Recipe: Raw Pumpkin Pie and Cashew Cream

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Autumn food is always full of pumpkin. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin curries … and I love it! I’m sure the markets anticipate the demands for pumpkin-based treats and stock up on cinnamon and nutmeg. I know I’ve already run out of nutmeg … I love my fresh grated nutmeg. 20130327_151022

My daughter (one of the two masked creatures above) celebrated her Autumn Festival at school yesterday and all the families brought in seasonal food to share. Yes there was a lot of pumpkin there, and apples. Oh my goodness, my mouth was very happy! I brought in a raw pumpkin pie. I made one last year in the seasonal spirit at playgroup and couldn’t quite remember how I did it. So I suspect this year’s pumpkin pie is a completely new recipe – plus there was the added challenge of making it nut-free so that it could be shared in a school environment.

20130327_102930I’m pretty happy with it – but let it thaw a bit before you serve it. It is definitely yummier when you can taste the smooth pie mixture. Also, the pie was still a bit frozen when I put it out and the base stuck to the dish! Everyone just ended up scooping the raw pie off the top because the base had ended up moulding itself pretty well to the dish. Nothing wrong with a bit of scooping. I think at one point someone was just standing in front of it with a spoon. I take that as a compliment, but its a shame no one could taste the base, because that is yummy too. Coconut and pumpkin are good friends in the kitchen.

If I were to make a change to it I think I would add some coconut cream to the recipe to make it smoother and creamier. Only I didn’t have any at the time. Try it and let me know if that works. I think next time I would also add a layer of cashew cream on top before it was frozen. Or you could even layer the pumpkin and cashew cream a few times for a pretty stripey pie …IMG_3370

Raw Pumpkin Pie and Cashew Cream

INGREDIENTS

RAW COCONUT CRUST

200g raw coconut flakes (not shredded or desiccated)

1 cup dates

pinch of salt

1 tbs coconut oil

RAW PUMPKIN PIE FILLING

500 chopped pumpkin, skin and seeds removed

2 cm peeled raw ginger

1/4 cup ground chia seeds, soaked in water

3/4 cup coconut oil

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp grated nutmeg

swoosh of raw honey/maple syrup

 a little water/nut milk

METHOD

Blend the crust ingredients together until they begin to stick together. Press into a pie dish that has been lightly oiled with coconut oil. Press down well so the crust will be firm. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to set. Meanwhile make the filling.

Put chunks of pumpkin into the food processor and blend until finely ground, or as smooth as possible. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until the mixture is very smooth and thick. Add a little water or nut milk to thin it out and help it along in the blender – not too much!

Pour into the crust, decorate with pumpkin seeds, a little more grated nutmeg and set in the freezer.

Let the pie thaw half an hour before serving, and serve with a dollop of cashew cream.

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Recipe: Allergy-friendly Birthday Cupcakes

Sharing a birthday treat at kindy or school is becoming a bit of a tricky issue. Most schools and kindergartens have a nutrition policy and ask for no chocolate and sugary treats. Then there are the children with food sensitivities, allergies and other special diets who always miss out on special treats at birthday celebrations. Being one of those people myself I always feel sad to see those children resigned to the fact that they’ll be missing out on the fun food 😦

Here is a recipe that should meet almost all the needs of your child’s friends at a birthday celebration! It has no eggs, dairy, refined sugar, nuts or gluten. It isn’t grain-free but grain-free usually means using nuts instead and nuts are often excluded from schools as part of an allergy management policy. The frosting I have used is made of fruit, dates, maple syrup and coconut oil, so no naughty ingredients there either, although if nuts are not an issue then adding some soaked cashews to the blender will thicken the frosting up and make it creamier too. The only naughty bit was the silver cashous on top 🙂

These cupcakes turned out quite moist and fluffy inside – for gluten-free cooking (or more specifically MY gluten-free cooking!) that’s a plus because I find gluten-free baked goods are often quite dry. The flax seeds are mixed throughout but don’t change the texture of the cupcake at all.

ALLERGY-FRIENDLY BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup maple syurp

1/3 cup coconut oil

2 tbs ground flax seeds

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp apple cider vinegar (I used home-made fruit scrap vinegar)

2 cups your favourite gluten-free SR flour (I use one without any soy or dairy)

FRUIT FROSTING INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup dried dates, soaked in hot water 10 minutes

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup frozen fruit defrosted to room temperature (I used cherries to make a dark purple icing)

METHOD

Mix all the wet ingredients plus the flax seeds. Allow the flax seeds to soak for 10 minutes or so. The flax seeds are acting as a binder and are replacing the egg in the recipe. You may need to add a little extra liquid after this stage, depending on the thickness of your mixture after the flaxseeds have gelled up.

Add the flour and mix well.

Spoon level to the top in muffin tins greased lightly with coconut oil and cook for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 180C. They don’t go very brown on top/ When the skewer comes out clean they are cooked.  If the skewer still has mixture stuck to it, cook for another minute at a time until they are done. If overcooked they tend to dry out.

Allow to cool in the trays before turning out. This stops them from drying out.

While cupcakes are cooling, blend the frosting ingredients together and pipe on top of the completely cooled cupcakes. All ingredients should be at room temperature for the frosting otherwise the coconut oil will cool and clump instead of blending smooth. If it is a cool day and the coconut oil is solid to begin with, then cook all ingredients together for a little bit before you blend them. Decorate as you like then a bit of chilling in the fridge will set the icing. I’ve used dried rose petals and silver cashous.