Sunday, July 15, 2012

Baking Bonanza!!

Mid-July. Vacation: started. I love this. No homework, no early morning bus rush, no lunches, no meal plans. I have been off for 3 days and my oven has been on for each one of them: raspberry peach turnovers, double chocolate raspberry muffins and now a fig tart with raspberry jam. There's definitely a theme here!

Raspberry season is in full swing and my shrubs are producing an abundance of fruit this year. Even with almost no water (it hasn't rained here in weeks) they are juicy, ripe, ruby jewels! They even had a little house guest, can you see him?

Figs are also in season. Oh! boy do I love figs! I love a nice fig and prosciutto salad, it's my favourite this time of year.

I bought a flat of figs and found this recipe that I had made with dried figs in winter one year. This time I used fresh figs and modified it a bit to modified it a bit to make it dairy free.

Fig and Almond Tart - adapted from the LCBO.


3 tbsp (45 mL) ground almonds
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup (75 mL) vegan shortening sticks, cubed


9 to 10 figs, stemmed and cut in half - if they are small, you will need 15-16.
½ cup (125 mL) ground almonds
2 eggs
1/3 cup (75 mL) sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
¾ cup (250 mL) coconut milk (Open the can, pour into a small sauce pot and gently heat until uniform. Store the rest for later use.


1 cup raspberries
3 tbsp maple syrup
Juice of half an orange
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

2. Prepare pastry. Combine almonds and flour. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles bread crumbs. You can roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper OR pat into pan. Big fan of "pat into pan", less mess and I usually end up reconstructing my crust in some way anyway! Place parchment paper over pastry, and weight with dried beans or metal pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and paper and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until pastry is pale gold.

3. Reduce heat to 350ºF (180ºC).

4. Place figs on base of tart in a circular pattern. Whisk together almonds, eggs, sugar, orange rind, vanilla and coconut milk. Pour over figs.

5. Place in oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until custard is set. Cool.

6. Heat raspberries and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. In a small bowl whisk orange juice and cornstarch together. When the raspberries have become liquid, whisk in
orange and cornstarch mixture. Stirring occasionally, let it come to a low boil and thicken. Strain it to remove the seeds (or not - but for the purpose of a glaze, I recommend it). Brush over figs.
It turned out a bit redder then I expected but that's what raspberries are all about!

Serves 8

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Early Summer Indulgence

Was my last post really in February? How time flies!! I have come to a really wonderful realization and I wanted to share. I started this blog to see if it would be possible as a full-time working mom of 3 little boys to sustain a mostly locally sourced seasonal diet and the verdict is: you can. It's a lot of work, but very rewarding. The thing I find the most challenging? Finding the time to blog about it!!

I've had the wonderful opportunity to write my first guest blog post about coconut milk rhubarb ice cream here: Please check it out :)

With local farmer's markets now back for the season, I'm inspired to discover new flavours and share them with everyone!!

Rhubarb Ice Cream

2 cans of coconut milk (400 ml) - not light kind
2 cups chopped rhubarb
6 medium egg yolks or 4 large
2/3 cup sugar (divided) - note: you could also try 1/2 cup agave (divided) if avoiding refined sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Rhubarb compote

Chop rhubarb and place in saucepan with maple syrup, 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon.
Heat on med-low until stewed, purée until smooth then transfer to a bowl and cool.

For the ice cream

Here is the coconut milk right from the can

Heat coconut milk on med-low until smooth then increase to medium and bring to just before boiling. Watch it closely, you don't want it to boil!

Here is the coconut milk warmed up and smooth
In a glass bowl, whisk egg yolks with remaining sugar until pale yellow.
Dark yellow yolks

Light yellow yolks
Temper the eggs. Basically what this means is whisk eggs with one hand while slowly pouring in about half the warm coconut milk, then pour the eggs back in the pot with the remaining coconut milk. Keep whisking until it's fully incorporated.

Heat until the mixture begins to thicken. It will not thicken like a dairy custard but will coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Prepare an ice bath. When the custard is ready, strain into a clean bowl and sit in ice bath. Whisk in rhubarb compote and chill for about 20 minutes.

Place some plastic wrap directly on the mixture and chill in the fridge for a few hours. You just want the mixture to be very cold. I've left it overnight, it's not a problem.

Before placing the custard in the ice cream machine, you'll need to give it a good whisk.

The mixture has separated a bit - no worries!
Churn according to manufacturer's instructions.

The hard part is the waiting!!
It will be soft when you remove it from the machine so transfer it to a container and freeze for about an hour. If it is frozen solid when you pull it from the freezer, let it sit for 5 minutes and it will be easier to scoop.

I served this ice cream in a waffle bowl topped with stewed strawberries. It would be delicious with strawberry shortcake!!

Taste tested: 5 kids, 4 adults, 10 thumbs up!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the love of ice cream!

Been a little distant from my blog lately. It's not because I've increased my consumption of foreign foods or because I've revolted against #sugarpurge or #dairypurge, it's simply because life is hectic. I've also been experimenting in the kitchen with a few recipes but none have been blog worthy... Until today!

This idea has been churning in my head since Xmas (no pun intended). See, it all started with a box of Toffifee. I know what you're thinking, "what happened to #sugarpurge"? Well, we all have out weaknesses and a box of Toffifee is mine. I could eat a whole box in one sitting, I have no self control when it comes to those little nougat lovelies!

My hubs knows they're my favourite. Last weekend he picked up some snacks at the grocery store, including a box of Toffifee. I told him no treats for me, I was back on #sugarpurge but he was so happy to have bought me a box of my favourite treats, how could I say no ;)

I could have eaten that whole box of 48. But instead, I chopped them all up (well, all 36 remaining) and made some ice cream. I used coconut milk as the base because even though I may have my ups and downs with #sugarpurge, #dairypurge is holding pretty strong. It would certainly be delicious with half cream, half whole milk.

Coconut milk Toffifee ice cream.

36 Toffifee (cause let's face it, you'll want to eat some)
2 cans of coconut milk (organic, 400 ml)
3 egg yolks (just found a local supplier, very excited!)
1/2 cup brown sugar (organic, fair trade)

Slice each Toffifee in half and separate.

Chop nougat into small pieces. Chop caramel cups into small pieces and add half of the caramel bits to the nougat pile. Place into a large heat-proof glass bowl. Place a fine strainer over the bowl. Chop hazelnuts and place in a small bowl with other half of caramel bits.

Shake the coconut milk cans and add to sauce pan. Heat on med-low for a couple minutes so that the coconut milk becomes a consistent liquid. You can skip this step if you successfully managed to shake your coconut milk into a uniform texture. Take out 1/2 a cup.

Separate your eggs, keep eggs whites for tomorrow's healthy omelet :). Make sure your 1/2 cup of coconut milk is cool then whisk your egg yolks with the cool coconut milk.

Add brown sugar to the warm coconut milk in the pot and increase heat to medium. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and heat until it starts to bubble but not boil. Temper the egg yolks then whisk the warm egg mixture back into the pot. Heat on medium stirring constantly for 5 or 6 minutes. It will thicken slightly but will not thicken like a dairy custard. If you're using milk and cream, you might need to head for a bit less time.

Pour the warm liquid through the strainer over the nougat and caramel bits and whisk until fully melted. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and place custard mixture bowl inside, let cool completely, maybe 45 minutes. Place a plastic wrap directly over top of the mixture and chill completely, at least 3 hours.

When ready, place in ice cream maker, churn according to directions. In the last 5 minutes, pour in chopped nuts and caramel. You can eat it right away, may be a little soft, or chill in freezer for a few hours to harden.

Share the Toffifee, share the love :)