Pumpkin Creme Brûlée


As pumpkin season comes to a close, I’m squeezing in all those recipes I ambitiously jotted down just as the leaves began to change. The leaves have found their way to the pavement and I’m soon calling it quits on fall flavors. Christmas decorations began creeping in weeks ago so Thanksgiving is the absolute cut-off.

At my Granny’s house, there is a tradition of dessert assortment that puts any extravagant cruise ship buffet to shame. Two tables covered in desserts. It’s not Thanksgiving without 14 pies – fruit, chess and creme topped with meringue, 3 cheese cakes, pralines and bread pudding with two sweet sauces. No wonder I had an eating disorder. It’s impossible to say no to all that sugar. Sugar is my worst best friend. If it’s in front of me, it taunts me, calling my name, causing a battle between my best intentions and desires. And sometimes you just have to eat the sugar. I find when I allow myself to give into the temptations I’m much happier and my body relaxes.Pumpkin Creme Brulee

So every year I indulge in the sugar. And I wanted to create a dessert that falls into my dietary guidelines. This creme brûlée is actually healthy, filled with eggs, coconut milk and pumpkin. You have a good mix of protein, carbs and fat. If you can bear to omit the maple syrup, this would be a great breakfast too. But that would be sinful on Thanksgiving.

Remember to save room for sugar.

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

Makes 4 servings.

4 egg yolks
½ cup pumpkin – canned or fresh
½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla
¾ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp orange zest
⅛ tsp salt
1 tbsp maple sugar – I use Coombs Family Farms brand

►Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
►Beat egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together well.
►Pour into 4 ramekins, evenly distributing.
►Place ramekins in a baking dish deep enough to meet the lip of the ramekins. Fill the dish halfway with warm water.
►Bake for 25 minutes, until just set in the middle but still jiggling a bit.
►Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
►Before serving, remove from fridge and let sit for 10 minutes. Then sprinkle maple sugar on top of each. Caramelize with a kitchen torch or under a broiler. Serve and dig in! I ate mine in .5 seconds.

This would be fabulous as a pie filling too!

Roasted Peaches with Honey Meringue

Roasted Peaches with Honey Meringue

It’s September. So I’ll be eating large quantities of summer fruit until the very last day of harvest. Peaches are still available in my local market and I wanted to create a dessert that brought out their full flavor. The best way to do this is by slow roasting until the juices burst through the skin.

In my dairy-days I would have reached for plain vanilla ice cream to top off this dessert. Alas, those days are done. Dairy is my primary food intolerance. I tried convincing myself for years that one bite here and there wouldn’t hurt. I’ve learned the hard way.  Dairy and I mix as well as democrats and republicans. We make a slight attempt at reconciliation and then decide its best to be separated at all times.

Coconut is the closest way to replicate the creaminess of dairy. It’s rich, smooth and thick enough to satisfy my craving. The only problem is that my husband despising anything coconut. How do I create a creamy topping for both of us to enjoy? Then I thought of meringue. But of course!

Lactose intolerance is a real bummer. Most of the world’s population is not able to enjoy a three scoop sundae without some discomfort. This is all tied to your genes. Your ability to break down lactose is largely dependent upon where your ancestors hail. According to a UC Berkeley study, around 10% of Americans, 10% of Africa’s Tutsi tribe, 50% of Spanish and French people, and 99% of Chinese lack the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose.

If you’re not into the whole meringue thing, these peaches would be incredible with a scoop of coconut ice cream.

Honey Meringue

Makes 2 servings.

2 egg whites
1 tbsp honey
1 large peach – cut in half, pit removed 

►Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
►Pour honey in a small saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until it turns a golden brown.
►Once the honey is done, bring it over to your mixing bowl of egg whites.
►Using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat eggs at medium speed in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Now with the mixer on high, very slowly stream in the honey mixture.
►Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

►Set oven to broil.
►Place peaches skin side down in a baking dish. Cook for 10 minutes.
►Top each peach half with a scoop of meringue.

Chia Sweet Potato Soufflé

Chia Sweet Potato Soufflé

My body craves carbs in the morning and I’m still trying to find a substitute for my pervious oatmeal morning ritual. I would strategically add in coconut flakes, sunbutter, fresh ginger, raw honey, cinnamon, raw cacao powder and vanilla. Then I would enjoy it as I sat at my inspiration place writing my journal. My oatmeal routine turned into an obsession so I’m now searching for a more nourishing replacement.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent vehicle for all the add-ins and toppings I love. Basically I want my breakfast to be a FroYo toppings bar. I just want the toppings. Thank you.

This recipe is my first attempt at finding an oatmeal substitute. It’s delicious. And provides the perfect combo of carbs, protein and sweet to start the day. Chia Sweet Potato Soufflé

Makes 4 servings.

2 eggs
1 vanilla bean pod
14.5 ounces coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups), canned
1/2 cup water
1 medium sweet potato, boiled until soft
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of sea salt
1/4 cup chia seeds
garnish with sliced almonds, chopped pecans or a sprinkling of cinnamon (optional)

►Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and set aside near your stove.

►Split open the vanilla bean and scrap out the seeds.

►In a saucepan, bring coconut milk, water, vanilla seeds and pod to a slow boil over medium high heat. Keep stirring to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

►When the mixture begins to simmer, stir more briskly and keep simmering for five minutes.

►Remove the vanilla pod and discard. Place your bowl of whisked eggs near the stove and carefully ladle a spoonful of coconut mixture into it. Stir 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.

►Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour into a blender with the sweet potato. Blend until combined. Then add cinnamon, sea salt and chia seeds, pulsing until evenly mixed.

►Divide into four small jars and store covered in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Serve cold or hot by reheating over the stove. Top with crushed nuts, coconut flakes or chopped dried fruit.

*Recipe adapted from Diane Sanfilippo’s Banana Vanilla Bean N’oatmeal (21DSD).