Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieWe had a small sugar pie pumpkin that was given to us around the middle of November (2015), and I just got around to roasting it. We took too long to get to it, but the pumpkin flesh was still good. After roasting it, we were able to get 30 ounce of puree, which is equal to two 15 ounce store bought cans. collage of Roasted PumpkinWe needed to see how good the puree would taste, so it could be used to make either some pies, pumpkin bread or cookies, and even a pumpkin cheesecake. After roasting and pureeing the pumpkin, we wanted to taste the flavor of the flesh, so we mixed some with real maple syrup and some pecan pieces, and wow it was very tasty.

fresh pumpkin puree with real maple syrup and pecan pieces

Better Homes and Garden Novemeber 2015 issueThe pumpkin pie recipe we decided to make with 15 ounce of the puree was adapted from Better Homes and Gardens November 2015 issue.

gluten free pie shell packagingWe did change the recipe a bit, as we used a gluten free pie shell.

What makes this pumpkin pie a Mexican chocolate pie is the use of Cayenne and smoked paprika.

No need to worry as it is not spicy.

Here is what you will need to prepare your own: Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.

3 ounces dark chocolate (original recipe calls for 1 3.1 ounce disc of Mexican chocolate)

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup coconut sugar (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup packed brown sugar)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika ( original recipe called for milk chili powder)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (we used our fresh roasted pumpkin puree)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup half and half or light cream

Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)

Bake pie crust according to packaged instructions.

For pie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small sauce pan heat chocolate and butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, just until melted, then set aside to cool.

pumpkin pie mixIn a large bowl combine coconut sugar, pie spice, salt, and chili powders. Stir in pumpkin puree and eggs until combined. Next gradually stir in half and half until combined.

stirring in pumpkin pie mix with melted chocolateStir 1 1/2 cups of the pumpkin mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture, then pour into pie crust.

second layer of Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieNext pour remaining pumpkin mixture over chocolate layer.

Bake for 60 minutes or until center appears set. Cool pie, then chill within 2 hours.

Chocolate Ganache

simmered cream cinamon and shaved dark chocolateIn a small bowl add 3 ounces of shaved dark chocolate and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. In a small sauce pot bring 1/4 cup cream to a simmer, and pour over shaved chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.

Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieSpoon Chocolate Ganache over pie, then add shaved dark chocolate and some powdered chili.

Slice Of  Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieServe a piece of Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, and enjoy!!

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Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread PuddingIf you like blueberries, white chocolate, real cream, and bread pudding, than this is the dessert recipe for you. We found this recipe about 7 or 8 years ago. Personally I would consider this our signature dessert recipe, as we sell desserts, and this is the most ordered dessert on our list.

Bread pudding is a dessert dish with very old roots. It evolved as a use for stale bread. Many cultures throughout history have seen starvation, and food shortages, and they seen no reason to waste food, not even stale bread. Many culinary dishes have been invented using stale bread, both savory and sweet.

Today making bread pudding is still a tradition, though current recipes are far more extravagant or splendid since the inception of making bread pudding.

Our featured recipe never goes without a word of, “this was so delicious”, and we think you will feel the same. It is fast and simple to put together, and here is what you will need.

3 eggs

4 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt*

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

*With the presence of sugar in a recipe, using salt can reduce the amount of sugar used. The original recipe calls for 2 cups sugar but no salt. By adding the salt, less sugar is needed. The salt brings out the sweetness of the sugar, making it seem as though you put two cups.

Preheat oven to 350°

blueberries and white chocolate chips In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and sugar, then cream together. Next add the heavy cream and vanilla. Mix until combined. Next stir in blueberries, and white chocolate chips.

french bread added to egg battterMix in prepared bread cubes.

frechbread mixed with blueberry egg batterLet stand for 10-15 minutes or until bread is softened.

adding Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding to a glass baking dishTransfer to a 13×9 inch glass baking dish.

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding - not cookedBake uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread PuddingLet stand for 20 minutes before serving. Can plate and serve with white chocolate sauce, heavy cream, or a scoop of real vanilla ice cream.

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Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style

Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style

You may heard of the Paleo Diet, and are also unaware what the diet consists of.

