When life hands you lemons… make curd, of course!

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Hello hello!

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My car died on a freeway on-ramp today, isn’t that special? So thankful nothing worse happened – no one rear ended me, and it didn’t happen on the bridge. Could have been so much worse! Whew.

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But before that happened, at least I had cake with brunch! Poppy seed cake with Meyer lemon curd, to be exact. So so delicious & so awesome for brunch and dessert.

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I believe this cake is actually old world Austrian in origin (actually – I had to look it up! It’s an Austrian-Northern Italian Alps hybrid beauty), but it happens to be naturally grain and gluten free. Interestingly, it also contains no added fats like butter or oil, but is leavened with whipped egg whites. I adapted it to be much less sweet and refined sugar free, making it pretty much paleo. It’s also dairy free, as is the lemon curd – which is appropriately tart, as per our joint penchant for tart things!

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We loved this cake both with ice cream for dessert and alongside eggs and kale for breakfast – it really shines both ways. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a super rich layer cake – it’s actually airy, light and refreshing. I made extra lemon curd for drizzle because our general motto is that you can never have too much curd! Ha.

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In other news, I’ve been doing a lot of ridgeline hiking to take my mind off some persistent and uncomfortable health issues. The views are awesome and it’s great to get outside (and outside my head). More on that later, maybe or maybe not – I try to keep this space light. It’s just not been my best month, and I and I’d rather not pretend everything is rosy when it isn’t.

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I can make cake though, and eat it with my favorite human. That makes life so much brighter, and I always find solace in baking and in the company of loved ones.

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Bake, eat, love; surround yourself with those who make you feel loved and safe, and feed them. To me, this is one life’s best gifts.

Happy weekend!

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Meyer Lemon Curd

Grain and gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, pretty much paleo. Lightly sweet and plenty tart, in the best way! Prepare to floss excessively – this is for those who love poppy seeds! Yield: 2 8” cake layers or one 10” cake. Serves 6-8 (or two, for two meals with leftovers ;) cake adapted from Food52, here; the lemon curd is one I’ve made a zillion times; you’ll find it elsewhere on the blog and it is my current reigning favorite.

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For the cake

  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • heaping 1/4 c maple sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch of salt
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled & grated
  • 7 oz almond flour (~2c but weighing is better!)
  • 7 oz poppy seeds
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder

Heat oven to 350. Grease 2 8” cake pans (or one 10” pan) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Zest the lemon and place the zest along with the maple sugar in a large bowl. Rub the sugar and the zest together until the sugar is damp and fragrant. Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the bowl with the sugar and zest, and the whites to another large bowl. Beat the yolks with the zest and sugar until light in color and creamy. Juice the lemon and stir juice through the grated apple, then add to the bowl of yolks/sugar/zest along with maple syrup, vanilla, salt, almond flour, poppy seeds, and baking powder. Stir to combine – the batter will be thick. Wash the beaters thoroughly, and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter, then pour it into the prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes (for 8” cakes; 40 minutes for a 10”), until the top is springy and golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Once cool, layer with lemon curd and store in the fridge until serving or serve immediately. Keeps well covered in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

For the Meyer lemon curd

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 c Meyer lemon juice
  • zest of 4 Meyer lemons
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3.5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

I use a double boiler for this lemon curd, which definitely is a game changer. Highly recommended! Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler until it’s at a high simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and maple syrup. Add in the coconut oil one tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, not adding the next tbsp until the first is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until the lemon curd thickens and will coat the back of a spoon (or your whisk leaves tracks) – usually around 5 to 8 minutes. It’s a noticeable change when it happens, so just watch the cooking magic! Remove from heat, strain to remove any solids (ie lemon zest) – I use a metal mesh strainer over my storage jar of choice – and store in a glass container in the fridge until ready for use. Keeps for a week in an airtight jar, and freezes well for later use.

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Galettes: perfect breakfast food

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Hello hello!

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I have galette for you today, which I must say makes excellent breakfast. You can also fly wedges around like they’re star destroyers, not like I did that or anything, ahem.

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This comes together really quickly – the caramel can be made up to a week in advance, and the dough does best if left to hang in the fridge overnight, so all that really needs to happen day-of is apple slicing & assembly.

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It also makes your kitchen smell amazing – I can attest (the benefits of living in a studio apartment: when you bake something, the entire apartment smells delicious).

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Let’s see, what else has been going on… I’ve made a lot of cookies lately, so perhaps I will eventually post that recipe here. More drawing, of course!

