Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cloud Atlas Pavlova

Cloud Atlas Pavlova
In my attempt to bake around the world this year, I had always intended to make pavlova for New Zealand. I have not yet read my book for New Zealand, but wanted to make something that looked somewhat cloudlike to celebrate the making of one of my favorite books into a film - Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

A pavlova is a large meringue, baked so that the outside is crisp but the inside remains slightly chewy.  It is traditionally served with whipped cream and fresh passion fruit.  You can't get fresh passion fruit where I live; it is too fragile and has too short of a shelf life for grocery stores to stock it (I should know, I asked several).  I wanted that tart/sweet flavor, so I stalked several ethnic markets to try to find a canned or frozen equivalent.  I relied on Alton Brown's recipe, and made a few tweaks as described below.

La Unica (Supermercado) had passion fruit nectar which is tasty but would need to be turned into a syrup to be usable in this dessert.  They also had frozen passion fruit pulp, without seeds, intended for smoothies.  I let some thaw out and stirred it into the freshly whipped cream.

My pavlova texture is a little more like sponge (kitchen or dish sponge, not lovely cake sponge) than I would have liked, but I'm 100% confident that is my fault for using Splenda instead of sugar.  Sugar really does have certain chemical properties that can't be easily replicated.  But I wanted people in my household to eat it.  If I were making this dessert for other people, I would just use the sugar.

But still - the passion fruit whipped cream, topped with strawberries and mango - amazing and delicious.  We ate it after seeing all three hours of Cloud Atlas in the theater, and I was struck by how this dessert represents many geographical areas, just as the book/movie take place in six different time periods.

I'll leave you with the preview for the film, in case you have been living under a rock. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lower Sugar Apple Crisp

Lower Carb Apple Crisp
This is another version of that original strawberry rhubarb crisp recipe I developed, using almond flour, spices and brown sugar splenda instead of the more traditional flour and sugar.  (I didn't add teh flax seed or chickpea flour this time, just used 3/4 cup of almond flour). These apples are Mutsu apples from Justus Orchards in Hendersonville, NC. 

This time around, I used walnuts and added extra spices to the apples.  If I made the apple version again, I would probably cook the apples a bit on the stove, because by the time the top had browned, the apples were still a bit too toothsome for my tastes.  I didn't want the topping to burn, so I took it out before the apples had fully cooked.  So if you were making it with apples, either pre-cook the apples or cover the entire thing with foil.

I topped this with the no sugar added butter pecan "frozen dessert" from So Delicious.  It is nicest once it starts to melt.  Autumn is the hardest season to go without traditional baked goods, and this was warm, spiced, and really hit the spot.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oatmeal-Molasses Pumpkin Cake

Oatmeal-Molasses Pumpkin Cake
Add this to the list of recipes I've discovered through Pinterest!

This cake is a lovely combination of pumpkin and molasses, with very little fat since pumpkin replaces most of it.  You can find the recipe over on

I whirred the oats in the food processor, but didn't do it finely enough.  As a result, this cake had chewy bits that I would have preferred not to have in there.  I referred to it as a "breakfast cake," as if that would somehow pardon it.  The flavor is superb though!

I didn't make the topping as indicated in the original recipe, and just made a simple glaze. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lower Carb Pumpkin Muffins

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
Pinterest has brought me many recipes to try in the past year, and I came across one recently for grain-free pumpkin muffins on the Balanced Bites blog.  I modified it and you will find my recipe below, but do check her blog out if you aren't as worried about cutting back on sugar.  I've also divided the recipe in half for my small household.

Lower Carb Pumpkin Muffins
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp butter, melted 
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar Splenda
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease half of a standard muffin tray or use six silicon muffin cups.
  • Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl together until well beaten: butter, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin.
  • Measure dry ingredients (coconut flour, Splenda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, allspice/nutmeg) into a bowl and slowly stir into the wet ingredients.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tins and bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Add chopped walnuts and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips to the mixture before baking or place some on top.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars
When I saw the recipe for salted caramel apple crumb bars over at Two Peas & Their Pod, I knew they were my destiny for fall.  I made this recipe as written, other than using Mutsu apples from Justus Orchard, and it was amazing and delicious.  I know that I resisted salted caramel for a long time, but I hereby instruct you NOT to leave out the salt.  It changes everything.  Without it, these are just super sweet.  With it, decadent and fallish.  I will make this recipe again!

P.S. I seem to have 1 1/2 cups salted caramel with it, and I'm entertaining ideas of what to do with it!  Without your help, I will start adding it to my coffee....