Tag Archives: dessert

Maple Poached Pears

Maple Poached Pears

I discovered this recipe thanks to a post on Kitchen Stewardship. (It’s from a cookbook called The Nourished Kitchen Cookbook.) And it has transformed my life.

Do you know how wonderful a mouthful of soft, creamy pears, hot and drizzled with a spiced, mapley, buttery syrup is? I mean, really?!? It’s so simple, but absolutely amazing. My children especially like it with a scoop of ice cream, and for Christmas dessert I made some cinnamon ice cream using maple syrup as a sweetener that went with it perfectly! But it’s also good all by itself, or perhaps even drizzled with some cream!

This recipe is pretty much just like the one on Kitchen Stewardship, but I’ve upped the butter and maple syrup because I didn’t think there was enough sauce in the original recipe. I also did mine in a cast iron skillet, and they were perfect!

Peel about 4 ripe pears and cut them in half. Then, take a spoon and scoop out the seeded center and the fibrous stem part.

Maple Poached Pears Maple Poached Pears

Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet or other oven-safe pan, melt 4 Tbsp of butter .

Maple Poached Pears

Add in about 1/4 cup of maple syrup, preferably grade B, and the spices.

Maple Poached Pears

Let it cook until bubbly.

Maple Poached Pears

Then place the pears in, face-down.

Maple Poached Pears

Let it cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes to caramelize the bottoms of the pears, and then place the entire pan in the oven for 45 minutes or until a fork pokes through them easily.

Maple Poached Pears

Serve drizzled with the sauce. If desired, top with ice cream, whipped cream, or a drizzle of heavy cream.

Maple Poached Pears

Pure deliciousness!

NOTE: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can still make these but the bottoms won’t caramelize as nicely. You can start the pears on the stove top, and then transfer the pears and sauce to an oven-safe baking dish to do the baking part. 

Maple Poached Pears
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
If you don't have a cast iron or other oven-safe skillet, you can start them on the stove top and then transfer them to a baking dish instead. They won't caramelize as nicely but will still turn out yummy! Don't forget to scrape all the sauce into the baking dish with the pears.
Ingredients
  • 4 ripe pears
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Peel the pears, slice them in half, and scoop out the seeded center and tough stemmy parts with a spoon.
  3. Meanwhile, in a cast iron skillet melt the butter and add in the syrup. Let cook until bubbly, and then stir in the spices and vanilla.
  4. Place the pears, sliced side down, in the skillet and let cook on medium for 3-5 minutes to caramelize the bottoms
  5. Place the whole pan in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a fork pierces the pears easily.
  6. Serve hot, drizzled with the sauce. If desired, top with ice cream, whipped cream, or a drizzle of heavy cream.

 

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie

Okay, this recipe has been a long time coming. I’ve been meaning to share it since Thanksgiving! Oh, well. It’s a little late for the holidays, but, really, is it EVER a bad time to eat pumpkin pie? I mean, why do we need to wait for November to have some of this deliciousness? It’s made with a winter squash (pumpkin or butternut squash), so in my book that makes it fair game at least until April. And if I’m really craving it, then it’s fair game any time of year.

This pie is a really easy one to make without refined sweeteners because of all the spicy flavors in it. However, there is a comparatively large amount of sweeteners in the recipe, so this isn’t something to eat if you’re sensitive to them or are recovering from inflammatory symptoms. However, it is a really good real-food version of a classic favorite!

First, prepare a pie crust. I explain how to make a spelt crust in my quiche recipe. Basically do the same thing, but if you want you could add some stevia or some other sweetener to the dough. (If you can’t eat grain/gluten, or just don’t feel like making a crust, you can just leave it out and turn it into a custard! I explain more below.)

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked and pureed pumpkin or butternut squash (fresh is good, but canned is fine too), 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 2/3 cup palm sugar, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and the spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt.

pumpkin pie

Pour the mixture into the uncooked pie crust and cover the edges of the crust with tin foil or a crust guard to prevent it from burning.

pumpkin pie

Bake at 425 for 40-45 minutes. The center should be slightly jiggly, but set, when finished. When you shake it, it should act a little like jello.

pumpkin pie

And that’s it! Is that simple, or what? And delicious!