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This galette is perfect for a light dessert with ice cream – it’s naturally not overly sweet (who am I kidding; nothing I make ever is!), and the apples make a nice contrast to the spices in the caramel. Grain free, gluten free and refined sugar free, so everyone can get in on the fun! Mostly paleo too, and could even be more so with the use of ghee in the crust.

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Our professional opinion is that while it is undeniably delicious for dessert, it really shines for breakfast – it’s a perfect breakfast-pastry consistency and who doesn’t like wedges of this alongside coffee? Right. Exactly.

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My advice is to make and eat galette with those you love – it tastes better that way! And of course save some for breakfast ;)

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Apple Chai Caramel Galette

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, paleo. Probably could be lactose free no problem – just swap the butter in the crust for ghee or coconut oil. Lightly sweet, chai spiced caramel and tart apples – perfect for dessert with some ice cream or straight wedges for breakfast. Yield: 1 galette, serves 2-6 :)

For the caramel:
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1.5 tablespoons ghee (butter or coconut oil would also work)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Add the coconut milk, coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, and spices to a medium saucepan and whisk over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a full boil, then reduce the heat slightly to allow the mixture to continue to cook at a managed boil. Whisk frequently/constantly to avoid the coconut milk from separating or clumping up. Cook and whisk until caramel has thickened slightly and has reduced to one half – one third of its original volume, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt, ghee, and vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature – it will thicken a bit more as it cools (though mine is still on the runnier side of all things caramel – the longer it sits in the fridge, the thicker it gets).
Store in a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Caramel can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. I usually make it ahead and let it hang in the fridge for a few days, which lessens prep work day-of anyway.

For the galette dough:

1.5 c almond flour (not meal; you want the finer flour variety)
1/2 c tapioca flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
6 tbsp salted butter, chopped (or ghee)
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a food processor), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg and vanilla extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the filling:
3-4 baking apples (I used granny smith), sliced
2 tbsp chai caramel, from above
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp tapioca starch
2 tsp coconut sugar

For assembly:
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coconut sugar
extra caramel, for serving & drizzling!

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, toss apples with 2 tbsp chai caramel, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla, tapioca starch and coconut sugar. Set aside.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet.

Add sliced apples, in whatever pattern you like! Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle a little coconut sugar around the sides. Dot with butter. Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown — mine came out just fine at 37 minutes, so check accordingly. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully slide the whole galette onto a cooling rack to let it cool completely (it’s fine to leave it on the parchment paper on the cooling rack, I don’t find that it makes it soggy). Serve with extra caramel drizzle & your fave ice cream or whatever of choice! Keeps well covered in foil on the counter for a day or in the fridge overnight; mine didn’t last longer than about 2 days so I can vouch for it at least that long!

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Vegetables for dessert? Sure, why not.

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Happy 2018! I hope your new year got off to a good start – mine certainly did, absolutely no complaints over here!

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I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of using a squash other than pumpkin in a dessert.

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Don’t be deceived by the cute little dumpling squash hanging out in these pictures – what really went in here is kabocha, one of these guys:

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I like the kabocha here – if you’ve never encountered one, they’re a bit of a cross between pumpkin and butternut squash. I really like it for the earthiness it brings here, which plays nicely against the apples. Side note: after some thought, we gave it mixed reviews – it feels a little vegetabley to be dessert – I almost wonder if it would work as a side dish. That being said, if you like not too sweet things / vegetables, go for it!

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Besides, this is my absolute favorite crisp topping – it has a little extra protein from greek yogurt and almond flour, and is just so fun to eat. It stays crispy even after hanging out in the fridge overnight, which makes this excellent breakfast (see exhibit A).

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I also love it for dessert with ice cream (obviously) – the crisp ends up covered in melty ice cream, making it into slightly indulgent granola/muesli.

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In other news, I’ve been museuming and drawing again, which feels great. I let it lag a little too long I think!

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Of course coffee.

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Here’s hoping you’re enjoying the beginning of the new year! I have good feelings for this one. If you’re in the mood for a lightly sweet, perfectly healthy desserty-breakfast, I’ve got you covered! Happy baking :)

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Kabocha Squash and Apple Walnut Crisp

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and whole grain. Full of healthy fats AND fruits & veggies! Feel free to eat this as breakfast, I certainly did. Side note: we gave it mixed reviews – it feels a little vegetabley to be dessert – I almost wonder if it would work as a side dish. That being said, if you like not too sweet things / vegetables, go for it! Adapted from the Raz-Apple crisp I made around Thanksgiving, here. Yield: 1 2-quart baking dish (it’s about 8 by 8 and deep). Serves: 2 for dessert & then breakfast! Or… you know, a normal amount of people.

