Let’s get crackin’

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Oh heavens, the holiday market shopping madness has already begun! I rather forgot this was the last weekend before Thanksgiving… Whole Foods is already at full-tilt insanity. It’s all good though, I don’t think I need to go back until after the holiday (ha. famous last words).

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It’s time for all things pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, and cranberry! I love the run of late autumn/holiday seasonal baking. I will say though, things can get a little one-note with all of the cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger combinations out there, which is why I especially love this pie. It’s light on the spice, but the cinnamon and ginger are present just enough to give it that seasonal vibe. Plus, it’s purple! Naturally! What’s not to love.

This thing obviously cracked like crazy (it cooled too fast in my apartment…might, *ahem* be a little cold in here?!) but I’m embracing its imperfections! It was delicious, and, like human beings, is unique and imperfect in its own way.

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Interestingly, it lightened up a lot in color after baking – see below photo! That was taken just over 24 hours after baking. The lighting is a bit different of course, but it was fun watching the color change.

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C and I both loved this one, a LOT. So much so that it might make another appearance this week for Thanksgiving! We’ll see. Regardless, we ate it for dessert and of course for breakfast, as we hibernated away from the bad air.

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I was traveling in SoCal for work last week and avoided some of it, but we’re still under a big blanket of smoke. The sunsets have been incredible, but that’s small comfort when outside is essentially verboten.

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My heart just breaks for those displaced by the terrible fires to the north of us and my beautiful state – we are on our 10th day of extremely unhealthy air quality and choking smoke in the Bay Area, and I can only imagine what it’s like closer to the fires. Sending all the good vibes to those who need them, though I know that isn’t nearly enough.

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Hold your loved ones, and bake them things – it is always the little kindnesses that are the most appreciated!

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Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecake Tart on a Chocolate Coconut Crust

Perfect for the holidays! Only lightly sweet – as always – and I love the purple sweet potatoes for their natural color. This comes together in a snap; you can always use regular sweet potato puree, or even pumpkin. This is kind of like a cheesecake, but uses yogurt instead of cream cheese for a lighter dessert. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves 6-8 realistically or two really hungry people for dessert & breakfast the next morning :) Filling is adapted from the Roasted Root, here!

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For the crust:

1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 c dark chocolate, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a tart pan with coconut oil (you can also use a pie pan; I like the tart pans with removable rings). Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup pureed purple sweet potato*
1 cup whole milk, plain yogurt (I use Straus European style – it’s pretty runny)
3 eggs
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons tapioca flour*
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

* I boil them; you could also roast & mash them – either way is fine!

Add all of the ingredients for the filling to a food processor or blender and blend just until combined. Pour into the prepared crust and bake at 350 for 25-30 min until the center is set. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until serving.

Keeps well overnight in the fridge; probably best eaten within two days of baking, but I really doubt ours will even last that long :)

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