Healthy Harvest Baking


Grapefruit Pound Cake

Malorie DavisA good pound cake recipe is one that every home cook or entertainer should have in their repertoire. It's appropriate for almost every kind of occasion and has so many pairing possibilities. Pound cake would fit in nicely on a brunch table, served with tea, cubed and added to a trifle, or for dessert.

It's ideal for entertaining, as it can be a beautiful centerpiece. It's also convenient to make this on a weekend and keep throughout the week for afternoon snacking. I'd even eat it for breakfast with coffee.

The best part about a citrus pound cake is that you can use any citrus you have on hand. While red grapefruit is my current favorite because it is unique, this same recipe can be made with lemon, orange or lime.

grapefruit poundcake

Lemon is a crowd pleaser; It can be paired with seasonal fruits and whipped cream. Orange can be a showstopper when paired with chocolate sauce. Lime is fun for summer and especially lovely paired with blackberries.

I use Greek yogurt in this recipe to reduce some of the butter. It makes for a perfect pound cake texture. I use good quality butter, as it has many health benefits as well. Plus, it would be hard to imagine a delicious pound cake without that buttery flavor.

I also used sprouted flour for health purposes, but any all-purpose flour can be used. I did not omit the sugar, but I don't add an additional glaze after baking. This cake is fresh and satisfying, one for the books.

grapefruit poundcake

Grapefruit Pound Cake

Yields 1 Cake.

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used sprouted white)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp grapefruit zest from large grapefruit

Wet:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, plus pulp
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled (or oil)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, thoroughly grease a 10-15' bundt pan (or 9 x 9 square pan) with butter or coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, grapefruit zest. Whisk until combined and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, Greek yogurt, and granulated sugar. Gently pour in 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice, milk, and cooled butter or oil. Gently stir together.
  4. Carefully pour wet ingredients into large bowl of dry ingredients. Use large rubber spatula to gently combine, avoid over-mixing the batter.
  5. Transfer cake batter into the greased bundt pan. Make sure oven rack is in middle of oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out with little crumbs.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then, turn out onto your serving dish.
  7. Slice and serve as desired.

Notes:

  • When juicing the grapefruit, be sure to squeeze the flesh to get bits of pulp throughout your cake.
  • Will keep in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. Freezes very well.

Photos property of Malorie Harris.

Strawberry Season Pie

Malorie DavisStrawberry season is upon us and what a wonderful time it is. Growing up in Southern California, where the growing conditions for berries are ideal, I was spoiled with plump and sweet strawberries throughout spring and summer. The local u-pick is not far from home and its always worth more than one trip per season. As soon as you step out of the car, you can smell the ripe-for-picking berries basking in the hot sun. It's dreamy!

The hardest part about picking strawberries is that they're so unbelievably delicious; part of you wants to enjoy them fresh because they're perfect, but the other part of you wants to bake something for the special occasion of having impeccable fruit at your disposal. It's really a battle in your mind, heart and stomach.

Here's my solution: Strawberry Pie. No longer do we need to fret over the question of baking or consuming as is. Fresh berries, a flavor enhancing component, and a baked pie crust. Not without the company of a fluffy and slightly sweet cream topping. It's all your hearts desires of the season in one pie slice.

I use a traditional pie crust to appropriately compliment the freshness of the berries and the healthiest version of whipped cream, coconut cream with honey. Balance is key in this one. The jam I use is sweetened only with fruit instead of refined sugar. Although, sometimes I use honey. Graham cracker crust (or gluten-free graham cracker crust) is another great alternative for this recipe. I like to pile the strawberries high. It's a sight for sore eyes.

strawberry pie
Photo property of Malorie Harris.