For the filling:

2-3 largish Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges*
1 small kabocha squash, peeled & cubed*
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 c port**
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

*I just approximate as I slice; I use however many it takes to fill my 2 quart, 8×8 baking dish; for ease of cutting kabocha squash, I recommend slicing it in half, then in wedges and using a knife to carefully peel it. The peel is totally edible, but I didn’t want its texture in the crisp. You’ll still get an arm workout peeling these babies, believe me!

**the port is optional but amazing; if you don’t use it, use 1/4c water instead

For the crisp:

1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
½ cup firmly packed almond flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp maple sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350.
In a veggie steamer (I use a metal steamer inside a pot), steam the kabocha squash for 10-15 minutes, until just barely fork tender.

Slice apples into a deep baking dish, and add steamed kabocha squash (my dish is 8×8, 2 qt capacity; 9″ square or 9″ deep pie dish would also be fine). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple and water/port until combined. Add the lemon juice, arrowroot, cinnamon and allspice, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the squash and apples and toss to combine. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the filling is baking, make the crisp. In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal, walnuts, shredded coconut, maple sugar and salt. Mix in the vanilla, melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly.

Once the filling has baked for 15 minutes, stir to redistribute it evenly in the dish. Plop spoonfuls of the crisp topping evenly over the filling – no need to pack it down. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden.

Let the crisp rest at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving; or do like I did and make it earlier in the day, and have it later. Serve with vanilla ice cream, obviously! Keep leftovers, covered, in the fridge for about three days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long; ours was gone in just over 1!) Serve cold alongside breakfast because it’s extra awesome that way.

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Breakfast disguised as dessert

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Ahh, the post-thanksgiving stupor….

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Just kidding! No such thing. First thing Friday morning was jazzercise, of course; I hate sitting still for too long. Thanksgiving itself was full of family and laughter & lots of croquet (ha!) – and of course, food. I was asked to bring the cornmeal apple & ginger cake that I made a few weeks ago; I made it with fresh ginger this time instead of crystallized, and I’m happy to report it’s amazing both ways.

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But for the days after Thanksgiving, a fruit-heavy, non-pie dessert was definitely required.

Perfect mornings look like this:

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Plus, I discovred a glut of late-season raspberries at the market a while back and pounced on them, knowing I’d want to pair them with apples strictly so I could go around saying RAZAPPLE! Ha.

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This crisp bakes up so well, you find yourselves eating bits of the crisp topping with your fingers.. not that we did that or anything…

It makes a stellar addition to breakfast alongside – what else? eggs and kale! – and I could argue that it’s even better the next day. We both liked that the apples retain their integrity – they don’t become a pile of mush, but they’re not crispy either – they’re somewhere in between & are absolutely delicious. This is one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately – simple, delicious, and seasonal. Happy baking!

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Raz-Apple Walnut Crisp

Gluten free & refined sugar free, with an easy dairy free/vegan option. Full of healthy fats and whole grains. Perfect for fall when there’s a glut of late summer berries at the market but apples are starting to be in season… for that matter, frozen raspberries work just fine too. Lightly sweet, tart and perfect for dessert and breakfast. Adapted from Cookie and Kate, here! Yield: 1 8×8 deep pan, serves 2 w/ leftovers for 1, haha…. kidding, only not really! Serves more like 6 normal humans.

  • For dairy free/vegan, sub coconut oil for the butter & non-dairy (coconut would be good!) yogurt for the dairy yogurt; bake as directed

For the filling:

5 largish (or 7 small) Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges*
2 c raspberries (frozen is fine)
scant ⅓ cup maple syrup
1/8 c port**
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

*I just approximate as I slice; I use however many it takes to fill my 2 quart, 8×8 baking dish

**the port is optional but amazing; if you don’t use it, use 1/8c water instead

For the crisp:

1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
½ cup firmly packed almond flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c maple sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350.
Slice apples into a deep baking dish, and add raspberries (my dish is 8×8, 2 qt capacity; 9″ square or 9″ deep pie dish would also be fine). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple and water/port until combined. Add the lemon juice, arrowroot, cinnamon and allspice, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the apples and toss to combine. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the filling is baking, make the crisp. In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal, walnuts, shredded coconut, maple sugar and salt. Mix in the vanilla, melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly.

