Gluten free - grain free - dairy free - refined sugar free - vegetarian - contains egg and nuts
I'm excited about this one! I'm rather partial to a nice sugary coated nut! Here's a wonderfully Christmassy version of sugar coated nuts....made with Coconut Sugar rather than refined sugar.
Coconut Sugar is made by tapping the stems of the coconut palm, extracting the sap, and then dehydrating it at very low temperatures. This minimal amount of processing produces a nutrient and mineral-rich product with a great toffee-like taste. It has a low GI (about 35, compared with refined sugar's 68), providing a slow energy release for your body. It's also a very sustainable product- once a stem is tapped, it flows for the next 20 years. You can use it measure-for-measure to replace sugar in baking.
Coating the nuts with egg white produces a crispy-crunchy coating and the spices I've used just scream 'Christmas' to me...I hope you love them as much as I do!
Gluten free - dairy free - refined sugar free - additive free - vegetarian - grain free option available
I can already here you asking... Why is an Aussie blogger writing a pumpkin pie recipe? Settle in and let me tell you a little more about me. This one's going to be from the heart.
You may remember from my Kau Kau Bake Recipe that I grew up in Papua New Guinea. For six of those years I lived in a little town called Ukarumpa. It was basically a little American oasis in the middle of the Mountains of PNG! There were people from all over the world who congregated there and made it their home, but US Citizens were definitely the majority. My best friend was American. I learnt much of the American way of life from her and her family. I ate Pringles chips and Hershey's chocolate and Skittles lollies before it they had ever been heard of in Australia. I learnt how to roll my R's and elongate my vowel sounds (to this day I struggle to not break into my suedo-American accent when I run into an American). And we celebrated Thanksgiving.
Now, to be honest, I don't know much about the history of Thanksgiving- I know it has something to do with the early Pilgrims and Native American Indians helping them survive. And the celebration of the first plentiful harvest. And pumpkin and corn. (I apologise to my American readers for my simplification of the history!).
What I DO know is that giving thanks is life-changing. Focusing on being thankful for what I have instead of what I don't have is part of the key to a contented life.
And because of this, Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November has become an important part of my own family's annual celebrations. We make pumpkin pie and a big roast dinner. We talk about all the good things in our life and we write a letter to God saying thank you for all the things we can possibly think of that we're grateful for. It usually takes a long time.
My thankful list will always include that I got to grow up in such a rich cultural environment with such amazing people and experiences that money can't buy. And that I've had the privilege of visiting my best friend and her family in America a number of times now. Some of those trips have been timed to be there for Thanksgiving- to share in this special celebration with my 'second family'.
Here's the spread the last time we were there.....
If you've never tried Pumpkin Pie before, you simply MUST! It is a sweet, dessert-style pie and even my pumpkin-hating children love pumpkin pie!
For the pastry, you can use my Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry recipe. I use organic butter when I make this pastry, but if you're strictly dairy free, you can use Nuttelex or another dairy free spread (even though I don't really advocate using the stuff!). When I need to make a completely gluten AND dairy free pie crust, that does not need a 'lid', I use Jude Blereau's Almond Pastry recipe from her book 'Wholefoods'. This is the pasty in my pictures, and I will write it out here for you. The only change I've made to her recipe is that I use coconut oil where she calls for almond oil.
Scroll down to the 'variation' right at the end of this post for the grain-free option.
And now for the pumpkin filling. I had an old recipe given to me in handwritten form by a lady in PNG, that I've modified to make it dairy and refined sugar free....
Gluten free - grain free - dairy free - refined sugar free - additive free - vegetarian
Banana flour is a gluten free flour, but has a few advantages over other gluten free flours. Firstly, it's not only gluten free but also grain free- great for all you Paleo eaters out there! Secondly, it's not a nut-based gluten free flour- great for those with tree nut allergies). Thirdly, it's a Resistant Starch. My attempt to explain what this means is as follows: Resistant starch is resistant to the digestive enzymes in the stomach and small intestine, so it is not absorbed there like most other starches, and makes it all the way to the large intestine, acting like dietary fibre.
The benefits of this include:
-keeping your bowels 'regular'
-reducing the chance of colon cancer
-doesn't give your body an instant glucose hit like other starches, and then the associated sugar-low afterwards (ie it's very low G.I.)
-keeps you feeling full for longer
-reduces fat storage after a meal that it is consumed
-promotes increased mineral absorption compared to other starches, especially calcium and magnesium
-promotes good bacteria off the gut (they can feed off it)
No other food contains as much resistant starch per serve as bananas! Second in the running is rolled oats.
Unlike many other gluten free flours that require altering recipes drastically to achieve the non-gluten-free comparison, it's easy to replace regular flour in your favourite recipes. You use 3/4 cup of banana flour for every cup of wheat flour in the recipe, make sure you use baking powder or soda, and add one extra egg (or equivalent soaked chia seeds).
This recipe was a childhood favourite of mine. We called it Sultana Slice and it's in a hand-written in a book of recipes I transcribed from my Mum's when I left home. I've been wanting to give it a gluten/dairy/sugar-free make over for a long time and the banana flour has helped to keep it excitingly close to the original taste and texture.
And, by the way, it doesn't taste like banana! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!