Sunday, November 27, 2016

Maple Pumpkin Pie

1 ½ cups pureed pumpkin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
½ cup maple syrup
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon*
1 ¼ ginger*
¼ tsp nutmeg*
¼ tsp cloves*
(*or 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
½ teaspoon salt

1 nine inch, deep dish whole wheat pie crust

Blend all ingredients and pour into pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

This is an original recipe developed over time out of an undying love of pumpkin pie and a desire to reduce my sugar intake. Since whole wheat pie crusts are not easy to make, I always make at least two at a time and double the recipe for the filling. You can also buy very good whole wheat, spelt or gluten free pie crusts already made in the freezer section of your health food supermarket. When making from fresh pumpkin, cut into chunks and simmer until the skin is soft. This makes them easier to peel. Puree in food processor.
The secret to this pie is the pumpkin itself. The heirloom Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is one of the oldest varieties cultivated in America. Ever since I purchased one in the store and threw the seeds in my compost, they come up every year as volunteers and every year I return the seeds to my compost. And we can thank Ken Ettlinger, a local Long Island seed saver and natural science educator for establishing a regional seed bank in the late 1970's to conserve the genetic resources of Long Island including this variety.

Rich in color, very sweet and arguably the best choice for pumpkin pie I would like to quote D.D. Tooker from an 1855 issue of Michigan Farmer: "The sweet pumpkin or pie squash is the only true article in my opinion for making the most delicious of Yankee notions - pumpkin pie - and I am not alone in my opinions, for I have yet to see the individual who would not agree with me in this matter."

You can purchase seeds and start your own tradition at: Rare Seeds

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Awesome Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Celebrating our daughters is an honor and a blessing. So when my daughter turned 36 this year I offered to make a birthday cake for her celebration. I love to bake but she has become the baker in our family and a master gluten-free baker at that. Since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree she does credit me with introducing her to alternative flours as a result of my own love of healthy baking. She, however, has taken the art to a whole other level. Baking is in her DNA inherited both from me, and the Italian women on her father’s side.
So when I asked her what kind of a cake she wanted, she replied, “gluten-free, dairy-free*, low sugar, carrot cake with butter cream frosting and no pineapple!” Yum. Carrot cake is one of my favorites and she had given me a challenge. As I began looking in earnest through my shelves of cookbooks and at online recipes I was shocked at how hard it was to find a good, healthy, sheet cake recipe, sin the pineapple and too many cups of sugar. Luckily one of my older cookbooks, The Deaf Smith Country Cookbook: Natural Foods forFamily Kitchens, by Marjorie Winn Ford, originally published in 1973, had a basic recipe that I was able to adjust. This resulted in an awesome carrot cake recipe that will hopefully save you time searching for something better. The gluten-free mix of flours comes directly from my lovely daughter, who as I mentioned earlier, is a master gluten-free baker.
*eggs AOK
Yield: 1 sheet cake (9X13)
4 lg. organic carrots, grated fine (approx. 3 C.)
1 cup organic white rice flour
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons almond meal/flour
¼ cup combination of flax seed meal and coconut flour
½ tsp guar gum
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup cold-pressed sunflower oil
1 teaspoon fair trade cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fair trade vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder
¼ cup almond or coconut milk

Mix dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir well until evenly moistened. Pour into an oiled and floured 9 X 13 cake pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350º. Remove from oven and cool completely on rack before frosting.

Sin-full Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz. package of organic cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) organic butter, softened
Confectioners sugar to taste (approx. 1 cup)

Whip until smooth and creamy. Frost liberally!