Strawberry Season Pie

Yields 1 Pie.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1-1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Cup ice water
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cubed

For the filling:

  • 3/4 Cups strawberry jam, no sugar added
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
  • 2 lbs. of strawberries, or 1-2 cups more if desired

For the topping:

  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. It is important to make the coconut cream first, to allow time to set in the refrigerator, as it becomes firmer as it chills. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the coconut cream until very soft peaks form. This will take approximately 5 minutes. Then, beat in the honey and vanilla. The cream will seem too thin at this point. Store in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The cream will be more stiff and easy to dollop when its done.
  2. While the coconut cream is chilling, heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and place it on a sheet pan. To make the dough, add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Then, cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or with your fingertips. Do this until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the ice water and form until the dough becomes a loose ball. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes or more. Then, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, to make a 12-13" circle. Turn it frequently and add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Gently roll the dough around your rolling pin and transfer it to your prepared pie pan. Press the dough evenly on the bottom and into the sides. Trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang using kitchen shears, and fold under. Then, crimp with your fingers or press with a fork, whichever design you prefer. I've been in a fork mood lately. I like my pies rustic looking.
  5. Using a fork, poke holes in the bottom on the crust and on the sides. This helps prevent bubbles in the crust as it bakes.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash on the edges of the pie crust, to create a golden sheen as it bakes.
  7. Place the unbaked pie crust in your freezer for at least thirty minutes, or until well chilled and firm. Then, bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the bottom is cooked through and the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  8. While the crust is cooling, make the filling. In a bowl, whisk together the water and gelatin. Then, in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the jam and the gelatin mixture. Do not boil but bring to a simmer and let it cook for just 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden or rubber spoon. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest. Set aside to cool completely.
  9. Once the jam mixture and pie crusts are completely cooled, add the strawberries to the jam mixture and toss to coat. Then, pour into the pie crust, piling as high as you'd like.
  10. Serve the pie at room temperature or chilled with a dollop of cream. The pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for only 2-3 days.

Notes:

  • To simplify this recipe, use a pre-made pie crust.
  • Any fruit jam will work. Although strawberry enhances the pie, I have used peach jam and received just as many compliments. A rhubarb jam would be delicious as well.

Cranberry Walnut Pie

Malorie DavisI worked as a pastry chef for several years before becoming a nutrition counselor. After culinary school, I skipped around the country working as a line cook, breakfast cook, pastry chef, executive chef and pastry chef again. I ended up with an unexpected reward at the end of it all – interesting friends all over the country. The most valued friend I gained, and probably the most interesting, would be a fellow pastry chef. Long story short, we keep in contact today mostly by speaking of food, a little about our lives, and sharing recipes. We're like foodie pen-pals.

A few weeks ago, she baked a cranberry and walnut pie and sent me a photograph of it. It was one of those moments when I knew I had to get the recipe and try it for myself. The same feeling you get when you see a recipe in a magazine that stands out, so you immediately rip out the page. I asked if I could tweak the recipe to make it a bit healthier, which I did and it turned out lovely. Anytime I enjoy one of her ideas or recipes, I can imagine us back at our old summer job, eating and giggling together in the lunch room.

I plan to make this pie for Thanksgiving, and I hope you do, too. Although my family is unbeatable and our Thanksgivings are always special, I wish I could sit down to such a feast at a large table with all my friends from across the country. A hunting buddy would bring the wild turkey from Montana and a friend from Vermont might roast root vegetables from her farm. My dearest friend would make this pie. As she suggests, it would be served with pumpkin ice cream.

Cranberry Walnut Pie | Rachael Bratene, www.SteerYourOwnShip.com 

Photo: Rachael Brantene, www.SteerYourOwnShip.com

CRANBERRY WALNUT PIE
Yields 2 pies.

Homemade pie crust recipe of your choice, prepared. Should be enough for two pies. Press into pie tins.
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of salt
4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped 

Preheat your oven to 425 F.

In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all ingredients, except cranberries and walnuts. 

Divide the cranberries and walnuts into the two prepared pie tins. 

Pour the wet mixture over the cranberries and walnuts, divided evenly. 

Place pie tins on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for 35 minutes more. 

Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with pumpkin ice cream. 

Apple Groaning Cake

Malorie DavisGroaning cake is an ancient cake that carries folklore along with it. As tale and tradition would have it, the cake is meant to be prepared and consumed after the birth of a child. Some people even believe the scent of the cake baking in the oven helps labor symptoms or that cracking the eggs while in labor will make it go faster. Other than that, I don't know too much about it so I won't pretend that I do. Judging by the name, I'd say it has something to do with easing pains or being a source of comfort and I can vouch for that.