The paleolithic lifestyle also known Paleo Magazineas the Paleo Diet, is a diet that attempts to recreate or endeavors to imitate the eating patterns of our ancestors lifestyle, who lived 1000’s of years ago.

They did not eat food that was processed, refined, cooked with toxic oils, or that contained sugar, unlike the majority of the foods that we eat today (The PaleoSecret).

There are a small number of cultures in the world today, who continue to live a paleolithic hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Those who live in a modern society cultures, try to recreate elements of a paleolithic lifestyle, and do so in an attempt to improve or enhance their health, fitness and happiness by avoiding the common diseases that most of society faces today, which include obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, allergies, depression, and chronic stress.

the paleo diet verse a non paleo dietThe paleo diet encourages eating generous amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter or clarified butter.

The diet also promotes not using oils made from vegetables, or that are hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated including, but not limited to, margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.

Olive oil and avocado oil’s are encouraged for consumption, but only use them in salad dressings and to drizzle over food (PaleoLeap – Paleo 101).

A paleo diet is neither vegetarian or vegan. Paleo eaters eat meat, unlike vegetarians, though they will eat dairy or eggs (depending on the person), and unlike vegans who eat no meat at all, including the by products of animals, such as dairy products, eggs, and even honey.

Now for our featured recipe: Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style, and here is what you will need.

2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/4 cup melted ghee

1/3 cup raw honey

1 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla

1 1/4 cups blueberries

A few pumpkin seeds and berries for topping the muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 mold muffin pan with baking cups.

Preparing step by step Blueberry Muffins Paleo StyleIn a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients, making sure there are no lumps.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then combine the wet ingredients with the dry, and incorporate together. Next fold in the blueberries.

bluebery muffin dough in a 12 well muffin panDivide the batter among the 12 muffin molds, filling each cup 3/4th of the way. Top with pumpkins seeds and a few berries.

Blueberry Muffins Paleo StyleBake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.

Enjoy some other desserts using alternatives to whole wheat or grain flour, both Paleo approved.

Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake

Orange Almond Cake

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Cooling Down with a Mojito Beverage

Cooling Down with a Mojito Beverage

Mojito is a traditional alcoholic beverage of Cuba, the Highball. The drink consists of white rum, sugar cane juice, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint, or as it is called in Spanish, yerba buena. Actually the drink gets its name from the type of mint used, which is mojito.

Mojito (the herb) is a native plant to Cuba, and was previously unavailable in North America but thanks to Toronto mojito enthusiast Catherine Nasmith who visited Cuba in 2006, we now have the authentic plant from Cuba. It is not only used in beverages, but mojito mint also makes a great seasoning for meats and confections (Helping Gardeners Grow).

Mojito has a clearly distinctive flavor from most other mints. The scent and flavor are mild and warm, not pungent nor overly sweet like other mints.

Recent medical studies have reported that the smell of  mint has been proven to stimulate brain activity and could be useful before taking a test of any type, such as in school or collage. Other herbs, such as rosemary, and sage have been reported to do the same.

Summer Drinks - using MojitoWhen making a Highball, you can use any fruit you wish, just so long as you use the mint, mojito. Unless your not a person of tradition, and that’s OK.

Here are links to some recipes here at Splendid Recipes and More where mint was used. Not specifically mojito, but it can be substituted in place of the common fresh variety you can purchase at your local market.

1. Melon Berry Fruit Salad with Mint-Lime Dressing

2. Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

3. Orange, Fennel and Mint Salad

If you are not into drinking alcholic beverages, then you may be interested in cooling down with another type of mojito beverage: Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade.

Today is the annaversary, so to speak, of Splendid Recipes and More, posting the recipe for the lemonade beverage. It was first posted July. 15, 2014, and to-date has had 4,383 hits. Most of the hits have come during the summer months, either in the northern (June-September) or the southern (December-March) hemisphere.

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade -over-head-Here is the link to the original post (click here) and following is a picture and the recipe. You’ll note there is no mojito, but is mixed in with the tea. The tea use was purchased at Tevana, and is available only during the summer months.

