I’m baaaaaack! After taking a couple of months hiatus from the blog, I am back with a new fantastic recipe that is perfect for your upcoming summer BBQ party. I tell ya, if you’re the one who has been assigned desserts for the next pot-luck – this Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries is perfect! Decadent, creamy, cool and utterly satisfying, this pie will do the trick to win over the hearts of your friends and family. Of course, check about nut allergies before you bring it – wouldn’t want a serious allergic reaction to ruin your fun…
Who knew that chocolate and blueberries went so well together? Anyone? Anyone? Why have I never had this combo until now?!?!?!?! This combination is perfect, especially when the blueberries are fresh and from your local farmer. We have an earlier harvest season here on the West Coast compared to the East. And lucky us we get to have blueberries at a very reasonable cost so early in the summer.
Chocolate is back in my diet…in small amounts. How I was dealing as a new mother with no dark chocolate (or wine!) is beyond me! Seriously, as much as I love my kale, let’s be honest, it’s NOT chocolate. And everyone deserves some chocolate in their lives. I still have to watch my intake and not have too much or Baby A will be refluxing for several hours.
Every summer since we moved to British Columbia we go to an organic blueberry farm and pick blueberries. It’s only a half hour drive to get to the farm, which really is not far to have fresh blueberries in the fridge. We buy buckets full. And I mean buckets. Literally. My husband LOVES his berries and has to eat them every day. So we usually make to trips to pick, one near the beginning of the harvest and one near the end. The batch we buy at the end of the harvest gets pack and frozen so we can use the berries through the winter when the cost to buy them in the store is not affordable. It’s great for the family to get out picking, connect to nature and see how our food grows and gets to our table.
What about you and your family? Do you go blueberry, strawberry or even apple picking at harvest time?
Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries (Gluten-free & Vegan)
½ cup GF flour blend (I used Trader Joe's for this recipe)
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chis seeds soaked in ¼ cup water for 5mins until a thick gel
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 heaping tbsp coconut oil
1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for min 3hrs
¾ cup full fat coconut milk (Thai kitchen's brand has mini cans that work perfectly)
½ cup cocoa powder (again, don't skimp on this!)
¼ cup coconut sugar
1-2 cups of fresh, cleaned blueberries
Get your cashews soaking. Set aside and make crust.
Soak your dates in warm water for 15mins. In a food processor with an 'S' blade, take your pecans and walnuts and grind them until it resembles a meal-like texture. Place in medium sized bowl.
Next, take the soaked dates and drain water. Place in food processor and make into a paste, scraping sides with a spatula if necessary. Add to nut mixture along with remaining crust ingredients and mix until well blended.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take a 8" spring-form cake pan and grease with a little coconut oil.
Take your raw crust in a ball and place in the middle of the pan. Then gently press the dough around the bottom and sides of the pan until completely even & smooth.
Bake for 10-15mins, keeping an eye on it so that it does not burn. When done, let cool completely still in the pan before you put your filling in.
For the filling, drain water from cashews and place all cream filling ingredients in the food processor with and 'S' blade and blend until smooth. This can be done with a high powered blender as well. Once completely smooth, pour into cooled crust, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 4hrs to set.
When ready to serve, remove spring-form and allow the pie to thaw for 30mins or longer if it was in the freezer for more then4hrs. Pour blueberries on top. Using a sharp knife (run under hot water for 1min for a clean cut) cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!
Yesterday was our annual Tree Trimming Party. This is a tradition that my husband started when he was back in university where you invite you friends and family to your house and ask them not to bring anything but themselves and an ornament for the tree that represents themselves or their family. We of course provide all food and booze for the party. When we were in university, we were always a hit at Christmas…I am well aware why Now that we are “grown-ups” we know that people come because they like us, not for the booze.
I can truly say that this year was one of the best parties. This was Little Q’s first Tree Trimming party where he could help decorate the tree. He was loving all the kids that were there and playing with them. He still needs to grasp the concept of the Christmas balls. He literally went over to the tree, ripped a handful of balls off the tree and started whipping them down the hallway! He’ll get it soon enough, right?
I absolutely love this tradition and I am so grateful that my husband introduced it to me. What I love most about it is when people get creative with making their decorations from scratch. One year, our friend made a beautiful ornament from a ball of aluminum foil, pins, beads, cut outs from a glossy magazine and a ribbon – to this day I love hanging that ornament and think of her each time. This year’s favourite for me were the two silver stars made from twigs of the plum-tree in our friends’ backyard – their children helped make the ornaments and hung them on the tree. We keep a record of each ornament and who brought it to the party that year on the outside of the box when we pack it away. That way, we remember old and new friends and the honour it is to have them in our lives – regardless of whether we still see them or not.
I served the ’12 Days of Naughty made Nice’ at the party and everything seemed to be a hit! This recipe was especially well received. Out of the 12 days, this has to be the most expensive – which for me as a mom always on a food budget, is a big deal. However, I can justify it when I know the quality of the food is good, it’s a special treat and there is not a whole lot of crap in it – so my guests can feel guilt free about eating something that tastes like luxury. It was also one of the “show stoppers”…along with another recipe that will be posted very soon This concept came to me one day when I was thinking of ways to make a tart (a butter tart actually) and saw on Martha Stewart’s website that cranberry tarts are often served at this time of year. I was trying to find a way to make the base so that it wasn’t full of a pastry (often very difficult to make gluten-free) and remembered that I had some macadamia nuts left over in the fridge. Then BOOM! I thought about the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies my mother-in-law makes at Christmas that have cranberries in them and the concept was born…macadamia nut crust, lined with homemade white chocolate topped with cranberries. So pretty and so good. I hope you like them!
Process dates into a paste-like texture. Add to nut mixture. Mix well together.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large muffin tins lined with coconut oil take about 2 inches of dough and press into pan making individual tarts. Bake in oven for 10 - 15mins until tart crust has browned slightly. Set aside to cool.
Place cranberries, water, orange juice & zest and maple syrup in saucepan over medium heat.
Allow the cranberries to pop and the mixture to reduce a bit, stirring to make sure the mixture does not get stuck to pan. Once it looks more jam-like, remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on low heat, mix together cacao butter & maple syrup. With a spoon, take about 1 tsp of the homemade white chocolate mixture and gently line the macadamia nut crusts. Most of the white chocolate will fall to the bottom and that's ok! Let chocolate cool in fridge for about 15mins.
Place a large tablespoon of the cooled cranberry mixture into crusts. Cover and remove from tins when ready to serve. Enjoy the compliments!