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September 2014

Roasted Pear Sauce Cake, grain-free

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    So I posted last week about my Roasted Pear Sauce , which I have to say is brilliant (and I am not bragging, I took some to my mom and she LOVED it)! It is amazing all on it's own. With potato pancakes, homemade yogurt or shortbread cookies but I wanted ot create a recipe using the pear sauce. I mentioned on FB (as I often post what I am cooking for dinner) I had made this amazing cake using the pear sauce. Everyone wanted the recipe, so here we are. It is grain-free (because that is what I can only eat but you can use the pear sauce with any apple sauce cake recipe) and easy but please read all my notes below the recipe. Not that I am trying to make the recipe harder but I think if you understand a recipe, what you are trying to create, you will have a better produce in the end. Plus if someone cannot explain to me what and how their recipe is all about, I am weary of their recipe. Enjoy!!

 

Pearcake

Roasted Pear Sauce Cake, grain and dairy free

Makes 8’ round cake

Please read all my notes before making the cake.

 

2 ½ cup almond flour
2 TBL. psyllium husk powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
⅟ᴣ cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 cup roasted pear sauce

Pre-heat oven 300◦F

Grease a round cake pan (or a loaf pan). Start by melting your coconut oil and then set aside. In a large bowl shift all dry ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together wet ingredients and then add them to dry. Stir the wet and dry together. Scrap batter into pan. Bake 40-50 minutes (see notes on how to tell when the cake is cooked). Let cool in pan and then enjoy! The cake is good and moist for at least 3 days.

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Notes:

1. Now about how to tell when the cake is cooked? I will be honest, it is hard to tell. This is a veryyy moist cake. Plus almond flour cakes have no gluten and do not bake up firm like a regular cakes. This is what I look for when baking; the center to feel like the edges. The cake will rise a bit but it is still soft. Not totally mushy like when it is first baking. Since the edges cook first, I look for the center to be similar to the edge. Also let the cake completely cool in the pan. It will fall apart if not.

2. You will see there are no spices or vanilla in the recipe. That is because my pear sauce already has so much flavor and I want to highlight that. If you are using a sauce with no spices, you would want to add them to the batter.

3. The amount of sugar is somewhat reflective of the sweetness of your sauce. If it is very sweet you could cut down the amount of sugar to a ⅟ᴣ cup and if it is not sweet at all you could add a bit more. It is really about what you like and how sweet the pear sauce is. I use coconut sugar but brown sugar would be really good in this.

4. The cake can be made with apples sauce too. I try to look for fruit that is ripe and smells good BUT still a bit firm.

5. If I have ripe pears on-hand I cut them into bite size squares. Set them in the pan and pour/spread the batter over them.

6. If you cannot get your hands on psyllium husk powder, you can use coconut flour too. I do not like it as well but in a pinch it will work.

7. I also make these in muffin tins. They will make about 12 muffins and bake more like 30 minutes.


Roasted Pear Sauce

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   I have decided to go back and rewrite some of my old recipes (Hopefully in these past 8 years I have learned to write recipes better.). Roasted pear sauce is a recipe I make every year so it is a perfect choice since this is my favorite and simplest way to make pear sauce (or apple for that matter). Please check out the notes below before making. There is also a recipe for Caramel Pear Sauce using the leftover juice. It is wonderful on pancakes, ice cream or fresh fruit!!

PS I have a rockin grain-free cake highlighting this sauce that I will be posting next week. Make sure to come check it out!

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Roasted Pear Sauce

enough pears to fill a large baking pan w/ a lid (I used about a dozen) I like anjou

2 cinnamon sticks

2 vanilla beans, cut in half

4 whole anise

2 large slices of candied ginger or fresh ginger, cut into wide strips

½ cup sugar (I use coconut sugar), see notes

1 cup water

 

Pre-heat oven 250°F

Do not peel or core the pears. I cut pears into 1/4, leaving seeds, skin and all. I only remove the stem. Fill pan two thirds of the way and tuck whole spices in/around the pears. Then top with more pears. As many that will fin in your baking pan. Sprinkle sugar on top and then water. Cover with a heavy lid or foil. Roast one hour. Pull the pan put of the oven.Let the pears sit, covered for one hour.

Strain pears into a large bowl. Set the juice aside for caramel pear sauce. Remove all the whole spices except the candied ginger ad one vanilla bean for the caramel sauce. The ginger gets soft and mushy like the pears, so it can be run through the food mill. Process the pears through a food mill. I fill glass canning jars with a 2" header at the top (so when the sauce expands while it freezes, you have room and the jar will not break). Store jars in freezer. Since the sauce has almost no sugar, I am not sure if it would can well.

 

Caramel Pear Sauce

usally makes about 1/2 cup

 

juice from the pear sauce

vanilla bean from the pear sauce, cut open and scrap out the inside, add that to the pear juice. Discard the pod.

1-2 TBL butter

Set juice in a heavy sauce pan. Boil juice over high heat until it reduces by two thirds. Keep an eye on it. The sauce should be thicker and look for it to start smelling caramelly. Pull off heat and add 1 TBL of butter. If you want the sauce more buttery, add another TBL. Fill one or two small jars. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Warm sauce berfore serving.

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 Notes

1. Ideal pears are ripe but NOT mushy. A bit firm is a good thing. I actually buy them hard and let them ripen, so I can pick the perfect time. I smell them. If they smell likes a pear then that is a good thing!

