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Coconut Berry Parfait with Granola

Coconut Berry Pafait

I’ve been making homemade granola for years. Most of the pre-packed granolas out there are loaded with sugar and contain three or more types of sweeteners. With just a few ingredients, it’s so simple to make that I see no point in buying it.

Last March my husband and I stole away to DC for the weekend. We love experiencing a place from the locals perspective and rented a quaint garden apartment in Capital Hill for our stay. The hosts wowed us with welcome gifts and even made us homemade granola. We vowed to never stay in a hotel again. But back to the granola… It was the absolute perfect combination of sweet and salty. I of course asked for the recipe and discovered the secret was in the coarse sea salt. I love how one ingredient can make a profound difference.

Oats are one of those controversial foods. Do they provide enough nutrition? Are they actually harming my digestion? Many are wary and steer clear. I find that as long as they are eaten occasionally and in small quantities no harm is done to my body. Mark Sisson outlines the pros and cons of this food on his informative post. Check it out if you’re on the fence about consuming them.

The largest concern with oats is the phytic acid content. Phytic acid is present in beans, seeds, nuts, grains and some fruits and vegetables. And seeds and bran have the highest sources. It tightly binds together with minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium forming phytate. This binding blocks the body’s ability to absorb any nutrition. We’re missing all the punch of these essential minerals.

Not only do phytates prevent assimilation, they also contain enzymes that are difficult for our digestive systems to break down. It is possible to ease the pain though. Phytates are always present with phytase in foods, which is the enzyme that collapses phytic acid. It unlocks the nutrition. The key is in the preparation. Grains must be soaked in an acidic medium and then thoroughly cooked. The phytase will be released and break down some of the harmful phytates.

Acid mediums include:
-Dairy based such as whey, whole milk kefir, cultured buttermilk and whole milk yogurt
-Non-dairy such as lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar and coconut milk kefir or water kefir

Be sure to select the right kind of oats. Skip the steel-cut oats and go for the rolled variety. The rolling process removes part of the bran, which is where the phytic acid resides.

I did not soak the oats for this recipe. Since the granola is used more as a topping than the main attraction, I did not think it necessary. I know that I did not receive optimal benefits from the oats though and will remake this recipe soon using apple cider vinegar as the soaking agent. Let me how it works out if you give it a try.

Coconut Berry Pafait
Coconut Berry Pafait
Makes 8 servings.

Granola:
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 ½ cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp coconut oil
½ vanilla bean

Coconut Custard:
1 can coconut milk 
3 large eggs – beaten
2 bay leaf
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp maple syrup

fresh blueberries
fresh raspberries
1/2 cup coconut cream (leave 1 can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge for 12 hours – the milk will firm and make it easy to whip)

►Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
►Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
►Mix shredded coconut, oats and salt in a large bowl.
►Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the bean from the pod.
►In a small saucepan, cook the coconut oil, honey, vanilla bean and pod over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod. Pour over the oat mix and blend until all is evenly coated.
►Spread over the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes for even cooking.

►Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl and place near the stove.
►Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the bean from the pod.
►Combine coconut milk, bay leaf, maple syrup, vanilla bean and pod in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a slow boil. Cook for five more minutes until think enough to coat the back of a spoon.
►Discard the vanilla pod. Carefully ladle a spoonful of coconut mixture into the beaten eggs. Whisk quickly to combine. You’ll have to move fast to prevent the eggs from clumping. Once it has formed a smooth mixture, pour this into the remaining coconut mixture in the saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool and place in fridge for 1 hour.

►Once well chilled, loosely fold coconut cream into the custard.
►To assemble the parfait, layer the berries, custard and granola in small glasses. Serve and enjoy!

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