Recipe Redux: Gluten-Free Spiced Caramel Apple + Pear Crêpe Cake


gluten-free spiced caramel apple + pear crepe cake // gratitude and greens

This month’s Recipe Redux is a food memory for which you are thankful: In the U.S., November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your children. Please share one of your favourite food memories and a healthier “redo” of the recipe.

We met in an evening language class- Spanish, to be precise- in the second semester of my first year of university. I was seeing someone else at the time, and didn’t think much of making his acquaintance. I remember his red hair, his almost there ‘fro. It wasn’t until my second year that he charmed me over a cup of tea, and we started spending lots of time together in the library… studying, of course. We watched a lot of movies. He carried out a Star Wars experiment on me, where we watched the movies in the order of of 1-2-3-4-5-6 instead of 4-5-6-1-2-3. We went for drinks. We went for mediocre bagels. We baked cupcakes. He made me French toast. We skipped all the way down my street in our Halloween costumes. I was single and loving it, but I doubt anything could have stopped me from developing fuzzy feelings for this smart, funny, and (at the time) mysterious redhead who swept me off my feet. You’ve probably read about him here and here. This week, we celebrated our third anniversary together.

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I’m so very lucky to have found someone with infinite love, kindness, and patience. I’m grateful to have someone remind me of the certain things when I can’t seem to remember them myself: that I’m beautiful, smart, and capable. I’m even luckier to have found someone who values these traits, who is a proud feminist and supporter of gender equality. He believes that I can do everything he does just as well, if not better. I’m grateful for his endless support. Whether it’s my ridiculous dreams for dinner or something more serious like my career, I know he’s got my back. I love that he is okay with, and even admires, my devotion to eating as ethically as possible. I’m grateful to have someone who loves good bookshops just as much as I do, isn’t afraid to search high and low for the best eats wherever we are, and loves to travel as much as I do. I love how goofy we are together when we are jamming to Majic 100.3 in the car, or dancing to Blank Space by Taylor Swift.

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Although we have many special food memories together, I decided to come up with a recipe inspired by our first trip together. We went to Paris for my birthday, and spent the week visiting art museums, eating pastries, and devouring crêpes. The first crêpe place we ate at was Breizh Café, where I had a glorious fig crêpe for dessert. In memory of the wonderful week we had in Paris, I am sharing a recipe for a spiced caramel apple and pear crêpe cake.

The caramel filling is raw vegan, and I baked the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and coconut sugar to enhance the natural flavour of the apples. This cake is made with buckwheat and coconut flour, and is gluten-free. The crêpes can be made vegan with flax eggs, however, I found that the batter produces much better crêpes with real eggs. It’s entirely up to you- I used two eggs and one flax egg and my crêpes turned out fine. As you can see, the cake is pink! I used the water from cooking my beets to naturally dye my crêpe batter. If you’d like a deeper colour, you could probably use beet juice instead of the beet’s cooking water. Since this is a pretty big post already, I’ll be posting about the health benefits of beets.

gluten-free spiced caramel apple + pear crepe cake // gratitude and greens

Top layer was a little dry, oops!

Spiced Caramel Apple Crêpe Cake
Yields 15-17 medium sized crêpes.

Step One: Caramel Sauce

This raw salted caramel apple dip recipe comes from My New Roots. Other great caramel recipes I’ve been meaning to try: the vegan caramel from Pastry Affair and the almond milk caramel sauce from Oh, Ladycakes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup unsalted almond butter
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • water for soaking

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak the dates until they are soft. Although the original recipe on My New Roots recommends soaking them for four hours, my dates were soft and ready after two hours of soaking in hot water.
  2. Drain the dates. Save the water.
  3. In a food processor, blend the soaked dates with the almond butter, lemon juice, sea salt, and vanilla. If you’d like a thinner caramel, add the soaking water to the mixture one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a thickness you like. Scrape the sides and blend again.
  4. Store in an airtight container and set aside until the crêpes are ready.
  5. Refrigerated, the dip will last a week.

