Tis the season for festive desserts

fullsizeoutput_1f15

Happy December!

fullsizeoutput_1f0f

Time for the full-tilt holiday jungle madness to start. I do love this time of year though, even if it means that going to the store becomes an exercise in all kinds of patience. It’s so pretty though, with the cold weather, trees and lights everywhere, and the RAIN! We’ve been getting so much, and I just love it. Even the streetlights reflecting in the wet pavement look festive. Besides that, it’s the season for festive desserts and pretty baked goods! (not that I really need an excuse, but whatever)

fullsizeoutput_1f12

I just put up my tree! I am one of those “nothing Christmas-y before the first of December” people, but here we are – I happened to have time after seeing fave human yday to go grab a tiny tree, and it is currently brightening my living room.

fullsizeoutput_1efa

fullsizeoutput_1f0d

So! This tart!

fullsizeoutput_1ef6

It immediately became a huge fave of C’s and mine; it is tart, but just lightly sweet enough – we both love cornmeal anyway so that part is an easy sell. For the filling, thinly sliced apples are layered over chunky cranberry compote and then everything is submerged in a really simple coconut custard before baking. It sounds complicated, but I promise it isn’t! As with almost everything I make, it is great for dessert with ice cream, and equally great for breakfast.

fullsizeoutput_1efe

As per usual, C and I ate this as part of a very late brunch after hitting the gym for several hours – I was SO ready for all kinds of food at that point (and shaky! We’ve gotten back into climbing, and though my muscle memory is pretty good, my forearms and fingers are going through some serious reconditioning!)

fullsizeoutput_1f02

fullsizeoutput_1f1a

Happy holiday season! Do yourself a favor and whip up a quick cranberry tart: your tastebuds and your loved ones will thank you :)

fullsizeoutput_1f13

fullsizeoutput_1f06

Apple Cranberry Custard Tart on a Cornmeal Coconut Crust

Tart, lightly sweet, and perfect for the holiday season. Thinly sliced apples are layered on cranberry compote, and a simple coconut custard is poured over the whole thing before baking. Gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves somewhere around 6. A Wait are Those Cookies original.

fullsizeoutput_1f0a

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, 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. 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. Remove and let cool for a few minutes. Increase oven temp to 375.

For the filling:
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1 teaspoon tapioca starch
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 medium apples, peeled (optional), cored and thinly sliced*

* I used granny smith; pink lady or gala would be nice here too

Combine the cranberries, maple, lemon zest, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until cranberries pop and sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Let cool slightly.

Whisk together the eggs, tapioca starch, coconut milk, and 1 tsp vanilla.

Spread the cranberry compote over the bottom of the tart crust. Arrange the apple slices over the top, and pour custard over everything. Sprinkle with a bit of coconut sugar if desired, but totally optional.

Bake at 375 for 30 to 35 minutes until custard sets and apples brown. Let the tart cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the ring and cutting into it. Refrigerate if not serving immediately; keeps well in the fridge overnight.

fullsizeoutput_1f01

Pears and cranberries: the perfect pair

IMG_1884

So normally, I would tell you that this makes great dessert but you should save some and eat it for breakfast, blah blah…

fullsizeoutput_e20

But really, this time, I’m going to throw that out the window and tell you to just straight up make this for breakfast. You really won’t be sorry – it’s mostly fruit anyway! Hiding under a whole grain, gluten free cream biscuit – what more do you want for breakfast?! I concede that we added eggs, kale, cholula & coffee, and it was a stellar combination, but you do you of course.

This is one of those homely-but-delicious desserts that doesn’t win any awards in the looks department but is undeniably amazing and should be made and loved immediately!

fullsizeoutput_e3c

I really love this for an autumn-winter breakfast-dessert: the cranberries and pears are a perfect pairing; the cornmeal cream biscuits are hands-down one of my favorite things on this planet (I am not alone in this, either); and the whole thing is just so seasonal!

fullsizeoutput_e24

I leave the skins on the pears, both because I enjoy when my fruit desserts have more texture & body, but also because fiber is good for you! The cranberries soften but still retain their shape and eating them is quite fun, since they pop when you bite them!

fullsizeoutput_e27

fullsizeoutput_e3a

Let’s see. Besides eating this for a stellar breakfast, other things of note lately…

Beautiful skies!

fullsizeoutput_e2d

The worst opera we’ve both ever seen, but in the best company with some awesome seats so it was worth it… as an excellent learning experience and unforgettable evening ;)

fullsizeoutput_e30

fullsizeoutput_e31

Can anyone else believe December starts tomorrow?! I can’t. Where did the fall months go?? Not that I’m particularly sorry, I do love festive holiday time and all the baking that goes along with it.

fullsizeoutput_e28

I highly recommend you throw the rule book out the window and make this for breakfast. I am behind you 100% on the wisdom of this action. Happy eating!

fullsizeoutput_e2b

fullsizeoutput_e29

Pear and Cranberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Cream Biscuits and Ginger

Gluten free, whole grain and refined sugar free! The fruit makes an amazing complement to the cornmeal cream biscuits, which are personally one of my absolute favorite things. Easy to make, the most time consuming bit of this is chopping up the pears. But you don’t even have to peel them, so that bit is even easier! Very lightly sweetened, this is perfect for those who love seasonal, fruity desserts. Adapted from both of my earlier cream biscuit cobblers, here & here.

For the filling:

4-7 Bartlett & Anjou pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced into small bite-sized pieces*
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 c maple
2 tbsp port
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

*I used about 6; shrinkage will happen to a point so don’t be afraid to use a little more than you would think

For the cobbler:

3/4 cup fine cornmeal
1/2 cup oat flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour, slightly heaping
1 tablespoons maple (or coconut) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Crystalized ginger, chopped; for topping – optional but delicious

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a deep 9-inch square baking dish or deep 9-inch pie pan with butter (I prefer the deepness of the 9″ square – mine is a 2qt baker & it holds tons of fruit!). Cut up pears into large chunks and toss them into the buttered baking dish. Add cranberries and toss to combine. Whisk the maple, port, arrowroot, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon together, pour over the fruit, and toss to coat.

Combine cornmeal, oat flour, rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the cream and vanilla, stirring until just combined; the dough will be very wet. Scoop the dough into 8-ish blobs onto the fruit filling. Sprinkle with maple or coconut sugar if desired. Bake until the fruit bubbles and the juices thicken, and the topping is browned and cooked through, 45-55 minutes. Typically I test the biscuit done-ness by sticking a knife between two of them to see if the bottom is done – you’ll know if it isn’t, it will look raw. Stick it back in for about 10 minutes if you find that – mine is typically perfectly done at 55 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or more cream and chopped crystalized ginger; leftovers keep well, covered, in the fridge for a few days.

fullsizeoutput_e21