Panna cotta that is mint to be

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Happy holidays!

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I had a delightful holiday with both my fam and C’s. He and I took a 6ish mile hike yesterday with fam; the weather was just beautiful and it felt great to get outside.

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I’m keeping it short and sweet today – I made this panna cotta tart for xmas dinner with the fave human’s family; it got rave reviews from both kids and adults, which totally makes it a win in my book!

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It’s relatively simple to put together and keeps very well when made ahead – I made it 24 hours before serving, which was just perfect (the panna cotta needs to set up anyway, so that’s ideal).

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I’m currently navigating the last few work days of the year in this weird no-space between Christmas and New Years (grudgingly, mind you), while I wait for a few more days off and some relaxation time. I’m already plotting my NYE dessert, of course.

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I hope you’re happily relaxing with loved ones! I highly recommend to feed them panna cotta tart :)

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Mint and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Tart on a Chocolate Crust

Mint and chocolate: a match made in heaven. Only lightly sweet but a big crowd pleaser (this one got rave reviews from both kids and adults!). Infuse the cream the day before you plan to make the tart. Keeps well wrapped in the fridge overnight; I made it 24 hours before serving. Gluten and grain free; refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ tart; serves several! A Wait are those Cookies original.

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 chopped dark chocolate

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. 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.

Let cool for a few. Melt the dark chocolate and pour it into the bottom of the tart shell. Use a spoon or a brush to smooth it out. Let cool completely to set the chocolate.

Infused cream*:

1 c cream
1/4 loosely packed fresh mint leaves

Coarsely chop fresh mint with a very sharp knife, without crushing or bruising them. Stir them into cold cream, cover, and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.

Strain the cream, pressing on the solids to extract as much cream as possible. Discard the leaves. If you’re not using the cream immediately, cover and refrigerate it until needed.

*the infused cream makes just shy of a cup; you’ll be adding more cream for the rest of the panna cotta (see below) – use all of the infused cream + another 3/4 c for a total of 1.75 c

For the panna cotta:

1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.75 cup mint-infused heavy cream, divided*
1.5 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1.5 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup plain greek whole-milk yogurt
Pomegranate, coconut and mint for garnish

*See above note; I used 1 c infused cream + 3/4 non-infused cream

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the cream. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1.5 cups of cream into a small saucepan. Add maple, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat, whisk in peppermint extract and vanilla paste. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt until well blended. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours.

Store in the fridge – keeps well overnight for breakfast the next morning :)

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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 :)

Walking in a mint-ery wonderland

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Happy holidays!

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As much as certain elements of this time of year drive me bananas (having to throw elbows in the grocery store to retrieve the last piece of whatever, extra lines everywhere, no parking, where do all these extra people come from?!), I do undeniably love the run-up to the holidays.

Everything looks festive, even traffic light reflections in wet pavement. And of course I love the excuse to have a tiny conifer in my living room.

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Let’s not overlook holiday baking! Heaven forbid.

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Fun fact! This is actually a giant panna cotta tart. It didn’t really occur to me while I was making it – I was just thinking, la la la cream tart la la but then I got curious and did some googling. I had forgotten that cream stabilized with gelatin is technically panna cotta… so, there ya go! Panna cotta tart, if that’s even a thing.

This one is even grain and gluten free! I suppose you could make this with coconut milk to make it dairy free, but I haven’t tried that yet (next time!) – partially because I have a massive weakness for cream.

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Heavy cream reminds me of being a kid and pouring a bit over my cereal – my grandmother used to do this, and after my dad told me that, I always lurked around waiting for leftover cream to appear the fridge. As I recall, my favorite combination was a giant bowl of honey nut cheerios with about 3/4 milk and 1/4 cream.

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Now I’ve leveled up and adult-ed my cream: it gets baked into cream biscuits, set into a panna cotta tart, or poured into my coffee (omg heaven).

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I love this dessert though: it looks like a mini winter wonderland! Walking in a mint-er wonderland? Ha. And it’s delicious. It actually took a minute to grow on me, but then I couldn’t get enough. Minty, chocolatey & slightly tart from the yogurt-cream panna cotta, it’s a perfect holiday dessert when something light is called for. I couldn’t resist the pomegranate, both for flavor and texture, but also for color. They are always so pretty!

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Happy holidays! Share this with loved ones, since it’s so much better enjoyed in good company :)

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Mint Cream Tart on a Dark Chocolate Coconut Crust

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free! A perfect wintery dessert, especially since it even *looks* festive. You can even make the whole thing the night before, since gelatin-based things like to hang out in the fridge for awhile. Lightly minty, slightly tart from the yogurt, balanced nicely by dark chocolate. Who doesn’t love mint and chocolate?! This is really a giant panna cotta in a crust, if we want to get technical. Mint cream adapted from Martha Stewart, here; the rest is my brainchild. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves… two ;) Kidding! 2-8, realistically.

