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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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)
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c rice flour
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

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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Aggressively Green Things

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I know, I know – could this cake look any swampier? I promise it’s delicious though. This is why matcha does so well in a tart – the pure green shows through so much better!

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This gets a little muddied with the almond flour and whatnot and kind of looks like it belongs on Dagoba in the middle of Yoda’s table, but whatever – it’s delicious, I swear! Some desserts are just prettier than others…

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I went out on a baking limb with this one a bit, but knowing I was feeding it to an adventurous one who has very similar tastes to mine (and likewise thinks overly sweet things and sugar are the devil), I knew I could a) go really tart on the lemon curd and b) make a really assertively green cake.

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FYI on the lemon curd situation – after consideration, we decided that the cake is really awesome on its own, no lemon curd needed. Obvs though we both love lemon curd, so we like that too, but it slightly overpowers the cake if the ratio isn’t quite right. So…. you do you! Both ways are tasty and lemon and matcha are a nice pairing, so it’s up to you how much tartness you want with your cake.

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In other life things, there have been very pretty skies lately!

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Happy almost weekend, blog friends!

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Matcha Almond Cake with Lemon Curd and Maple Hazelnuts

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleoish. Lightly sweet, definitely matcha-y, and assertively green! A word to the wise on this – we decided that the cake was great on its own, so I’m including the lemon curd recipe for thoroughness, but feel free to serve without. The lemon is pretty strong so if you want a more matcha-forward dessert, skip it. Perfect for dessert with a bit of ice cream, or breakfast alongside eggs & veg. Adapted from the almond honey cake I made, here. Yield: 1 8″ skillet or 8″ cake, depending on what pan you use. Serves 2 with leftovers ;)

For the cake:

  • 1.5 c almond flour (not meal), firmly packed
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 tbsp culinary grade matcha powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/8 + 1/16 c melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease cast iron skillet or pan of choice with coconut oil. Toss a little almond flour in the bottom to finely coat. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and matcha. In a smaller bowl, whisk together beaten eggs, maple, melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake on the center rack of the oven for about 38-40 minutes. I checked mine at 30 and put it back in for 8; it was perfect at 39. The top should be golden brown and firm to the touch, and the center shouldn’t jiggle when lightly shaken. Remove from the oven and let cool before topping and serving.

Maple Lemon Curd:

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

I used a double boiler for this lemon curd, which literally 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 and store in a glass container in the fridge until ready for use.

Maple Glazed Hazelnuts:

  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Remove most of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them together; it doesn’t matter if there are skins left, but I try to get rid of the majority. 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.

Serve the cake with lemon curd, or not – your choice! Definitely with hazelnuts though, and quite possibly with ice cream. Store leftover cake in the fridge; covered with foil in the original pan is just fine. I’m here to attest that this cake is fabulous the next morning for breakfast!

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Pie in the sky(line)!

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I’ve discovered in the last year that I really love making fancy pies! That’s probably fairly obvious to anyone who reads this on a semi-regular basis — I’m still dreaming of one day starting a pie/dessert business – we shall see!

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This is a start at least – to benefit the Lamplighters at their annual Champagne Gala auction, I made pie! Excited to report that it went for $45 — not too shabby! Besides, it was such a joy to make and to help benefit a group I love — everyone is just winning all around :)

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This one is an ode to my beloved Bay Area – despite all its issues (traffic and ridiculous cost of living, to name a couple), there is nowhere I would rather live. Besides, since the Lamps are based in SF, it was a fitting auction contribution.

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The recipe is the same I’ve made before; namely the Death Star pie (here) – I find wild blueberries are optimal for decorative pies, since the small berries don’t create distortions in the top crust like chunkier things do (think blackberries, rhubarb, and apples). Plus, they look like night sky, AND they’re delicious – what’s not to like. This pie was refined sugar free and whole wheat.

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I’m excited for so many top crust ideas – since I draw my own templates, the options are endless! Watch this space for further pie shenanigans ;)

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Kitchen wisdom is sage advice

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Sending all the good vibes and healing thoughts to those caught in the terrible wildfires in the North Bay – I can’t even imagine the scale of destruction happening. I don’t even live in the thick of it, and I still can’t see the sky on account of smoke. My heart hurts for my state and for those in the middle of it all.

