My apologies for being sporadic last week. I am working full force on the Fall Issue of NOURISHED magazine and super excited about how vibrant it is looking to be! More on it later this week as it gets released in digital and print versions. But, while I take a breather from layouts and editor's note, I thought I would stop by this happy place of mine and share some love with my latest bake..
I have been doing a fair bit of gluten free baking and there are several recipes especially those using nut flours that naturally lend themselves to grain free living. But, the nut I use the most and try to extract the most of is Almonds. I love them. They are indeed my favorite nut and so, using it in as many ways as I can think is sheer pleasure.
Last time, I told you about cracking the whole almond pulp thing and making it stretch beyond just the milk. Ever since I started making my own almond milk, for more than a year now, I have been crafting ways to use it in ways other than granola. These have rested in fudge brownies, deep dark truffles and awesome tart crusts. One thing I failed on time and again was in making cakes.
In my mind, this is how it worked. Squeeze almond pulp as dry as you can and then adjust liquid measure added to get to batter consistency. It seemed rather straight forward. Right? Wrong! The wetness quite never got baked out. It was always soggy inside. The outside would come out just fine and I'd get my hope high only to find the middle like sodden heather. Mulch! Not pleasant, I'll say. Yet, for some stubborn reason (I am a scorpio, see), I would continue testing more of it in its wet state. Eventually, I realized I was simply wasting too many good ingredients after bad damp flour.
Then, when those tarts came out real nice, I decided to bring back that hope. This time, with the dehydrated and re-floured version. Smack on head! Duh! Why did I not do that before? Oh yeah, I know. Mulish. That's me. Anyway, needless to say, the chemistry worked as it should. In that, in its dry form, the flour of almond pulp behaved simply as almond meal, from simply grinding the nuts into powder, would. And the glorious rise of the cake in the oven was not marred by the flop of damp center. Hallelujah!
So, to make the almond dust, all you need is a bit of time and patience. If you don't have a dehydrator, like me, the oven is a great tool. Simply stick it on low around 175F and leave it there for a few hours. The pulp shrivels up, becomes crusty and look nothing like a light, airy flour. But once you whiz it through a processor, it looks a lot finer. A word of caution; Do not try to speed up the process by drying for less time at higher temperature. I did! Of course, you can trust me to look for shortcuts. It simply zaps the thing into burnt oblivion. Sad, but true!
Once you have the flour as back to its powdered form, you'll see it is actually finer in texture than the meal but it works in equal measures in regular recipes and you can substitute 1:1 with regular flour.
Now, with that, I'll leave you with the recipe for an Almond and Peach Cake. I would recommend grabbing of the last peaches in your market before the frost settles in to make this. On the note of fading seasonal produce, I froze fruits for the first time this year. I am rather kicked about all this forethought and am warmly looking forward to baking with berries and peaches in the middle of Winter and toasting to my smartness.
So, while I bask in my own far-sightedness for a bit, any suggestions of cooking/baking with home frozen fruit? Would love to try your favorites. Please do leave me a note, send a mail or link to your recommendations below. Thank you very much!! :))
Have a great week. I will be back with more Fall inspirations next!
Meanwhile, you can download the Spring and Summer issues of NOURISHED to get a taste of the magazine, using the links on the side! Cheers!
One Year Ago:
Four Years Ago:
Almond and Peach Cake
(makes a 5 inch cake, perfect for 2-3)
For the cake:
3/4 cup dehydrated almond pulp or almond meal
3/4 tsp baking soda
5 T full fat yogurt
1 T melted butter or olive oil
1 white peach, skinned and chopped 1/2 inch cubes
1-1/2 T honey
1/4 tsp salt
For the frosting:
1/4 cup yogurt for frosting
1 T tsp honey for frosting
1 T lime juice for peach marinade
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix together all the cake batter ingredients other than the peaches.
Fold in half the peach slices into the batter.
Pour batter into prepared 5 inch cake tin and bake for 25 minutes until browned and springy.
Meanwhile, marinade the remaining peaches in the lime juice and set aside.
When the cake is completely cooled, prepare the yogurt frosting by whipping it with the honey and a pinch of salt. Spread on top of the cooled cake, finishing with the marinated peaches. Drizzle with a little honey and serve.