October is prime apple season here in Southern California. It's a tradition of mine and my mother's to drive up to the nearest mountain town during apple harvest and visit the many orchards and store-fronts. This year, we got to take my daughter for the first time, which made it extra-special. We always indulge in the cider donuts and taste the many different ciders and apples. Then, we take a couple bags of our favorite pick of the day for baking and enjoying at home. I've been using those apples for many things the past few weeks and this groaning cake was my favorite.

picking apples 

I found a recipe for groaning cake in a cookbook I flipped through while antique shopping. The book smelled and looked 100 years old or more. The recipes and housekeeping tips were just as old-timey. The recipe in the book listed orange juice, and I soon found out that it's traditional. I decided to change things up a bit and used apple cider as the liquid, and I also made the cake gluten-free. I think you'll find this recipe a delight, especially enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea. Whether you've just given birth or not.

Apple Groaning Cake 

Photo: Rachael Bratene, www.SteerYourOwnShip.com

APPLE GROANING CAKE

1 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs
2 cups peeled and grated apples

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Generously grease a Bundt pan with butter or coconut oil; set aside.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

Pour cake batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the center is tested with a toothpick and comes out clean.

Persimmon Fritters

Malorie DavisPart of living a sustainable lifestyle is sharing with your neighbor. With that of course, come gifts from thy neighbor. For a number of reasons, it’s nice to know you can count on the people close to you. I am starting to grow my own here in California after relocating from Wyoming, but I don’t have it all. Persimmons are in season here, and several people I know have plenty. I would much rather take a basket of the season's finest from a neighbor or friend and repay them with treats, than buy the waxed and unripe persimmons from the grocery store.

I make a few different things with the nutrition-packed fruit, including chocolate chip cookies, but I also wanted to make something new and different. Maybe it was the large jar of coconut oil I had on hand, but somehow I landed on the idea of Persimmon Fritters. A good idea it was.

Much like an apple or peach fritter, the persimmons are diced and mixed into a simple batter. I chose to make mine gluten-free and the texture was spot-on. Persimmons make for a very rich and sweet fritter, so I like to enjoy them with a bit of tart jam. Also, you could add another fruit to balance out the flavor. Blueberries would be lovely. These fritters are incredibly easy and quick to throw together and they make a large amount. Perfect for sharing with neighbors.

Persimmon Fritters 

Persimmon Fritters

1  3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tablespoon baking powder
1  1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground or fresh ginger
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk or almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
2 cups persimmons, peeled and diced small
Coconut oil for frying
Maple syrup or confectioners' sugar for serving

  • In a large pot, heat enough coconut oil for the fritters to be submerged, over medium heat.

  • While the oil is heating up, combine all ingredients in one bowl thoroughly, folding in the persimmons last.

  • Using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Do 3 or 4 fritters at a time, careful not to overcrowd the pot.

  • Fry for 1 minute, then flip the fritters over and fry for another minute, or until both sides are golden brown.

  • Remove fritters from the oil and drain on a towel.

  • Repeat, using all of the batter.

  • Brush each fritter with maple syrup before serving, or dust with confectioners' sugar.

  • I like to serve mine with pomegranate or plum jam.

Pumpkin Cornbread

Malorie DavisIt’s officially here. All of the wonders of fall and the month of October are upon us, and I don’t know anyone who isn’t happy about it. This marks the start of our most comforting memories. Sure, most people wait the whole year for summer and all of its bounty, but there’s no denying the sentimental feelings you get when you see the trees turning or use your fireplace for the first time. Many of us are still busy harvesting and preserving, which is exciting enough. This season also brings cozy sweaters out of the closet, warm meals and more nights in. Of course, I can’t go on without mentioning that fall brings us the ever so popular pumpkin-flavored everything.

As a former pastry chef turned homemaker and avid home baker, for me fall is arguably the most glorified season. Although December holidays put up a good fight, the smells and tastes of October and November are my favorites. Americans especially have grown to adore pumpkin-flavored treats and other cozy tastes and spices of this season. Take a look online for a moment or a peek into any American restaurant or coffee shop menu, and you’re sure to see pumpkin this and pumpkin that. With the amount of work I do researching food online, I sometimes wonder if people try to incorporate pumpkin into everything.

