The berries are here and just in time for all of the 4th of July-themed foods! Isn’t it just a beautiful site? I recently purchased my first flat of berries which left a giant strawberry shortcake-sized hole in my heart. I loved Hostess shortcake as a kid, but that food isn’t an option today. In 2 days we will be refined-sugar free for 3 months with 9 to go, so finding this cupcake recipe by Pretty in Primal was icing on the proverbial cake. The texture of the cake is spongy and moist, either right out of the oven or a few days later. I cut one in half, placed sliced strawberries on top and took a bite. Then I ran to give Jon his half so he could meet me in the kitchen to fight over the remaining cakes.
I count my blessings one survived.
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup coconut milk (one without additives; coconut and water only)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup granulated maple sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or omit maple sugar and use 1/2 cup coconut sugar)
- 1/2 cup fine almond meal (or blanched almond flour)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
- 1/4 tsp pink salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In one large bowl, mix all ingredients together with a handheld immersion blender, mixer or fork. Sifting your coconut flour will eliminate chunks of the dense flour-trust me.
- Line 10 cups in a muffin pan and fill 3/4 with batter.
- Bake for 28-30 minutes until golden brown (and you can hardly stand it).
- Cut them in half and serve with sliced farm-fresh strawberries if you can! If you’re not sugar-free then try a cool whip-like topping called Tru Whip which uses non-hydrogenated oils (trans fats).
One Paleo shortcake: 4 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 5 g protein, 9 g carbs, and 130 calories per muffin (using coconut sugar).
One Hostess shortcake: 0 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 1 g protein, 20 g carbs and 110 calories.
- 2 cups of cranberries
- 1 bunch of grapes
- 2-5 persimmons, chopped
- 1 pomegranate
- citrus; i.e. 5 clementines or 1 navel orange
- a little bit of orange zest (zest before you peel!)
- 1/2-1 bunch of fresh mint
- 2 T of minced onion
- Pulse the cranberries in the food processor a couple of times. Add the persimmons, sliced citrus and grapes (not too much, you want everything chopped).
- Add the onion, mint, and zest. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two or eat it right away.
It is so delicious and fresh, PLUS I got to eat a persimmon for the first time! It went perfectly with our chicken and is fantastic by itself. I love the cranberries and mint with the onion, it just harmonizes wonderfully.
I’m orange, look like a tomato, and am not scary! I’m a persimmon! At least, that’s what my thoughts were every time I saw one and didn’t buy it. And as for the pomegranate, I knew the inside was delicious, but I just never bought it. Nonetheless I think most people would consider them ‘weird foods’, so here they are demystified.
A runner-up in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth there are a few varieties of persimmons. I think the one above is a Fuyu non-astringent, and tastes like a chewy papaya. Very easy to cut, like a firm solid tomato without the seeds. Don’t worry about the types, just make sure to ask your friendly produce manager!
There have been studies showing; persimmons lower blood fats, which affect cholesterol levels, and showing the potent antioxidant properties. It contains potassium, manganese, magnesium and iron.
Of course it’s in 150 Healthiest Foods… because pomegranates are cool! One caution: it’ll stain your cutting board for a bit! It was really easy to cut and the seeds pop out easily but you will spend a few minutes harvesting them. Pomegranate juice has been shown to fight heart disease and cancer as well as slowing the aging process and promoting cardiovascular health. Go on-Get weird!
Last year I made a pumpkin pie that was a dietary-restriction dream come true; vegan, soy-free, lactose/casein free, gluten and sugar-free. I remade that recipe this Thanksgiving, but this time I simplified the recipe by providing my exact method below. (It made the recipe look long and scary, when it’s really not!)
Pumpkin Pie Filling – yields 1 9″ pie or 14-18 mini pies
- 2 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree (see below for fresh pumpkin prep)
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 4 tsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 T arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp agar agar powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ginger
- 1/8-1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 4 T honey
- 1 T coconut nectar (or more honey)
- Preheat oven to 400º F (375º for mini-pie crust).
- Combine prepared pumpkin puree with all ingredients and blend until smooth using a VitaMix or hand blender. You can store it in the fridge for a day or two before use.
- Pour filling into prepared crust. You may have a bit of leftover, so try not to overfill. If using a store-bought crust bake for 1 hour, if using the mini-pie crust recipe bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. For best results, chill in the fridge for 1 hour after it’s room temperature before serving.
The only way I was able to make the Easy Nut Crust work with the filling was to make mini pies in a cupcake pan. After 2 burned crusts, Jon and I were practically forced to eat all of the ‘failed’ pie filling, poor us! The mini pies are fantastic though! If you have a delicious soy/sugar/gluten/flax-free, vegan, bake-able pie crust recipe please share it with me!
Easy Nut Crust Recipe for Mini Pies
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 T honey
- 3 T coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Rub coconut oil in cupcake pan molds.
- In a bowl, mix almond meal and salt.
- Add to almond mixture, honey, coconut oil and vanilla.
- Mix well and gently press 1-2 T of dough into cupcake molds using fingers or spatula. An ice cream scoop works wonders for pressing the crust into the cupcake molds.
- Fill with pie filling, about 2 heaping spoonfuls, and bake at 375°F for 35-40 minutes, until center doesn’t jiggle.
- Use a knife to loosen the cooled mini pies, and use a spoon to get them out. Allow to cool completely before serving.
How to Prepare Fresh Pumpkin for Pumpkin Pie
- 1-2 Sugar pumpkins, 3-4 lbs each. Each pumpkin will yield 2.5-3 cups of puree. 1 pie, 1 pumpkin!
- Slice pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds and stringy dark orange bits. If you have trouble cutting the pumpkin in half, roast them for 15 minutes or so.
- Place pumpkin open face down in a baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup water into the baking dish and cover with foil.
- Bake at 375° F for 45-50 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
- Allow to cool completely and scoop flesh out of skin. Puree pumpkin mixture in a VitaMix or using a hand blender.
- **FANCY VERSION: Mix together 1 T coconut sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture onto the exposed pumpkin flesh and prepare as above. You’re basically pre-seasoning it and the smell is intoxicating!
I recommend giving the fresh pumpkin prep a try. It is really worth the extra effort!