Friday, October 1, 2010

A Sweet Divorce

Last autumn, I divorced my sweets. It was no light decision. But I needed to get rid of one thing that was doing no good to anyone. I purged my pantry of refined sugar. It was one of the most healthful things I did for me and my family. 


We still love our desserts. Now, we use sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup,  molasses or palm sugar in carefully considered quantities. 

Another sweet staple in AK's Kitchen is agave nectar, which comes from agave plants native to Mexico. A fellow foodie in San Francisco turned me on to this “honey water” for its low glycemic index. 


With agave, a little goes a long way. I find agave to be almost twice as sweet as sugar. I use it in most recipes that call for sugar, and I usually reduce the amount to 75 per cent of what’s called for in the recipe.


My Little Black Dress of Desserts
Here is one cake recipe that’s like my little black dress. It’s great dressed up or dressed down. And it's almost effortless to make.  Just one bowl to mix, and one pan to bake. It contains no wheat and no dairy. It's also sugar-free. The recipe came to me from Tia, a dear friend and pastry chef who is also gluten and dairy free. She convinced me that gluten free food doesn’t have to taste like a shoebox.


TIA’S COCONUT RICE CAKE

½ cup agave
2 Tbsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 cup brown rice flour (or ½ c white rice flour + ½ c brown rice flour for a smoother texture)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1 can mandarin oranges
dried coconut for garnish
9-inch round pan
Banana leaves (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 C. If you have banana leaves, use two sheets to line the pan. Otherwise, butter the pan.
Mix agave and eggs in a bowl.
Add baking powder, flour, and salt.
Mix in coconut milk.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Garnish with mandarin segments and sprinkle with dried coconut.


You can easily switch up the flavours and make a savory cake. Simply reduce the agave and sprinkle your favourite  fresh herbs -- such as rosemary and thyme -- across the top before baking. Makes wonderfully fragrant biscuits.


I plan to make a dark chocolate-coconut version of this recipe on Saturday morning for some friends. I'll serve it with a pot of java. 




  


1 comment:

  1. You have to post the recipe for that amazing g-free carrot cake with "cream cheese" icing. The crowd it was served to thoroughly enjoyed it, and the taste and texture were even better than carrot cakes made with wheat flour.

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