NOTE: If you don’t feel like making a crust, you can just leave it out! Instead, turn this into pumpkin custard. Instead of pouring the mixture into a pie shell, pour it into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Place the baking dish inside a 9×13 baking dish. Put it in the oven, and then fill the 9×13 dish with boiling water. (See my fruit custard recipe for pictures if you’re confused about that.) Bake as usual. 

Pumpkin Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Don't feel like making a crust? Leave it out! It's perfectly good that way! Instead, prepare the custard and pour it into a buttered 8x8 dish. Place the 8x8 dish inside a 9x13 dish and fill the 9x13 dish with boiling water. Bake as instructed.
Ingredients
  • Prepared pie crust for 9 inch pie (I have a spelt crust on my quiche recipe on the blog if you need one)
  • 1½ cups cooked and pureed pumpkin or butternut squash (or canned)
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup palm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie shell.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the center is jiggly but set, kind of like jello when shaken.
  4. Slice and top with heavy cream that's been whipped and sweetened with maple syrup.

 

custard

Baked Fruit Custard

When I was little, my mother would often make baked custards. They were perfect little creamy desserts, topped with nutmeg. They were especially wonderful when we weren’t feeling well – nutritious, comforting, and easily digestible. So as an adult I learned to make them for myself, and anytime I had a little cold coming on and didn’t like eating too much, I’d whip up a batch of them and be transported back to the comfort of childhood and being taken care of by my mother and these custards!

Then, I changed my diet. I dropped sugar. And for a couple years I didn’t eat custards anymore, because I didn’t think I  could make them the same without sugar.

Well, I’m very pleased to say that I was completely wrong about that! I can make custards without sugar! All it takes is adding in a bunch of fruit to make up for the missing sugar. I’ve been playing around with proportions of ingredients for a while until I found the perfect combination. The result is something that’s different (being packed with fruit) but also very familiar. The custard is light and sweet and smooth and comforting, just like I remember. So now custard is back on the menu!

This recipe has 1/4 cup of maple syrup in it, but you could reduce that or even eliminate if you needed to. (The custard won’t be as sweet, but the fruit should compensate for it). I use mashed bananas to add sweetness to the custard, but for some reason these DON’T taste very banana-y. I swear! So don’t let that scare you off!

This dish makes a nice dessert, but also a great breakfast. Or, if you’re feeling unwell and can’t stomach heavier meals, an anytime-food! The fat from the milk, protein from the eggs, and nutrients from the fruit make this a great nourishing dish! 

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Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Technically, this is dessert. I know that. It is not, and nor should it be, lunch. Or dinner.

And yet, in the past two days I have had it for both of these things.

Yesterday I made a whole bunch to take to a friend’s house for a lunch-time “strawberry shortcake feast.” And then, tonight, my husband’s working late and it’s just me and the kids and I didn’t feel like cooking and there were all these left-overs from yesterday’s lunch and so….

Strawberry shortcake for dinner. Yes I did.

The kids think I’m the best mom in the world right now.

But, really, it isn’t SO bad if you think about it. (Or, at any rate, that’s what I’m telling myself so that I don’t feel guilty about feeding my kids dessert for lunch. And dinner.) Because, really, what is it? It’s biscuits – tender, flaky biscuits. And sweet strawberries. And freshly whipped cream. None of which have a lick of refined sugar in them at all, with only the tiniest bit of maple syrup. Really, (if you cross your eyes and squint) it’s just like having a piece of bread, some fruit, and a glass of milk! Right?! So, see, it’s not THAT bad!

So, there you have it, folks. Your ready-made rationalization as to why it’s okay to have dessert for dinner!

And here’s how you make it. It’s basically just my standard Spelt Biscuit recipe with a few minor changes.

