25 oct. 2018

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Pie

Making special Halloween desserts for the blog is one of my favorite things, I enjoy the process a lot: from collecting ideas to prepare some spooky props and decorations. This year though I decided to make a classic sweet treat cause I realized there aren't enough pie recipes here on the blog...actually only two pies, well technically ONE pie recipe cause the other is a galette. Sorry, guys...I promise there will be more pies!!! :-p
So my dad brought two beautiful butternut squashes last week and immediately thought about making a classic pumpkin pie with a little twist: I combined them with roasted sweet potatoes cause they add such a delicious natural sweetness to the recipe and a creamier texture. I've always been a sucker for sweet potatoes and now that they are in season it's the perfect time to cook with them. Sweet potatoes fries with ketchup always cheer me up!
The crust is made with whole grain spelt flour to make this pie a lil' bit more wholesome (you know, trying to find some balance, lol), after all this is a dessert but one sweetened with pure maple syrup and coconut sugar. I always try to find healthier options than refined sugar, shortening, etc.
Tell me, what are you making this year to celebrate Halloween? Here in Barcelona we celebrate it in a different way, it's more like an autumn festivity and we eat marzipan treats, roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes; so looking forward to it!
Happy Halloween, babies!

PS: here are a few more Halloween ideas from previous years if you need some inspiration:
- Super black bundt cake.

"Into her eyes and quite surprised
I whispered, 'Don't you leave'
Sing macabre songs an' we'll dance til dawn
On all
Hallows Eve
Hallows Eve
Saint Lucifer, hear me prayin' to thee
On this eve of all saints
High be the price but then nothing is free
My soul, I'll gladly trade"

~All Hallow's Eve~
lyrics by Type O Negative

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Pie
(makes one 20 cm/8-inch pie)

- For the crust:
1 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour.
1 tablespoon coconut sugar.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1/3 cup organic ghee.
4 tablespoons ice cold water.

- For the pumpkin and sweet potato filling:
2 cups homemade pumpkin puree.
1 cup homemade sweet potato puree.
1/4 cup pure maple syrup.
1/4 cup coconut sugar.
1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk.
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil.
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt.
1 tsp ground cinnamon.
1/4 tsp ground ginger.
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg.
1/8 tsp ground cloves.
1/8 tsp ground allspice.
3 tbsp cornstarch.

- Topping:
Greek-style coconut yogurt.

- As you can see this is not a 100% vegan recipe becasue I used organic ghee (clarified butter) for the crust. As I mentioned in previous posts, it's hard to find good-quality vegan margarine with zero hidrogenated fats and I haven't had good results with the ones I've bought...plus shortening is a definitely a NO! So I decided to try out organic ghee which has many health benefits; however like any other fat, you should use it in moderation.
- To make the pumpkin puree: you will need approximately 1 medium butternut squash and one or two sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and bake at 180 ºC (356 ºF) until fork-tender.
- It is very important to sift the wholegrain spelt flour in order to get a smooth dough.
- About the decoration: for better results use a thick, greek-style coconut yogurt and you won't even have to whip any cream. The yogurt must be very cold so it can be pipeable.

- To make the crust:
In a large bowl sift in the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the ghee cut into small chunks and mix with a silicone spatula until it forms a crumbly dough.
Gradually add in the (very) cold water one tablespoon at a time while you knead the dough with your hands, until a soft ball forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.
Place a big piece of parchment paper on your working surface and roll out the dough until you get a circle just a little bit bigger than the diameter of your pie plate (mine was 20 cm/8-inch diameter). To get a more uniform circle roll the pin several times in all directions and rotate the dough.
Check the size by placing the pan upside down over the rolled dough.
Lightly grease the pie plate with oil and then quickly flip the dough onto it, peel off the parchment paper and gently press the dough into the plate and smooth out any wrinkles around the edges from the overlapping dough. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
- To make the pie filling:
Preheat the oven to 175 ºC (350 ºF).
Place all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until very smooth. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and smooth the surface with an angled spatula. Bake for around 1 hour, until the center is semi-firm to the touch but keep an eye on the crust halfway through to check if it browns quickly, because a lot of ovens have hot spots.
Remove the pie from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack until it's completely cold. Place in the refrigerator to set completely for at least 4 hours or even better overnight. The colder the pie is the easier it will be to slice.
To decorate, pipe the coconut yogurt using a pastry bag with a decorating tip (I used Wilton's 2D tip) all around the filling and (optional) serve each slice with an extra dollop of yogurt. Alternatively you can also use whipped coconut cream.

