer organic superfruit jelly preserve, it is so tasty! These pancakes went down great after a track workout. I can't use my trusty enduroxx anymore, so I was looking for a good recovery snack. This fit the bill! yummmmm!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

SCD Avocado Muffins

These SCD muffins are a great treat with breakfast (or lunch, or dinner!). The avocado I used was not quite ripe, so the consistency was not quite right. Still tasty though!

Recipe from SCD*Recipe
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 pureed avocado
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup SCD yogurt (I just used Fage, I am not quite ready to attempt homemade yogurt yet!)
2 cup nut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare muffin pans.
2. Cream butter and honey.
3. Beat in the egg.
4. Blend in the avocado, yogurt and nuts.
5. Lastly, add the flour and mix gently but thoroughly until the ingredients are moistened and combined.
6. Place in pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

SCD Peanut Butter Cake

Dan's birthday was a few days ago. I am committed to baking SCD style, so I searched for something that Dan would like. I found this recipe for peanut butter cake.

I actually mis-read the instructions and added 1/2 tsp of almond flour instead of almond flavor. It didn't seem to make any difference- in fact I only just noticed my mistake as I am writing this!

After a few bites Dan proclaimed that he likes the SCD desserts better than any other desserts I've made. This is huge, people! Dan is usually skeptical of the "healthy" food I like. So to hear that he likes this stuff so much is a good sign!!

Here we go...

All natural peanut butter. Just peanuts and salt!

Mmmmm... honey and PB in the blender

Throw in some banana
Add the other ingredients and blend. My blender did not cooperate. This batter was just too thick. Next time I think I'll put the egg in first or consider using a food processor instead. I was so stressed by my almost-smoking blender that I forgot to take any more photos until it came out of the oven.
It was moist, chewy, full of flavor. Delicious!!

Especially delicious with vanilla ice cream. No, the ice cream was not SCD approved. But it was a birthday celebration after all, gotta have ice cream :)

Long story, short.... with pancakes at the end

A slow decline in energy left me frustrated and finally got me to seek medical help. A few blood tests later and I got an answer: Celiac Disease. Still waiting on a biopsy to confirm that diagnosis, but I have decided to start following a gluten-free lifestyle. Currently on my 4th week. It's hard, and can be frustrating. I spend a lot of time reading labels in the supermarket, and currently hate eating out at restaurants (unless they have one of those spiffy gluten-free menus, like Elephant Walk, yummy). After my first race on a gluten-free diet, I learned that even some "safe" carb laden items like potatoes didn't work well with my stomach. I was directed by a friend to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which eliminates all complex carbs. Luckily my friend knew of a fellow triathlete and SCD guru, Doug. He has been a great resource for me and is full of knowledge about this subject. I don't think that I will 100% follow this diet, but I really like the principle and will loosely follow the rules. I'll bake from the list of SCD approved recipes, which have proven to be delicious so far. They are so simple, fresh, and healthy. I'll start off with Doug's own pancake recipe, which is just so yummy I can't even describe it. Check it out below, especially the short list of very healthy ingredients. It's really impressive and they are probably the best pancakes I've ever made. I ate these while carb-loading the day before my last triathlon, and my stomach has never felt better going into a race.

Start by mashing 2 bananas with 2 eggs

Once it is relatively smooth, add baking soda, vanilla, salt, and nut flour(s). You can add more or less nut flour depending on how thick you want your pancakes. The less flour you use, the thinner the pancakes will be.
Cook small pancakes over medium heat. Take care when flipping!!

You can add chocolate chips if you want :)

They brown very easily, no worries!
WOW- yum!! So good!

In case you are wondering, you can buy almond flour at Trader Joe's, and can buy in bulk from online sites like Lucy's.
The recipe Doug gave me just called for almond flour, but I figured that the peanut butter powder I had in my cabinet would work really well with these banana pancakes so I went half almond flour half peanut butter powder. Also, the peanut butter powder (which is peanuts with the oil pressed out, very low-calorie considering it's peanuts) is stickier when combined with liquid and I figured it would hold the pancakes together well. It worked very well!

This makes about 10 silver dollar sized pancakes and is good for 2 people with a tiny bit of leftovers. Can easily be halved for one person.

2 bananas, ripe
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
approx. 1/2 cup almond flour (I use half peanut and half almond flour. Would be great with just almond though)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

Mash bananas. Mix in eggs. Stir in vanilla, salt, baking soda. Add nut flour. You might want more or less depending on how fluffy you want your pancakes. The thinner the batter, the thinner the pancakes. You can add whatever fillings you want- fruit, chocolate chips, nuts... whatever! I personally like chocolate chips but Dan loves them plain.

Cook silver-dollar size pancakes on LOW heat. They are not as cohesive as regular pancakes so be careful flipping. They also brown more than regular pancakes, but don't worry, they still taste amazing.