Part of being a food blogger is being lucky enough to meet and become friends with loads of other amazing and talented food bloggers, cookbook authors, recipe developers, food photographers, etc. It just sort of happens over time. Besides having social media feeds loaded with food photos and constantly chatting about what’s for dinner, it’s mostly just incredibly inspiring. Being surrounded virtually and in the real world with people that are passionate about food, eating and sharing this love and passion with others. It’s pretty darn amazing.
More and more of these talented folks are authoring beautiful cookbooks filled with their creative recipes. I now have bookshelves full of incredible recipe resources. In 2014, I got a bit behind on my cookbook reviews and I am working to remedy that this year. So, I am working on a new series I am calling Foodie Friend Fridays, where every other Friday (or there-abouts), I will share cookbook reviews and recipes from some of my favorite cookbooks, guest posts from incredibly talented friends, occasional giveaways and more! Some of the reviews will feature cookbooks that are paleo, some vegan, others just a general topic cookbook, with recipes that would work for us gluten-free folk, but be sure I will always share gluten-free recipes and I will always give you my honest critiques.
First up is Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker. It felt natural that this would be the first cookbook I’d review and share a recipe from, in this new year, as I had the pleasure of working closely with Danielle this past fall on the set of Access Hollywood. Danielle was a guest on a segment promoting this book and she asked if I would work as her food stylist for the shoot. This meant I shopped for and made all of the recipes from her book featured on the episode, from start to finish, plating the dishes, getting the set all prepped for the shoot and making it all pretty. (watch the segment here, check out the sweet plating, the props from my home collection and the pretty flowers, too while you’re there 😉 ) It was an incredible experience and also a ton of work. I now have an immense amount of respect for people that do this on the regular. More than anything, I was excited to get to get my hands dirty creating 3 of the delicious recipes from Danielle’s latest NY Times Best Seller.
For me one of the hardest things about blogging has been deciding how much of my personal life to share with my readers. As someone who seemingly only shares gluten-free recipes and the food I am eating, it is quite hard between this site and the various social media outlets, to not let my personal life seep in now and again. How could it not?
While having your life on display can be challenging at times, the incredible trade-off that I have found, both as a blogger and a regular reader of many blogs myself, are the many wonderful positive connections I have made with amazing people – all over the world. Especially through these bits of our personal lives being “out there”. Reading the words and stories of my fellow bloggers and the thoughtful comments of my own readers, have created so many beautiful and meaningful friendships – many with people whom I have never even met.
I met Danielle of Against All Grain several years ago through our blogs, after she had been commenting on my blog and vice versa. She has such a delightful, comforting and nurturing soul. I have always greatly admired the passion she has for sharing her story and her desire to help others gain control of their life and their health through eating.
When Danielle so bravely shared on her blog, her family’s news and journey with her recent pregnancy and then the loss of their daughter Aila Jane Walker, I wanted to reach through the screen, hold her in the tightest hug and cry with her. I wanted to help anyway I could, to show up at their doorstep with food, to comfort them and take care of them, the way Danielle has done for so many people, herself.
Here it is, the first of, I am sure, many, many pumpkin recipes for the season. If you haven’t noticed in years past, or if I haven’t made it clear enough, I am an absolute autumn junkie! I love just everything about it. Well everything except the part about summer being over. Living on the East Coast the fall is by far the most beautiful season of them all, the colors are incredible, the air has a crisp, cool breeze that feels like a dream, I get excited to pull out the fall boots, scarfs and other various layers and I plan lots of fun autumn activities for us. Fall is definitely the reminder that we are all getting ready to hunker down and get all cozy for the long winter ahead and somehow no one around here really minds, in fact in some ways it is welcomed with open arms and even celebrated. We haven’t even sold our house yet but I am sure of the fact that I am going to miss Autumn almost as much as my family, once we officially make the move to California.
For me, nothing celebrates all of the lovely things about Autumn better than a spiced pumpkin treat, so when Danielle of Against All Grain contacted me to share a recipe with her readers, and she gave me the list of dates, I had to choose today, September 22, the Autumnal Equinox. The perfect day to celebrate all things pumpkin!
I am sure most of you are, but if you aren’t familiar with Danielle’s incredible blog, Against All Grain, you MUST get yourself acquainted. Against All Grain celebrates and shares wonderful recipes that are entirely grain-free (and therefore consequently gluten-free), free of refined sugars, and low to minimal dairy. Danielle’s site is great for those that follow the Paleo, Primal, SCD, GAPS, and Gluten-Free lifestyles. Danielle wrote to ask me to share a post with her readers while she is off working on her Against All Grain cookbook that will be on shelves in Fall 2013 and I am so excited for her, I definitely plan to have that book in my collection!
These pumpkin pie tarts are quite simple to make (although it may seem like a lot of steps when you read the recipe) and they will knock the socks off any pumpkin lover. The crust is entirely grain-free made with almond flour and it has a hint of spices that make the house smell so lovely when they are baking. The pie filling is creamy and rich but without any dairy, which is amazingly unbelievable. Of course, I had to top these treats off with a little whipped coconut cream to round out the flavors perfectly.
This post was originally shared on Against All Grain. If you are looking for my quick and easy recipe for making your own pumpkin puree at home see my post here.
[print_this]Grain-free Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts (Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free)
(Makes 12 mini-tarts)
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup*
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight
- 1/4 cup maple syrup*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree (see my post on how to make your own, canned will also do)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- a pinch of ground cloves
- a dash of sea salt
Whipped Coconut Cream:
- 1 can organic full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (use more or less or none at all, or whatever your favorite sweetener is)*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
*Maple can be substituted 1:1 for honey if you follow SCD
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 cups in a muffin tin with paper liners (you could also use greased mini tart pans).
In a large bowl, add all of the crust ingredients and mix very well. Really get your hands in there to get it all together and work it into a nice dough.
Add the crust mixture to the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cup using your knuckles, going up the sides a tad bit.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then place the pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tarts and serve. (Many times I make the tart shells the night before and keep them in the fridge until I am ready to serve)
Drain the cashews and add them to your food processor and give them a whirl by themselves for a bit, to break them up and start turning them into a paste of sorts.
Once the cashews are broken up add in the maple syrup, vanilla and coconut oil, process that a bit more until it is a smooth and creamy paste.
Add in the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.
Whipped Coconut Cream:
Make sure that your can of coconut milk is well chilled. I recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight. Open the can of coconut milk carefully, keeping it level. There will be a firm, waxy layer of coconut cream that solidified on top. Carefully scoop this off into a chilled glass bowl. Keep the leftover coconut water, it is great for smoothies.
Using a mixer, whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy, with soft peaks. Mix in your maple syrup and vanilla, if you are using. Place the whipped coconut cream back into the fridge until you are ready to use. This may be more than what you need for all 12 tarts, depending on how much you put on top, but that’s ok, it keeps for several days, covered in the fridge.
ASSEMBLING THE TARTS:
Remove the paper liner off of the tart shells. Top each of the tart shells with a spoonful of the pumpkin filling and a dollop of whipped coconut cream, sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.