23 oct. 2018

Tahini Popcorn with Caramelized Peanuts

It's that time of the year to get all cozied up at home while it's rainy or cold outside, to binge-watch your favorite tv series and have some yummy snacks to nibble on. I can't wait for Vikings to return (november can't come soon enough!) but in the meantime I'm really enjoying some new spanish tv series. Last weekend was pretty windy and gloomy so I stayed at home, finished some recipes for a collaboration and treated myself to a session of sweet popcorn + Netflix. Rewarding yourself with those nice little things after a long day feels so good, wish I could do it more often though.
Now that I'm talking about tv series: what are your favorite ones? Apart from Game of Thrones and Stranger Things, lol. I've read really good reviews about Ozark and The end of the f*** world and I'm looking for series that aren't super world-famous if you know what I mean; sometimes it's cool to try different things.
Well, so back to popcorn: this recipe is super delicious yet not overly decadent (you won't find tons of caramel and such) to help you find some balance but still keep your snack game on point, hehe. The popcorn is coated with a sweet tahini mixture (you can use your favorite nut butter, of course) and added some homemade caramelized peanuts because they make such a killer combo! Roasted peanuts are seriously addictive but honey roasted peanuts...oh my!
So you know what your weekend plans will be: try my popcorn recipe, relax on the couch and enjoy being a homebody! ;-p
Btw, always look for organic popcorn kernels that are non-GMO!

Tahini Popcorn with Caramelized Peanuts
(yield: 2 large sharing bowls approximately)

- For the peanuts:
1 cup raw blanched peanuts.
1/3 cup organic honey.
1/3 cup water.
1/2 teaspoon organic ghee.
A generous pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
- For the popcorn:
3/4 cup organic non-GMO popcorn kernels.
1 tablespoon organic ghee.
4 tablespoons tahini.
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil.
2 tablespoons coconut sugar.
1 tablespoon coconut syrup.
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt.

- For the vegan option: use coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil instead of the ghee, and replace the honey with maple syrup.

Start by preparing the peanuts cause they have to cool before serving. Melt half a teaspoon of ghee in a medium frying pan and once is hot roast the peanuts until golden brown. Prepare a syrup by heating the honey and water together in a big pot or saucepan until it boils and starts to reduce, then add in the roasted peanuts and mix stirring constantly to avoid the peanuts from burning and/or sticking together. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, spread out and leave them to cool until they are crunchy.
Place a small/medium saucepan with water over medium heat and put another saucepan on top (double-boiler method) then put in the tahini, coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut syrup and a pinch of salt. Stir until it melts and a smooth sauce forms. Set aside.
To make the popcorn simply melt the ghee in a big frying pan or a big pot and then add in the corn kernels. Keep the lid on and shake the pan once the corn begins to pop, don't forget to shake frequently so the popcorn don't burn.
Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl and pour the tahini topping all over the popcorn, giving a good mix to make sure everything is well coated. Finally add in the caramelized peanuts and sprinkle with a little bit more salt if desired, serve and enjoy!

4 oct. 2018

Spiced Peach Chia Pudding

Chia pudding is my savior. Whenever I'm craving for dessert but my consience says "hell no!" I prepare a big batch of chia pudding overnight to enjoy at any moment during the next day...because sometimes a simple yogurt doesn't work to boost your mood.
There a hundreds and hundreds of chia pudding versions, as many as you can imagine/desire so you can never get tired of it, plus it'll make you feel good and satisfied. Obviously my favorite one is the chocolate chia pudding with some berry jam and nuts, but you can find many more here on the blog: raspberry chia pudding, mango chia pudding, and this protein-packed vanilla chia pudding with blueberry compote (so yummy).
I love to combine my puddings with natural coconut yogurt (it's so creamy!) and then add just the right amount of sweetness. Since cinnamon and peach work so well together I added a pinch to the chia base and a dash of ground cardamom too, fall is here and it's time for all things spicy and comforting. Now that I'm thinking Halloween is right around the corner and still haven't decided what I'm going to prepare, any ideas?! Got so many things to do this month: new collaborations, new recipes to develop, getting to know a bit more my new camera which means lots of practice...think I need a coffee!

Spiced Peach Chia Pudding
(serves 1)

1/2 cup unsweetened oat/any plant-based milk.
3 tablespoons chia seeds.
1 tablespoon agave syrup.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Tiny pinch of ground cardamom.
1/2 a peach, cut into small cubes.
- Toppings:
Natural coconut yogurt.
Bee pollen.
Cacao nibs.

- If you want your chia pudding to have a less thick consistency reduce the chia seeds to 2 tablespoons.
- I used agave syrup for this recipe because its light color will make the chia pudding look less dark in the photos but feel free to use your favorite sweetener, the best one is probably pure maple syrup.

In a small bowl stir together chia, milk, sweetener and spices, using a fork until all ingredients are completely combined. Taste and adjust sweetness if needed. Cover and let the chia soak up the liquid until it reaches a pudding-like consistency, around 15-20 minutes approximately. You might need to stir the mixture a bit more halfway through.
Chop the peach into small cubes and cover the base of your jar or bowl with these pieces, add the chia pudding and top with your favorite coconut yogurt (you can even use an electric mixer to whip the yogurt for extra fluffiness), some cacao nibs and bee pollen. Pro tip: if you don't follow a vegan diet drizzle with honey, it goes so well with peaches!