12 teaspoons Blackberry Mojito Green Tea

1 cup lemon juice, from 5 lemons

1/2 cup sugar (optional to use Teavana‘s rock sugar)

6 cups fresh water, boiled

Bring fresh water to a boil in a large sauce pot. The boil point should reach 175 degrees. Turn off heat and add the tea mixture, and steep for 10 minutes.

Strain off tea mixture and add tea to a glass serving container. Stir in sugar, and add lemon juice and stir some more.

Enjoy Cooling Down with a Mojito Beverage.

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Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup

 

Curried Apple-Pumpkin Soup

We found this recipe Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup, in the October coconut sugar2012 issue of Prevention. This soup is a gluten-free and vegan food.

Pumpkin is full of cancer fighting properties, which includes beta-carotene (read more here: Pumpkins Ability to Fight Cancer). For better absorption of this phytonutrient, pair it with a healthy fat, which we did using coconut oil.

Phytonutrients or phytochemicals are natural occurring chemicals that help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats. In turn when you eat the plant food and its phytonutrient, you get that protection as well.

Okay, enough of the science, and on to the featured recipe. Oh, by the way, you will note we used coconut sugar in the recipe.

Coconut sugar is a perfect 1:1 replacement for refined sugar. It has naturally occurring nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and 8 vitamins and amino acids.

Here’s a FACT: The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar and uses only 20% of the resources.

Coconut sugar will not spike your blood sugar, making it a great food for diabetics.  Coconut sugar is a vegan food and great for gluten-free cooking and baking.

ingredients for Curried Apple Pumpkin SoupOn to the featured recipe, and here is what you will need:

1 large Granny Smith apple

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp. red curry powder

2 tbsp. ginger, fresh, grated or chopped

1 tsp. garlic, minced

2 cups fresh water

2 cups pureed pumpkin

Himalayan salt and coconut sugar to taste

Preparing Instructions

Melt oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Next add chopped apple and cook until golden in color. Next add onion, curry powder, ginger, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring until soften and when you are able to smell the onion and garlic.

Stir in the water and pumpkin (add more water if too thick). Simmer stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Season the soup with Himalayan salt and coconut sugar, if desired. Serves 4 soup bowls.

We found the soup has a warmer flavor of ginger when aloud to set for a day or two. Enjoy!!

 

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Healthy White Flour Substitutes

Healthy White Flour Substitutes

These days everyone, will almost everyone is concerned about their diet. One way to improve your diet is by pinpointing appropriate healthy substitutions to use in foods you love.

One of the biggest misconceptions in our society’s diet is based upon the nutrition values of white flour. It is used in all types of recipes, breads, baking and gravies.

White flour is high in carbs, has less nutrition than whole grain products, very fattening and harder for the body to digest. By using healthier flour choices you can avoid this unnecessary mess you are inadvertently creating for your body to handle.

The following are a few substitutions to white flour you can consider next time you are baking or cooking!

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a healthier choice than white and can be used as a substitute in baking and cooking.

Check out our recipe using whole wheat flour and oat bran: Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping 

Almond Flour

blanched almond flour This is a great option for people following a gluten-free diet. Its density and ability to rise can make it a perfect substitute for most baked goods. It also has a fraction of carbohydrates as compared to white flour.

Ideal for pancakes, muffins or cookies, this substitute could be what you have always been looking for in regards to a healthy alternative to white flour.

The natural almond flavor helps to add sweetness to your recipe. This is something unique to almond flour and a great food to keep in your pantry. Furthermore, if used in large quantity the flour can act like a cake batter and create a light cake like consistency for you to work with.

Check out our recipe that uses almond flour: Orange Almond Cake

Barley Flour           

This type of flour is an exceptional food for use in baking breads. Barley is rich in fiber and zinc and can be mixed together with other flours. Barley is also ideal for thickening gravies and sweetening sauces.

A little added trick is to lightly toast the flour before use to accentuate the hidden flavors that barley flour secretly has. Also, if used in the right way, it can add a little sweetness to your recipe as well.

Keep in mind that barley flour is not gluten free, but still makes a great wheat flour substitute for baking.

The following white flour substitutes are gluten free flours.