Step Two: Spiced Apples + Pears

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 small apples
  • 1 pear
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  Preheat the oven to 375ºC.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Slice the apples and pear. Toss in a bowl with the coconut oil, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour onto the baking tray and bake until tender and fragrant.
  5. While the fruit cooks, prepare the crepes.

gluten-free spiced caramel apple + pear crepe cake // gratitude and greens

Step Three: Crêpes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 beets, peeled + 1 1/2 cups of the leftover water used to cook the beets OR 1 1/2 cups beet juice
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 eggs or flax eggs
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • coconut oil, for cooking

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. On medium high heat, cook the beets in a pot of water. Make sure you have at least 1 1/2 cups of water leftover for the crêpe batter.
  2. Once the beets are cooked and the water has turned purple, mix the almond milk, beet water, and eggs in a blender.
  3. Add the dry ingredients a few tablespoons at a time, and blend until well incorporated.
  4. If you don’t have a blender, mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl and slowly sift the dry ingredients in, mixing as you go.
  5. Melt the coconut oil in a pan (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium heat.
  6. Once the pan heats up, ladle the batter into the pan. Spread the batter into a thin, round crêpe with a spatula.
  7. Once air bubbles begin to form, flip the crêpe. Allow it to cook until both sides begin to brown.
  8. Line a plate with a paper towel. Stack the crêpes on a plate and cover with a paper towel while you cook the rest of them, or allow them to stay warm in the oven at 60ºC/140ºF.
  9. Repeat with the rest of the crêpes.

Step Four: Assembly

  1. Spread the caramel on a crêpe, and top with apples and pears. Top with another crêpe and repeat until you reach optimum cake height.

Enjoy : )

What’s a special food memory you have? What kind of toppings and fillings do you like with your crêpes? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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more crêpe recipes:
vegan + gluten-free crêpes from a house in the hills
gluten-free green tea crêpes from minimalist baker
raw breakfast crêpes from choosing raw

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Friday: I Moustache You Some Questions

Today’s Friday post is going to be a little different from my regular Friday posts. Rather than share the highlights of my week with you, I’m going to be participating in a fun question and answer: I moustache you a question. Thank you, Rebecca, for tagging me! Rebecca is the lovely blogger behind Strength and Sunshine, and I am always admiring her commitment to health and fitness. She’s a lean, mean yogi and is always posting granola recipes that make me drool. Three of her granolas I’ve been meaning to try: vanilla pear quinoa granola, apple cinnamon granola, and chocolate banana cashew granola.

Four Names That People Call Me (Other Than My Real Name)

  1. Almost all my family members call me Genny (like Jenny).
  2. There was a period of time when people called me GenBunny in high school.
  3. In third grade, my teacher called me Yamster the Hamster.
  4. There was also another teacher who liked to call me Guinevere. No idea why!

Genny, GenBunny, Yamster the Hamster, Guinevere…

Four Jobs I’ve Had

  1. Babysitting. I babysat for the nicest family in high school!
  2. I was also a library monitor in high school. I loved sitting with the books in the library in the evenings, all by myself.
  3. I waited tables and did some barista duty at a cupcake café while I was in university. Making coffees was definitely the best part!
  4. I’m currently working unpaid (interning? apprenticing?) in the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant. I love what I do, and I learn something new everyday. Best job I’ve ever had!

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once

  1. The Holiday. I think I’ve seen this so many times that I can no longer bear to watch it anymore.
  2. Love Actually. Same scenario as above, even though they are the best movies to watch during the holiday season.
  3. Mean Girls. Who hasn’t, though?
  4. Ever After. This is a real guilty pleasure, and has been my favourite film since I was a child! You should watch it if you haven’t, even if you have to sit through Drew Barrymore’s not-nearly-there British accent.

Drew Barrymore in Ever After

Four Books I’d Recommend

This one is probably the hardest question to answer… where do I even begin? I’m going to cheat and do 10.