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orange pineapple sherbet

Orange Pineapple Sherbet

Sherbet is delicious. And, for the purposes of eating better, it’s great because fruit is the main ingredient, and fruit is so naturally sweet that it requires very little sweetener added! It’s really pretty much a guilt free dessert. 

This particular sherbet is something I love to make when I have a cold, especially a sore throat. Not only does it feel nice a soothing, but the combination of orange and pineapple juice is an immune booster powerhouse. I grew up drinking a combination of orange and pineapple juice when I was sick, so this is basically the same thing – just frozen!

My sherbet is a little different from most recipes you see out there because I use much less dairy. I do this because I like more of the fruit flavor to shine through – and therefore less sweetener to be added. Technically, sherbet is supposed to use milk, not cream, but I use half cream and half milk so that I can still have enough cream content to make it creamy, but use much more fruity goodness! It works out great.

The most obvious thing you have to do is juice oranges. Lots and lots of oranges. How good your sherbet is directly depends on how good your fruit is! So use good, sweet oranges, not bland tasteless ones!

orange pineapple sherbet

You want 4 cups of juice. As you juice – DON’T THROW AWAY THE PULP! Keep the pulp and include it in with the juice. Not only does this mean that you have to use fewer oranges, but the pulp is full of really good health-boosting stuff, not just the juice. Combining the two is a great idea especially when you’re trying to fight off sickness. Don’t worry – we’re going to blend it all smooth so you’ll never know the pulp was there.

Pour the juice into a blender and add in 1 cup of pineapple juice and half a cup of honey. If you have it, also add in 2 tsp of tapioca starch. This isn’t strictly necessary so if you don’t have any, no worries. But it helps make a smooth consistency so if you have it use it.

You’ll see in the picture that the pulp rises to the top.

orange pineapple sherbet

Blend away on the highest speed until the pulp is completely blended in and is no longer visible. Pour it into your ice cream maker and add in one cup of whole milk and one cup of heavy cream.

Taste the mix. If necessary, add in some liquid Stevia extract. Whether you need this or not completely depends on how sweet your oranges were. For this batch I added in 20 drops of my Trader Joe’s brand stevia drops, but other times I haven’t needed any. So it’s important to taste to know!

Make it according to the ice cream maker instructions. Wait impatiently for it to be done.

orange pineapple sherbet

Then rejoice! Because your totally delicious, creamy, throat-soothing, immune boosting, healthy treat is done! Dish yourself some and scarf it down.

orange pineapple sherbet

Orange-Pineapple Sherbet
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This delicious sherbet has only ¼ cup of honey for 7 whole cups of liquid - so it's really as safe of a dessert as you can get! The combination of fresh orange juice with the pulp and pineapple juice is also a great immune booster, so this is perfect to make when you're feeling under the weather, especially for sore throats.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups orange juice from fresh sweet oranges, pulp included
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch (optional - makes a smoother texture)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • liquid stevia extract if necessary to boost sweetness
Instructions
  1. Use only good sweet oranges. Sherbet is only as good as the fruit that you use!
  2. Combine the orange juice and pulp, pineapple juice, honey, and tapioca starch in a blender and blend on the highest speed until it's completely smooth with no pulp visible.
  3. Pour the juice into your ice cream maker along with the milk and cream.
  4. Taste for sweetness. How sweet your oranges are will depend on whether you need to make it sweeter or not. If the sweetness needs to be boosted add in some drops of liquid stevia extract until it's as you want it.
  5. Make according to the ice cream maker's instructions.
  6. Store left-overs (if you have any!) in an airtight container in the freezer.

 

strawberry sherbet

Frozen Strawberries and Cream (Sherbet)

I have the perfect “it’s-been-a-long-winter-and-it’s-finally-spring-and-I-want-to-completely-forget-the-frozen-horror-that-was-the-past-4-months” recipe for you. It has to do with strawberries and cream and sweet frozen creamy goodness. Interested?

Basically, we’re talking strawberry sherbet. But the best strawberry sherbet you’ve ever eaten. My family went nuts over it. NUTS. And since sherbet is mostly fruit it has very little added sweetener in it, which makes this something you can eat guilt-free!