For those of you with pumpkins growing in your backyard garden or farm, bravo and happy preserving to you! Fresh puréed pumpkin does in fact make a world of difference in recipes. If you aren’t so lucky, store-bought pumpkins are fine and canned pumpkin-puree will do, just as long as there are no questionable added ingredients.

As I mentioned, I am a former pastry chef. It’s probably true that I’ve made hundreds of different items into a pumpkin version. At the beginning of this season, I was lacking inspiration. I needed something new. Rather, something old-fashioned but new to me. Wild game chili sparked my idea for this pumpkin cornbread. It can be served buttered with warm maple syrup, or with chili or other stews. It’s extremely simple and just as versatile. You can use this recipe all season long and into the holidays!

Pumpkin Cornbread 

Pumpkin Cornbread

1 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup gluten-free cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal, optional

  • Preheat your oven to 400 F and grease an 8-by-8 glass baking dish or a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet with coconut oil.

  • In a medium sized bowl, mix the rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cornmeal, and flaxseed meal with a fork until well combined.

  • In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, honey or maple, and molasses with a whisk until thoroughly combined.

  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture with a spatula and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared pan or skillet.

  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

  • Serve with butter or butter and maple syrup. Excellent with wild game chili.

Beetroot and Raspberry Chocolate Cake

Malorie DavisAfter a summer filled with bright, fruity, and light treats, I had a hankering for something more. The nights are getting cooler, and I’m almost ready for the warm comfort foods of fall and winter. Late summer harvest means some heartier fruits and vegetables are finding a temporary home in my kitchen. The last few weeks, I’ve been up to my ears (I’m not alone here) in zucchini. Now, raspberries and beets are making an appearance. 

 

chocolate cake
A slice of cake to celebrate the end of summer. 

Depending on your location, you might have to wait on those beets a bit longer. Either way, I know the question “what should I do with these beets?” will be asked in quite a few households across the world. You might preserve pickled beets, prepare a beet hash for eggs or steaks, or maybe try a new trendy beet salad. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that most of you won’t think, “beet chocolate cake.” The idea stems from the classic red velvet cake, as the traditional method was to use beet juice for the red coloring. As it turns out, the flesh of the beetroot proves that it should be a star in the cake as well. Making the cake moist, interesting and rich. I almost wish I never made a chocolate cake without it.

Raspberries lend a fresh and brightening hand, raising the bar for chocolate cakes everywhere. I also use avocado to replace the fat in the frosting. If you’re not lucky enough to be near avocado growing weather (I am in sunny Southern California) then, you can use any frosting or glaze you fancy.

I use coconut and almond flours in this cake, to please the many Americans going grain-free, and to make it available to those sensitive to gluten. It’s also free of refined sugars and gets its sweetness from raw honey and pure maple syrup. Some might think of that as extreme, I like to think of it as making extremely good use of my late summer harvest. After all, beetroot and raspberries are really the stars of the show here.

Oh wait, did I mention that it is densely and deliciously packed with healthy dark chocolate? That’s right. As if the abundant tastiness from your garden isn’t enough, I added a hefty amount of chocolate. It’s sure to cure the most serious of chocolate cravings. Let’s all have a slice of cake to celebrate the end of summer, shall we?

Beetroot and Raspberry Chocolate Cake

For the cake:
2 beetroots, cooked and grated with a cheese grater
4 eggs
1/2 cup olive or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1  1/2 cups almond milk (can sub regular milk)

For the frosting:
1 avocado
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease 2 round 8-inch cake pans with coconut oil or butter; set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, eggs, vanilla and almond milk.

In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder with a whisk. Make sure the mixture is thoroughly mixed and all one color. Stir in the grated beetroot.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the frosting. Combine all ingredients, except for the almond milk, with a hand mixer on medium-high until smooth and free of lumps. Then, add the almond milk and mix until smooth.

Divide the frosting in half into two separate bowls. In one bowl, mix in the fresh raspberries.

Once the cakes are baked and they have cooled in the pans completely, turn one cake out onto your cake plate. Top with the raspberry frosting.

Turn out the second cake on top of the raspberry frosting and top the cake with the remaining frosting. Let stand or chill in the refrigerator until set.

Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.