10 dic. 2018

Vegan Mince Pies

It's that time of the year again, Christmas! These mini mince pies I'm sharing with you today were tested a few times in november and finally I found some "free" time between all the gift and food shopping for the holidays (...and I'm not done yet). Wether you are a fan or not of Christmas I highly recommend you to try these little pies and your day will immediately improve, trust me, they are delicious! A juicy and super flavorful filling all wrapped up in a homemade coconut oil crust that is flaky and yummy, once you get the hang of pie crust-making you'll never buy pre-made crusts again. They are so much better and (most of the times) so much healthier, I know we are all running short on time these days but if you plan ahead this recipe is easier than it seems. Oh and by the way, these mince pies are completely vegan and you won't find any shortening or margarine in the ingredient list.
Picture yourself all cozied up on your couch, watching some christmas movie or your favorite tv show, and a plate with a couple of mince pies. Ain't this a perfect plan for a low-key afternoon at home befor the family gatherings and the craziness begins?! Add a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream or thick coconut yogurt for a more pleasant experience.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Vegan Mince Pies
(yield: 15 mini mince pies)

- For the crust:
1 1/4 cups spelt flour.
1 tablespoon coconut sugar.
1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut oil, semisolid.
3 tablespoons water.*
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

- For the mincemeat:
1/4 cup sultana raisins.
1/4 cup dried blueberries.
1/4 cup Deglet Noor dates, chopped into small pieces.
1/4 cup dried prunes, chopped into small pieces.
1/4 cup orange juice.
1/2 cup apple, shredded.
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Zest of one lemon.
1/4 cup blanched almonds.
1 tablespoon coconut sugar.
1 tablespoon brandy, optional.
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.
1/2 teaspoon ginger.
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
1/4 teaspoon cloves.

* See 'Notes' below.

- Add 2 more tablespoons of water to the dough if it looks a bit dry, slightly hard or not pliable enough.
- Chop the dates and prunes, then measure them.
- I recommend to prepare the pie dough the night before and let it rest in the fridge overnight. Let it thaw at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling out.

- For the crust:
In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, coconut sugar and salt, using a wire whisk until combined. Add the coconut oil by the tablespoonful, cutting it into the flour with your fingers until the mixture looks pebbly.
In a small bowl mix together 3 tablespoons of water with the apple cider vinegar. Gradually pour the water mixture into the flour mixture, working the dough with your hands until the dough holds together to form a soft ball. Knead the dough until it has a pliable consistency, you may need to add up to 2 more tablespoons of water if the dough seems a bit dry or hard.
Roll the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. If you are making the dough the day before, make sure you let it thaw at room temperature until it's soft and pliable again, around 10-15 minutes.
- For the mincemeat:
In a medium bowl stir together the raisins, blueberries, chopped dates, chopped prunes and orange juice. Let it rest while you prepare the rest of the components of the mincemeat, or alternatively you can make this mixture the day before and let it rest overnight.
Chop the almonds into small bits and mix with the shredded apple, lemon zest and lemon juice.
In a large mixing bowl stir together the dried fruit mixture with the apple mixture, mixing with a silicone spatula or a large wooden spoon. Add in the coconut sugar, spices and brandy (if using), and mix well until thoroughly incorporated.
- Assembling:
Preheat oven to 210 ºC (410 ºF) and lightly grease a mini-cupcake pan with coconut oil and set aside.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, the rolled dough should be around 0.5 cm thick. Cut around 15 circles using cookie cutters, they should be slightly bigger than the cavities of the cupcake tin. Carefully transfer each base into the mini-cupcake tin and shape each pastry circle to the shape of the cup.
Fill each cup with the mincemeat, cut out 15 more tops using a slightly smaller cutter than the one you used for the base or your favorite star-shaped cookie cutter. Cover with the top crusts and/or stars, and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 minutes approximately, then remove mini pies from the pan and serve straight away or let them cool completely if your are cooking in advance.
Decorate each mince pie with sifted coconut flour or coconut milk powder.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

16 nov. 2018

Coconut Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Every year in november I like to celebrate my blog's anniversary with a cake recipe, this year marks Cinnamon Girl's 7th blogiversary and, even though there's still over a month left to farewell 2018, I must say it's been one crazy-weird-busy year to me. I hope the new year brings some calm, inner peace and more time to myself because I really, really need it (will I ever learn to put myself first, at least once in a while?!).
Anyways, I should be proud that I'm still here (after seven years!) blogging and celebrating with this delicious cake. Because cake cures all problems, fix any shitty day and makes your tummy happy. Actually a slice of this coconut spelt cake with dark chocolate ganache would make my day a whole lot better, but a cup of warm porridge with sautéed apples will suffice. ;-p
The cake was inspired by a recipe from Fran Costigan, from her second cookbook if you wanna check out the original. I filled and frosted it with a classic vegan dark chocolate ganache, it's my go-to chocolaty frosting recipe and goes well with almost everything. I'm already thinking about an even more yummy version...maybe for Christmas or New Year's Eve. Damn, now that I'm thinking about xmas...it's right around the corner my fellow bakers! That means I should be already preparing some holiday recipes for the blog. *insert stressed/worried emoticon here*
Here's to many more years blogging! Thank you all so much for sticking with me all these years! 

Coconut Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
(yield: one 17 cm two-layer cake/ 7-inch two layer cake)

- For the cake:
1 cup wholegrain spelt flour, sifted.
1 cup spelt flour.
2 teaspoons baking powder.
2 teaspoons baking soda.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1/3 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil.
3/4 cup pure maple syrup.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk.
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut.
- For the ganache:
1 cup soy cream.
226 g/ 8oz dark chocolate, 70% cacao.
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup.
- Toppings:
Chopped pecan nuts.

- This cake is not super sweet, if you have a big sweet tooth you can add up to 1 cup of maple syrup and reduce the almond milk to 3/4 cup.
- It is really important to sift the wholegrain spelt flour to get a smooth batter. Of course you can use all white spelt flour, but I wanted to add some fiber to make this recipe more wholesome.
- For the ganache I recommend using a soy cream with a relatively high fat content, mine had a 18% fat percentage.

- To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 175 ºC (around 350 ºF). Lightly grease two 17 cm/7-inch round cake pans with oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, pure vanilla powder and salt. Stir with a wire whisk until combined.
In a separate medium bowl whisk the wet ingredients: oil, maple syrup, almond milk, and vinegar. Mix well until everything is fully incorporated.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with the whisk until a smooth batter forms. Finally stir in 1/3 cup of shredded coconut.
Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 30 minutes approximately, or until a fine wooden stick inserted into the center of one the cakes comes out clean.
Let the cakes rest in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully unmold, peel off the parchment paper and cool completely on the rack, top sides up.
Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, it is very important to cool the cake layers for an easier handling once you have to fill them, frost them, etc.
- To make the ganache:
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Heat the soy cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the cream begins to simmer, quickly remove from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Whisk the mixture very slowly until all the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache forms. Finally add in the maple syrup and stir until glossy. Let the ganache cool at room temperature for 10 minutes approximately and spread the layer with half of the frosting, place the second layer on top of the frosted cake and spread with remaining chocolate ganache frosting. Sprinkle with chopped pecans, or more shredded coconut.
Chill the cake in the refrigerator until the ganache is set, for 1 to 2 hours, before serving and slicing.
This cake is best served at room temperature, but always store the leftover cake refrigerated.

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.