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These bars can bring a little sunshine to otherwise smoky, obscured days – the citrus is bright and fresh, and we all know I’m obsessed with herbs in dessert, so this is no exception. The sage in the crust is noticeable but not aggressive – just a hint of earthiness to play up the brightness of the meyer lemons (locally grown, of course!). Blueberries and almonds go with just about anything, so why not invite them to the party too?

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These do double duty as dessert and breakfast (that seems to be a theme around here, hmm) – makes some amount of sense, since my desserts are almost all whole-food and fruit focused.

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Besides, these have a hefty dose of eggs which basically makes them breakfast. See? Science!

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In other news, there are finally leaves on the ground, and of course I’m excited about a return to sweater, boot and scarf weather. I’m a little sad at the shortening days though, especially because I miss my good morning photography light! Sigh. It will be back!

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IMG_1496In the meantime, I’ll make bright, citrusy and quite probably herb-y desserts to bring some brightness to the shorter days. Happy Autumn!

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Meyer Lemon Blueberry Bars on an Almond Sage Crust

Lightly sweet, tangy, and perfect if you have a glut of meyer lemons (though regular lemons are fine too!). The sage adds such a nice earthy twist to the basic lemon bar – I love lemon with almond so these just hit all high points for me! Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, arguably paleo. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate or 1 8 by 8 square pan, serves 2-8 (ha – I recommend dessert and then for breakfast the next day). Adapted from my orange creamsicle bars, here!

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 + 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
1.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1.5 tbsp chopped sage

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 9″ round pie dish (must be deep) or an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in almond butter, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and almond extract and stir until combined and crumbly. Stir in chopped sage. Press the crust dough evenly into the prepared pan, and poke with a fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside when done.

For the filling:

4.5 eggs*
1/2 c pure maple syrup
zest of 3 meyer lemons, roughly chopped
1/4c + 1/8c fresh lemon juice
pinch of sea salt
4.5 tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
* to achieve half an egg: crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it; then either measure or eyeball half and use that. or just use a whole one as long as it’s small, I doubt it would affect the consistency of the bars all that much…

For the blueberry swirl:
1 c wild blueberries (preferably frozen, thawed)
1 tsp vanilla extract

While the crust is baking, make the filling! In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, coconut flour (sifted if lumpy) and vanilla until smooth. Pour the filling into the par-baked crust. For the blueberry swirl, blend blueberries with their juice (some is released during thawing) and vanilla either with an immersion blender or a food processor. The sauce won’t be especially thick, but that’s fine. Pour the sauce into a ziplock bag (or use a piping bag, but be warned that blueberry stains!), carefully snip a really small triangle off of one corner, and pipe 5-6 lines across the lemon filling. Some will sink in, but most will stay on top (and no, the lines do NOT have to be perfect!). Take a table knife and swirl the lines gently into the filling.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be mostly firm and the filling set, with just a small amount of wiggle (it’ll firm up as it cools). Let cool completely and eat immediately or chill in the fridge for later (I like them cold!) — serve with vanilla ice cream :) Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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Eat, drink, and be even MORE rosemary!

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Despite the name of this blog, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a cookie recipe on here – it’s high time I think.

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Additionally, I should note – the light was not playing nice with me the several times I photographed these little guys so apologies for the inconsistencies in the photos! (I am nitpicky about this kind of thing and therefore have to point it out… just in case you might have overlooked it. Ha!)

These are probably my most frequently made cookies – not even probably, they ARE my most frequently made cookies, so they really should be on here!

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They’re so easy to put together – the flour is really adaptable & I’ve never had a bad batch, even with many substitutions. This is my favorite version of the recipe though; as I said a few posts ago – you’ve been warned against the excess of rosemary & herby desserts upcoming!

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More rosemary! I just can’t get enough these days in a dessert setting. It is just so good – subtle and not overpowering, but just perfectly there to remind you that you’re eating something out of the ordinary. Besides, it pairs unbelievably well with dark chocolate and coconut.

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Let’s see, what else besides cookies lately?

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Another opera trip on a beautiful evening! Three times in one week, that has to be a record even for me.

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I’m behind on drawing, I need to get back on that boat but I’ve just been too busy or distracted with one thing or another (might have something to do with the large pile of new books I just acquired).

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So! Cookies. Make yourself some rosemary goodness – these come together in just about 10 minutes; the most time consuming thing is chopping the rosemary and even that doesn’t take long. Instant cookie gratification in about 20 minutes – not too shabby! Also, you’ll end up smelling like a heavenly combination of rosemary and chocolate, and I really can’t think of anything better.

Happy baking!