Once the filling has baked for 20 minutes, stir it to redistribute evenly in the dish. Plop spoonfuls of the crisp topping evenly over the filling – no need to pack it down. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden.

Let the crisp rest at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving; or do like I did and make it earlier in the day, and have it later. Serve with vanilla ice cream, obviously! Keep leftovers, covered, in the fridge for about five days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long; ours was gone in 2 days!) Serve cold alongside breakfast because it’s extra awesome that way.

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Appropriately autumnal baking

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There is something so soothing about early morning baking. I don’t necessarily choose to bake at 6:30a, but when a workout and work have to happen before I can deliver & eat dessert, baking by necessity becomes an early morning activity. That being said, though, it’s a very meditative way to spend a morning, especially when it’s still dark outside.

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Of course, then of course there’s that moment when you go to put socks on and somehow find some crystallized ginger stuck to your foot… um… no comment.

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It also gives me a great sense of productivity to know I’ve created something before I even leave the house that day – and then add a workout and a highly productive work day and by 6p I feel extraordinary accomplished.

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And THEN I get to eat cake! Ha. Win win, all around. Besides, coming back into my apartment after work, I’m greeted with a waft of OMG THIS CAKE SMELLS AMAZING – always a good sign.

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This cake was well loved by both of us – it is definitely going on the to-make-again list – and I have high standards for that list! The cornmeal/polenta give it great texture – it’s a cross somewhere between cake and cornbread, in the best way possible. It’s amazing with ice cream for dessert, and equally so alongside eggs and kale for breakfast – see exhibit A below.

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Besides that, just in case you needed proof as to how loved this cake was, see exhibit B:

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No crumbs. One (large) slice left – that is after a stint of very productive yard work & leaf raking – that cake had NO chance.

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I can’t believe it’s already November. What happened to October?! Happy autumn!

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Apple Ginger Polenta Cake

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Lightly sweet, sort of like a cross between cake and cornbread – perfect for dessert (served with ice cream!) and breakfast alongside eggs and leafy green things. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves… um… 2! Ha.

1 c almond meal
2/3 c yellow corn meal (I used medium grind)
1/3 c rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
Heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1/6 c maple sugar
1/6 maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 Granny Smith apples
1/3 c crystallized ginger chunks, chopped*

*I have also made this with fresh ginger and it’s equally amazing; finely mince peeled, fresh ginger root and add to the batter. The quantity is up to you – I love ginger, so I used a knob probably about 1.5″ long

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper, or do like I did and use strips of parchment paper for easy removal. Be sure to grease the pan first though to prevent any stockage.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple sugar and maple syrup until soft and fluffy. Add in olive oil and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, rice flour, and baking powder. Stir dry into wet. Cut one and a half apples into cubes and thinly slice remaining half. Add the apple cubes and chopped ginger and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out a bit.

Arrange a few apple slices on top of the cake, sprinkle with a bit of maple (or coconut) sugar. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Check the cake after 35 minutes; mine was perfect at 40. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly during baking, you can always tent it with a sheet of tinfoil.

I stuck mine in the fridge for a few hours of storage, which didn’t hurt it at all. It keeps well on the counter overnight (covered with foil), and makes a ridiculously amazing addition to breakfast the next day!

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IMG_1632Early morning mis en place…

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Trifecta Complete: Terran Pie!

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I had to finish the trifecta, of course. Terran Pie!

Appropriately earthy, so I think the Terrans would approve. AND delicious, so I approve – I love rhubarb, and it pairs so well with apples.

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My pie crust game is going strong over here! It feels great to be able to make pie and not sweat the crust. Besides, it’s June now (how did that happen?!) which is summer and official pie season. Though I will say there will be a pie break over here for the time being, time to do new things!

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In other news… I saw the Mountain Play this weekend! So fun: a round-trip 8+ mile hike with ~1750 of elevation gain to get to the amphitheater –  I definitely earned my pie! (besides that, we did all the uphill on the hike in – 4.2 miles essentially all uphill in 1.5 hours. BEAST MODE. No big deal) The Mountain Play was awesome – great show, great weather, and lovely company!

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All things considered, a great weekend. And there was nerdy pie. Which makes it all the better.

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Sometimes… you just need to play with your food:

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Earthy, whole wheat crust filled with tart rhubarb and granny smith apples – the tart-pie lover’s dream. I haven’t had an apple pie in ages so this was a welcome change. The lemon shines through too, adding brightness that balances out the sweetness of the maple. Barely sweet, mostly tart – this pie is for those who love their fruit.