2. I have found every year, even though the use the same type??? of pears, some years they are sweeter, some years not. Some years they put out more juice, some years not. Since it is easier to add sugar than take it away, I go light handed. After I have cooked and ran the pears through the mill?? I taste it. This year’s batch really needed a bit more sugar and vanilla. So I threw the sauce in a big pot, gently heated it (did not boil it) add some more sugar and some vanilla extra. It was fine and not too sweet in the end.

3. Some years a add lemon peel too. Cut pieces about an inch wide. Try to only get the skin not the white pith. Tuck that in with the spices and throw them away after the pears have cooked.

4. Do not forget to keep the vanilla beans for the caramel sauce.

 

 


Plum and Cabbage Quick Braised Pork Sausages

Ipum

    We have been busy harvesting our Italian prune plums. I LOVE these plums but really did not pay attention to them until moved to the island 23 years ago. The old tulip farm we lived on had a huge tree. Oh my goodness they were wonderful and perfect for cooking. I was on the island the other week and picked up some beautiful, artisan made heritage pork sausages. So I thought it would be fitting to create a recipe for these sausages using some of our prune plums. Now I used unripe plums because I liked the idea of a bit of tartness against the sweetness from the pork, cabbage and cream but you can use ripe plums too, just read my notes about them at the end of the recipe.

    This is a very quick recipe about 15-20 minutes cooking. And to save yourself more time, cut up your onions/mushrooms/cabbage in the morning. I used a LOT of cabbage and only 3 sausage to make the meat go father (they were not cheap but oh so worth the money!) but you can use less cabbage or more meat. It does not matter the cooking time is the same. This has become a fall fav of mine. I hope it is for you too!

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Plum and Cabbage Quick Braised Pork Sausages

Serves 4

 

3-4 sausages (I used three, sliced them up just before serving and mixed them in the cooked cabbage/plum mixture)

½ large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 cup sliced mushrooms

½ large cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

Splash of dry white wine (optional)

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup (plus extra if needed) heavy cream

6 plums (Italian is best but any will work) cut into bite size pieces

 

Heat a large pan (that has a lid) on high heat. After a minute or so add a splosh of oil, then mushrooms and onions. Let onion brown a bit for a minute or two. Then add cabbage and cook 2 minutes with lid on pan. Deglaze pan with wine. Then add salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium/high. Add cream, garlic and sausages. Cook 5 minutes. If using unripe plums add now, if using ripe plums see notes below. Turn sausages over and cook another 5-8 minutes. Check and see if sausage is cooked, if not cover a cook a few more minutes. If you feel like the sauce it to watery, take out sausage, turn heat up to high and boil a minute or two. Enjoy!

Notes:

If you prefer using ripe plums, it is up to you of you want to add them the last 5 minutes or wait to the end. But cooking them too long could turn them to mush, so if it were me I would add them at the end.

I said I used unripe plums but not rock hard. You know when they look and smell good but are still firm, that is what you are looking for.

You can use less sausage as I did and just slice them up and add to cabbage before serving or serve whole sausages with cabbage/plum on the side.

Also if you want your sausage really crispy? After they have cooked, just brown them up in a small, hot pan and then add back to the cabbage.


No-Knead Buttermilk Sandwich Bread

  NbB

    Chloe got braces and this means she cannot eat my artisan bread, the crust to too much for her. So ... (I shutter to share this) I indulged her for a while and bought, (gross and cheap) squishy white bread. But indulgences (and hot summer weather) is over. For years I have been making Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day bread. I keep a big bucket of dough in the fridge and make a loaf of boule every other day. It is sooo easy, even a four year old can make it. But I have never made Buttermilk Sandwich Bread (in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a day book, page 207) with this method and I have to say is was a big success. Also it is just as easy. I am not not going to post the recipe here because the author has not but check your library and see if they have the book. If you really cannot get your hands on the book, look around others have blogged it. So here are some notes and reasons why you should make your own sandwich bread!!

NoBB

  • First off bread is expensive, especially is you are looking for organic!! It cost pennies to make a loaf bread. I like to use that money I saved to buy French cheese ;-)
  • If you need soft bread like I do for Chloe the buttermilk version really helps create a softer product.
  • Notes about buttermilk. Number one use whole fat buttermilk! It is the fat that gives you the softer dough. What if you do not have buttermilk on hand like I did not, you can use any of these: soured whole milk, yogurt (just thin it a bit with a TBL or so of water) or kiefer from yogurt or making cheese (mine is from making ricotta). I have not tried sour cream, it might or might not work (again thin it a bit with water). So the fat/acid combo is what you want for soft bread!
  • Like I said it takes like a minute to put together. 2 hours to rise, 30 seconds to shape and 30 minutes to bake. There are tons of tutorials on the subject but here is a great one for shaping the dough for a loaf pan.
  • Note, my favorite pan for making loaf bread is Norpro because I like the bumpy sides (instead of smooth) which allows little pockets of air to get in and makes it easier to remove the loaf from the pan.
  • If you have children, this is a great family project. Actually my daughters will start making this from now on because really the bread is for them.
  • Lastly once you master this dough. you can make a ton of things from it. I made some cinnamon rolls, amazing!! One dough on-hand=lots of options (and money saved)!!