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Rosemary Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Why stick to standard chocolate chip cookies when you could have rosemary in them?? It’s not overwhelming, just there in the background livening up your cookie experience. Chewy, thick cookies – these are perfect hiking snacks (or anytime snacks, really). Refined sugar free, dairy free, vegan (depends on your chocolate). Probably very easily adaptable to gluten free – a blend or oat flour would work nicely here I think! Yield: somewhere between 16-20, depending on how outrageously large you make them ;) A Wait are Those Cookies original!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour (whole spelt works nicely here too)
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)*
  • 1/3 coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate, chopped (I use chunks and then chop them further so that I have a variety of chunk sizes & chocolate shavings)

*these are also great with an egg, if that’s your jam – I’ve made them both ways numerous times!

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. I usually shoot for 16 cookies and squash them all onto one baking sheet, because I can be lazy sometimes…

In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water to make the flax egg, and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, almond flour, oats, coconut, baking powder & soda, and salt. Chop the rosemary VERY finely and add it into the dry ingredients (large flecks of rosemary are slightly undesirable here). In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients, including flax egg, into dry and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chunks until fully combined. Drop by the large tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets – I roll mine so they’re vaguely ball-shaped and then smash them down with the heel of my hand so they flatten a bit.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, until the top is nearly firm when you touch it. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 5ish minutes, until cool enough to handle, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely (these aren’t super fragile, but just be aware when moving them to the cooling rack).

I like these cold out of the fridge, but they’re great at room temp too. You do you! Happy snacking :)

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Dessert straight out of Dagobah

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Green things!

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Because of course I would make myself something ridiculously green for a (belated) birthday dessert!

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Naturally it would also have a tiny Yoda in it, because that seems to have become the birthday dessert tradition around here (reference this cake!) and I am unashamedly nerdy – besides that, this dessert looks like it’s just come out of Dagobah, so it only seems fitting that Yoda would take up residence, right?

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I have to say, I LOVED this (there I go again blowing my own horn regarding my baking, oops sorry). I already love matcha lattes, but this was something else. Earthy, lightly chocolatey, and not one of those desserts that put you into a coma – it’s the perfect post-opera snack and breakfast alongside eggs. Besides, then you can drink your coffee and eat your tea!

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Besides all that, how fun to have something so GREEN for dessert? And then alongside other greens at breakfast (because tea is breakfast food, obvs) – I was having fun with all of the tones of green (art history nerdiness is making an appearance, clearly).

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I mean, this thing is really aggressively green. It is not for the faint of heart, but luckily myself and the one I fed it to loved it, and is obviously fine with green dessert.

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Among other things, I will have been to the opera three times by Saturday night – YAY!  Green dessert + opera is my kind of week!

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So! Like green tea? Do yourself a favor and make a matcha tart! You won’t be sorry, and you can impress your friends with the GREEN-NESS of it all!

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Matcha Custard Tart on Cacao Coconut Almond Crust

Lightly sweet and perfect for those who love their matcha lattes! This is somewhere between a custard and a mousse – the filling is light & earthy, and plays perfectly against the chocolate crust. Grain and gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, and paleoish (it’s sweetened with maple, so it depends on your def of paleo). Yield: 1 9″ tart. Serves: 2. Ha! Eat for dessert & breakfast, because tea = breakfast food.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/2 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

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 pie plate 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.

Increase the oven temp to 375. While the crust is baking, make the custard.

For the matcha coconut milk custard:

3 cups coconut milk
3 large eggs
1/3 c maple syrup
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons culinary-grade matcha powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Heat coconut milk in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until it just barely simmers, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, sugar, cornstarch, matcha powder, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl.

Whisk warm milk into egg mixture in slow, steady stream to temper the eggs. Return egg and milk mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until custard begins to thicken and forms a ridge on tip of spoon when bottom of pan is scraped and spoon is lifted, about 4-6 minutes. Remove crust from the oven and pour in the custard*. Bake until custard has set around edges but jiggles slightly in the center when shaken, 13-15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until serving.

Decorate with raspberries, strawberries & coconut (and a tiny Yoda) if you’re so inclined! Serve with ice cream for dessert or eat straight up for breakfast. Refrigerate any leftovers, covered.

*Note – I had slightly more custard than what would fit comfortably in my pie plate. You have options here – bake it in some smaller ramekins until set, or maybe add some tapioca pearls and make pudding? I didn’t do that but now I wish I had! If you do, let me know how it turns out…

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