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
3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9″, deep pie plate with coconut oil. Alternatively, you could use a tart ring with a removable bottom – I needed to transport mine so opted for just keeping it in a less fussy dish.

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.

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 17 minutes.

For the filling:

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple sugar*
6 stems peppermint or spearmint, plus more for garnish
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 c dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (one envelope)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup whole milk greek yogurt, plain
pomegranate arils

*I use maple sugar here because it’s lighter in color than coconut or maple syrup, and I wanted to preserve the lightness of the cream filling. But any granulated sweetener would be fine, just keep in mind the filling color may darken.

Make the filling: Bring cream, sugar, mint, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In a double boiler or in the microwave, heat the 1/3c dark chocolate until completely melted. I am lazy and use the microwave method: 30 second intervals, and stir in between until everything is melty. If you’re using a double boiler, stir continuously until the chocolate is melted.

With a pastry brush (or a spoon, totally fine – this is what I used), coat the bottom the crust with an even layer of melted chocolate. Refrigerate (or leave on the counter in your freezing apartment) until chocolate sets, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl. Let stand until softened. Remove mint from cream mixture, and bring cream mixture to a simmer. Whisk in softened gelatin until it dissolves. Remove from heat, and stir in the yogurt. Pour filling into the prepared crust (if there’s leftover, pour it into a ramekin or two & save for later!) Carefully transfer to the refrigerator. Chill, uncovered, until set, at least 4 hours (or overnight). Garnish with mint stems, pomegranates, and sliced almonds if you’re feeling fancy. Slice and serve!

Chocolate dipped mint leaves are easy too: wash and pat dry nice-looking mint leaves, and dip in melted chocolate. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet, and freeze until needed.

Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for a day or two.

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I only have (pies!) for you

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Could someone explain to me what happened to October? I blinked, and then… here we are. ALSO it’s already less than two weeks till Thanksgiving?! Um…. wat.

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But regardless… I have PIE!

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And it’s PURPLE pie!

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Because really, how could something like this not make you happy? That color just makes me smile every time. As does the fact that it’s grain & gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan & paleo so errrybody can enjoy – because also, despite all the ‘free’ in its name, it is also delicious (NOT taste free. ha!)

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Maybe consider it if you’ve got friends or fam with some dietary stuff and they’re coming for Thanksgiving? I’m 100% sure they’d love you for it.

It’s been raining! I love love love the sound of rain – it so soothing, no matter what kind of day I’m having. Baking when it’s raining is one of my favorite things – I love that even though my apartment’s galley kitchen doesn’t have windows, I have a big window on the wall facing the entrance to the kitchen, which lets in light and rain sound. It’s perfect! Besides, my little one-butt kitchen is exactly the right size for my baking shenanigans.

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In other news, pretty coffee and some opera (shocking, I know…NOT).

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I’ve made this pie twice in three days – it’s that good! Full disclosure: the first time I made it, I took the first bite straight out of the pie dish: fork, meet pie. I NEVER do that, since I’m all about the presentation, but you know what? Sometimes it just has to happen.

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Happy Saturday! I’m loving the beautiful fall weather over here – the leaves are gorgeous, the air is crisp, and I had purple pie, eggs & kale for breakfast with the best company: life is wonderful! Happy baking!

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Purple Sweet Potato Pie on an Almond Coconut Crust

Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free, vegan, paleo. Crust is a Wait are Those Cookies original, filling is adapted from The Endless Meal, here! Yield: one 9″ pie, serves 2 or several! ha.

For the crust:

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

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, almond extract, 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. 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, but keep the oven on if you’re making the whole thing at once.

For the filling:

  • 2 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced into 1″ pieces (about 3 cups worth)
  • 3/4 c full fat coconut milk
  • heaping 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp tapioca starch*
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (~1tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

*full disclosure: I made this twice in three days & totally forgot the tapioca starch the second time. It’s actually not essential – the filling set up fine without it.

While the crust is baking, make the filling!

In a medium saucepan, boil the sweet potato slices until fork tender. Drain and let cool for a few minutes. Add them to a food processor (or high powered blender) and pulse a few times to puree. Add in coconut milk, maple, tapioca, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract, and pulse to combine. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt, and pulse until combined. The filling should be thick! Pour/spoon/spatula it into the prepared crust, smooth the top (or not, you do you!), and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes – the crust should be golden brown and the pie should be set, but with just the slightest bit of jiggle in the middle. Remove and let cool completely before serving (preferably with ice cream or whipped cream of choice, either dairy or non dairy). I prefer to make this earlier in the day and refrigerate until serving, to give the filling ample time to set up.

Top with crystalized ginger & extra coconut if desired!

Keep leftovers covered in the fridge – it will last for a few days, provided all of it doesn’t get eaten first!

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