on nature relation,
self care, well being
and becoming whole
Most of my readers know me as a passionate Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, Health Educator and Reiki Energy Healer. What many do not know is that I was a professional pastry chef and baker for over a decade in my early adulthood. I originally trained in a baking cooperative in Eugene, Oregon, apprenticing in the art of classical Viennese and French pastry baking. I learned from a group of rather eccentric Oregon hippies who were serious artists when it came to fine baking. We were The Fine Baking Company. In my time as a a baker, I helped design and set up several bakeries and pastry kitchens.
When I left baking to stay home and raise my young children, I found opportunities to make delectable creations for birthdays, anniversaries and a few weddings. As the years passed and I struggled with chronic asthma and allergies, I moved away from refined sugars, ditched all dairy and in the past several years became gluten-free.
Being gluten-free was initially difficult. I am allergic to corn and sorghum which is in many gluten free flour mixes. So, I never use pre-mixed gluten-free flours or eat gluten-free breads. Being gluten-free and dairy-free has been a great inspiration for me to come up with yummy and healthier alternatives to fine desserts. The below recipe for the quinoa torte is wonderful and no one would ever suspect they are not eating a cake made with flour or a rich chocolate ganache that is not made with heavy cream or butter.
I must admit something. My mother was one of the best pie bakers on the planet. I have been picking blackberries and wild black raspberries with my father since I was a young girl, growing up in Iowa. I learned the art of flaky pie crust from my mother; the real-deal flaky crust with no sugar sprinkled on top-ever. I love, love love the sensory experience of eating the perfect pie crust with the perfect fruit filling. I have experimented with gluten-free pie crusts. I tried one with sorghum and it was flaky, but being in the corn family, I couldn't handle it. I will admit that about once a year, I risk it and eat a small piece of pie made with gluten. I make it with white spelt flour and either monkfruit sweetener or coconut sugar. I invite my friends to share and I eat a slice. It may be blackberry in the summer or apple pie at Thanksgiving. I take Enzymetica Gluten Ease digestive enzymes with my pie to help me digest the gluten. I find it also helps to make sure I eat it with great love and gratitude. I say, "I take you in, as a blessing and in gratitude and allow you to come into my body and do the good works you are going to do." There is nothing more powerful then adding a little Mind-Body Medicine into everything you eat. Enjoy the two recipes below.
Chocolate Quinoa Torte (with Blackberries)
(Makes a 2-layer torte (you can also make 2 single layer cakes)
2 cups soft, cooked quinoa (approximately 3/4 cup dry quinoa will yield 2 cups cooked quinoa.)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or preferred milk)
4 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 & 2/3 cup organic coconut sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Coconut Cream Ganache
2 (13.5 ounce) can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
2 cups dark chocolate chips (as dark a % as you like)
Blackberries for Decoration
1/2- 1 cup Fresh Blackberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two round cake pans (or a 9x13” pan) with parchment paper or oil and flour pans with gluten-free flour.
In a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, preferred milk and vanilla extract, and blend for ten seconds.
Add 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa along with the melted and cooled coconut oil and olive oil- blend until completely smooth, about thirty seconds to one minute.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl (cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt).
Refrigerate the coconut milk for several hours or overnight (in the coldest part of your refrigerator) so that the cream separates.
When ready, melt the chocolate in a sauce pan over low heat or in a stainless steel bowl over a double boiler. Take coconut milk from the fridge without shaking the can. Open and scoop out the solid parts with a spoon, placing them into the pot with the melted chocolate. Try to get as much of the thicker portions of solid coconut cream as possible. (Do not use the liquid) Melt the coconut cream and chocolate together until smooth and thick. Use a wire whisk to beat and thicken the ganache to a spreadable consistency. The Ganache thickens very quickly, but if it is too warm, you may briefly pace in fridge to cool and then get whipping it again until smooth and thick.
Transfer the cake layers to a surface for icing. They are fragile, so handle with care. Even if cake layers crack or break, no worries, just piece them together like a puzzle and all with congeal once iced. Ice top of first layer, then place on second layer and work your way icing down from top layer to sides of torte.
Frost the torte using a good, flat icing knife. Place blackberries on torte wherever your creativity takes you. Place torte in cool place until ready to serve or room temp is fine for several hours if it is not too hot.
Summer Blackberry Pie with Olive Oil Crust