Buckwheat Flour

Despite the name, buckwheat flour is gluten free and wheat free. This makes it a good option for whole wheat substitutes. The thing that you need to watch out for in this product is its dense qualities and strong flavor.

This means it is great for use in products, such as, pancakes or pastas but you cannot use it as a thickener for a sauce because it will be too rich. Its earthy flavor can be good at times, but, can also overpower any good recipe, so try combining buckwheat with white flour in recipes.

Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour

Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour

Image Credit: Nuts.com

When it comes to gluten free substitutes, this is a common go to for vegans and those with Celiac disease.

This flour is high in protein and calcium which allows you to balance out your diet. Its uses are abundant, including, for crepes, flat bread or hummus.

Check out our recipe that uses Garbanzo flour: Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

Oat Flour

This is probably your classic and most dependable option when it comes to healthy flour substitutes. Oat flour is all natural and helps to create a whole what product.

Depending on which company processes it, this product can be gluten-free or low-gluten. It is optimal for use in cookie and other baked goods recipes.

In summary, these are all great options for you to use as a substitute to white flour but it is important to remember that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

Unless you have Celiac disease, your body can naturally handle a bit of gluten on a regular basis, but, you should focus on the whole wheat and nutritional aspects of your diet if you are going to begin substituting for white flour. Remember, the key to being healthy is balance.

 

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Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Another great cupcake recipe I found in the April 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

The muffins came out perfectly, so soft and moist! Dark chocolate and banana is a great flavor combination. You can bake this recipe into a dessert bread as well. Just pour the batter into a 9-inch bread pan and enjoy.

Dark cocoa according to Health News Library (HNL) has great health benefits, like potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron in high concentrations. You know what that means, right? Dark Chocolate is great for your heart and lowering high blood pressure.

HNL states, “The copper and potassium help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular disease. The iron protects against anemia, and magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease” (read more here: Dark Chocolate Helping with Health Concerns).

Now for the featured recipe: Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk (we forgot to add this to the cutting board)

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 bananas, peeled

Honey for topping

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

 

Grease twelve 2 ½ -inch muffin cups; set aside.

Mixing dry and wet ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

 

In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and butter. Add all at once to flour mixture. Gently stir just until moistened.

 

bananas cut for topping Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Peel and trim ends from bananas and cut each into 6 pieces. You should do this before mixing dry ingredients in with the wet. Once the wet ingredients hits the dry portion, it activates the soda. As a rule of thumb, once you have mixed the wet and dry together, get it in the oven as soon as possible.

Next, spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full and press a banana piece into each prepared cupcake batter, but the banana should not be covered completely, only push in half way.

Now the next part says to drizzle with honey, then bake for 15 minutes. But it is not recommended to heat honey above 100 degrees, it kills the enzymes that benefit good health.

Ask A Scientist says, “Honey bees keep the temperature of their brood nest at just under 100 degrees. Many figure that honey should not be raised above this temperature to preserve many of its good qualities. If honey is heated above that, there is disagreement on what the temperature is at which the helpful enzymes are damaged. It is likely in the 120 to 140 range.”

They go on to say, “Honey distributed by large distributors and sold in larger stores is usually heated to 180 degrees.This is to dissolve even the smallest crystals that might act as “seeds” that promote crystallization. Although crystallization does not harm the honey in any way, it is considered less desirable (in the US but not necessarily abroad). The enzymes that are not visible are sacrificed for the sake of “good” looks.”

Here at Splendid Recipes and More, we use raw honey, in its whole form. To liquefy the honey: boil some water in a sauce pan. Place the amount of honey you want to liquefy into a small glass jar and dip the jar into the hot water. The honey will soften and become runny, but will not heat to above 100 degrees.

 

 

cooling Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Now bake the muffins for 15 minutes or until tops are firm, then remove and cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

 

 

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins (end article)

 

Remove from muffin cups. Drizzle with honey and serve warm. Here we drizzled with raw honey. As a side note, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar dosen’t sweeten the muffins to well. But adding the honey will sweeten every bite. If you don’t wish to drizzle with honey, increase your dark brown sugar to add the sweetness you desire. Enjoy!!

 

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