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Happy Monday!

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Rhubarb Apple Pie on Whole Wheat Crust

A Wait are Those Cookies original! Whole wheat and refined sugar free. Tart, for those who don’t shy away from a little tart in their desserts – the rhubarb and the apple play so nicely off each other, and the maple adds just enough sweetness without diminishing the flavor of the fruit. Yield: 1 deep 9″ pie. Serves: 2… I kid. Sort of.

For the pie crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • 5-6 tbsp ice water

For the filling:

  • 4 c chopped rhubarb*
  • 2 granny smith apples, chopped
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap or a ziploc and chill for at least 10 minutes or up to overnight. You can also chill the dough for about 5-6 hours or overnight in the ball, then roll it out and chill it, shaped, in the pie dish. I discovered that works quite well – make filling & bake straight from the fridge.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, granny smith apples, maple, lemon juice + zest, whole wheat flour, vanilla, and salt. Let sit for at least 10 minutes — easiest to do this while you roll out the pie dough.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in filling goodness and dot fruit filling with butter.

If you want to get fancy and get all Terran-pie Starcraft nerdy (you must construct additional pylons!)…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Terran crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I used a beaten egg). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, then use a chopstick or a knife to make the surface lines. Brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired. Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown (*note, apples & rhubarb might look a little dry on top, but the pie will be done and delicious, I promise!) Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier. Sometimes I actually prefer to make pie a day ahead, since it reheats in the oven beautifully and the filling sets up so nicely overnight.

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Wait… no citrus?!

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Hold the phone. NOT CITRUS?!

Surely you must be joking.

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Don’t worry, my love affair with all things citrus hasn’t ended, it’s just taking a week off so I can give apples some love. Apples haven’t really featured heavily in my desserts of late, so this is a nice change. Besides, apples, honey and almonds all pair so nicely together.

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This cake is a riff on the honey cake with blackberries & hazelnuts I made back in the fall, and this one once again reminds me of something you’d eat in the Shire – skillet and all, it’s very Tolkeinesque. Which of course appeals to my extraordinarily nerdy nature…

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Besides that, it’s light, delicious and comes together in a snap. I used a combination of apples since I love the tartness of Granny Smith but wanted a more complex flavor – Fujis are in here too.

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Excellent for dessert with some ice cream, and of course for breakfast alongside eggs & kale. Cake for breakfast? Sure, why not – it’s a great source of Vitamin E and healthy fats, plus it’s grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free so everyone wins.

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Besides cake, a few snaps of what’s been occupying my time lately:

More SF series, of course.

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No filter on this next one — I couldn’t believe how bright it was!

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Enjoy your cake! It tastes best in good company :)

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Apple Honey Cake with Blackberries and Maple Almonds

Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo depending on your definition. Light almond honey cake studded with apples and topped with blackberries (mo’ fruit!) and mapled almonds. Yield: 1 8″ skillet cake; serves 2-8. Recipe is a riff on the honey cake with hazelnuts & blackberries, here. Note: I’ve adapted this recipe over time to fit my 8″ cast iron skillet perfectly, hence the odd measurements. Feel free to make this in a 9″ cake pan or skillet, just keep in mind the bake time will be less & you’ll have a slightly shorter cake.

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For the cake:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c honey (I use raw usually) – runny and thick honey are both fine
  • 1/8 + 1/16 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2″ pieces (I used a mix of Fuji & Granny Smith)
  • 1 apple for topping, sliced into 1/4″ thick wedges + 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • Cinnamon for topping

Peel, core and chop 2 apples, and set aside. Lightly grease your skillet or pan of choice with coconut oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in eggs, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and stir until all ingredients are just incorporated. Stir in 2 chopped apples. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set aside momentarily. Cut up the last apple, slicing it into 1/4″ wedges and toss it with the tbsp of melted coconut oil. Fan these out across the top (this is totally optional of course), and sprinkle a little cinnamon on them. Bake for 60-65 minutes (if you left the apples off the very top of the cake, your bake time will be slightly less – check at 45), until the top of the cake is lightly browned, firm, and a tester in the center comes out clean. You can cover the cake with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking if the cake is browning too fast. Remove and let cool before topping & serving.

For the maple almonds

  • 1 c slivered almonds
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

For serving: top cake with blackberries and maple almonds! Slice and serve, especially good with vanilla ice cream. Store any leftovers covered, in the fridge for a few days.

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