This particular sherbet strongly reminds me of an Italian Water Ice “cream ice.” (My fellow Pennsylvanians will know what I mean by that. For the rest of you…sorry.) Fruity yet creamy at the same time. And just like water ice, when you freeze the leftovers it freezes HARD – not like ice cream that can be easily scooped back out again. So let leftovers sit in the fridge for a bit to soften up before eating!

Unlike ice cream, no advance prep of cooking and cooling a custard is necessary. You can start it and have it in the ice cream maker in 5-10 minutes. Twenty minutes later you have dessert!

Take about 2.5 pounds of cleaned strawberries and stick them in your blender. You might need to add a little apple juice or something to get them going, but you shouldn’t need much. (Even my cheapo Oster blender did it no problem). Blend on the highest speed until it’s completely smooth and pureed. You should end up with 5 1/2 cups of strawberry puree.

strawberry sherbet

Taste, and add sweetener as necessary. Use honey, maple syrup, or pure liquid stevia extract. The amount of sweetener you need completely depends on how sweet your berries are, and your particular tastes. I added 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 2 droppers full of liquid stevia. Just taste until it seems sweet enough to you!

Pour it into your ice cream canister along with 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream.

strawberry sherbet

And make it according to the ice cream maker’s instructions. Twenty minutes later you have this!

strawberry sherbet

And a very happy family.

Store left-overs in the freezer in an air-tight container. It’ll be frozen hard later, so you’ll want to let it soften a little before eating.

Frozen Strawberries and Cream (Sherbet)
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 5½ cups strawberry puree (about 2.5 pounds whole strawberries, pureed in the blender)
  • 1½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼-1/2 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste (will depend on sweetness of berries)
  • optional +/- 30 drops pure liquid stevia, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the strawberry puree and taste it for sweetness. Add sweetener as necessary. You'll probably need at least ¼ cup of honey or maple syrup, but maybe more. The amount will totally depend on how sweet your berries are and your personal tastes!
  2. If you want to boost the sweetness a little without adding more honey or maple syrup, add some liquid stevia.
  3. Pour it into your ice cream canister and stir in the cream.
  4. Make according to the ice cream maker instructions.
  5. Leftovers will freeze hard in the freezer, so let it soften a bit before eating after it's been in the freezer!

 

Shared on Fight Back Friday  and Real Food Wednesday

 

 

crushed pineapple cake

Crushed Pineapple Upside Down Cake

(Note: I’ve been considering for a while including “real food dessert” recipes on here. These are things I’ve been making for my family or for company that are very heavy in sweeteners, but have no refined sugar or flours in them – just whole food sweeteners. I hadn’t been sharing them because they really aren’t anti-inflammation friendly, but for some of you they’ll still be safe if consumed carefully, in moderation. If you’re symptomatic you’ll want to be extra careful with these recipes!! But if you’re looking for something that’s at least better for you, and that company will eat, these will do the trick.)

Suddenly the other day, I had an intense craving for pineapple upside down cake. It hit out of nowhere. It’s not even something I’ve eaten a lot in my life, and I hadn’t had it in years and years. I have no cozy associations with my mother baking this cake or anything. I’m pretty sure the first time I ever had it was in the cafeteria of my university!!

So I have no idea why this craving hit, but it hit hard! All I could think of was sweet pineapple goodness surrounded by buttery cake. Mmmm. So I set out to figure out how to make it. After a few trials and errors, I hit upon a winner!

This is a little different than pineapple upside down cake because it doesn’t use rings of pineapple, and it’s not as pretty. I tried it that way at first…but I found myself wishing that there was more pineapple! So I tried it again with crushed pineapple instead, and that did the trick! So…this isn’t a super pretty company cake. But it IS a super delicious pineapple cake!!

I did this in my cast iron skillet because I loved the idea of taking it from stove to oven. I think it made me feel all rustic or something. But if you don’t have one, you can always just do this in an 8×8 square pan. Continue reading