  1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay + everything else she’s ever written
  2. Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
  3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  5. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  7. Regarding The Pain of Others by Susan Sontag + everything else she’s ever written
  8. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
  9. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  10. The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit. This is the book I’m currently reading, and it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ver ever laid eyes on. I was sucked in from the very first page and am completely in love with it.

Four Places I’ve lived

  1. Toronto, ON
  2. Hong Kong
  3. St Andrews, Scotland
  4. St. Louis, MO… only for the next month, though!
hong kong skyline // gratitude and greens

Hong Kong Skyline

Four Places I Have Been

These are four of my favourite places in the world that I’ve been to…

  1. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  2. Istanbul, Turkey
  3. Florence, Italy
  4. Luang Prabang, Laos
florence, italy // gratitude and greens

Florence, Italy

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now

  1. Bali, Indonesia
  2. Hawaii!
  3. Edinburgh, Scotland
  4. London, England

Four Things I Don’t Eat

  1. Anything that is processed and comes out of a factory farm.
  2. Meat.
  3. 95% of the time: fish.
  4. 85% of the time: dairy. I suffer from a wonderful thing called lactose sensitivity.

Four Of My Favourite Foods

  1. Crunchy almond butter that is both unsalted and unsweetened. My favourite combo: apples + almond butter. So delicious!
  2. Coconut: fresh coconut water, the fresh meat from young coconuts, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour… you get the idea.
  3. Fruits and vegetables in general, because I can’t pick a favourite. I love all of them.
  4. Dark chocolate, preferably from either The Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh or Soma in Toronto. The Chocolate Tree has amazing ice-cream, too. They even have dairy-free options!
the chocolate tree, edinburgh // gratitude and greens

The Chocolate Tree, Edinburgh

the chocolate tree, edinburgh // gratitude and greens

The Chocolate Tree, Edinburgh

Four TV Shows That I Watch

  1. Scandal. This is my newest obsession.
  2. Masterchef (Canada, Junior, US… I watch them all)
  3. Girls
  4. Game of Thrones

Four Things I Am Looking Forward To This Year

  1. Moving back to Toronto and beginning ‘real life’.
  2. The My New Roots cookbook!
  3. Developing and improving the blog.
  4. All the books I have yet to read.

Four Things I’m Saying

  1. What do you want to do for dinner?
  2. I really want sticky toffee pudding.
  3. Is there meat in this? Are you sure?
  4. I’m tired.

Four People I’m Tagging To Do This Next

  1. Arman from The Big Man’s World
  2. Maya from Nuts & Bowls
  3. Sam from Peanut Butter & Sam
  4. Katherine from The PB Lover
  5. Farrah from FairyBurger

Phew! Those questions were hard and are probably quite a lot to take in. So tell me: what are four things you’re looking forward to in the next year? Four of your favourite foods, books, places? Any exciting plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Friday!
Gen.

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Kale, Swiss Chard, and Chickpea Soup with Sunchoke Chips


kale, swiss chard, and chickpea soup with sunchoke chips // gratitude and greens

I first started this blog because I was driven by my passion to share my love for really good food. I didn’t do very much research into how to blog, or what bloggers are “supposed” to do. I’ve been thinking more about what this space means to me, and the direction in which I want to take my blog. This blog began as Life Is Like A Dumpling, a documentation of vegetarian kitchen experiments, and became Gratitude and Greens when I decided to incorporate my ever-growing commitment towards my plant-based and health-focused lifestyle.

I want to promote nutrition and wellness, which I have been doing through healthy recipes and informational posts I share on this site. In addition, I want to encourage mindfulness and gratitude in our daily lives. I realized, upon deeper reflection, that I’ve been neglecting the ‘gratitude’ aspect of the blog. Going through my archives, I also realized that there is a lot of content I need to edit, update, and re-photograph. In the coming weeks, I will continue to post as often as possible while focusing on improving the site’s look, content, and overall quality. So, prepare yourselves! If you have any suggestions and if there is anything you would like to see more or less of on the blog, please let me know in the comments below! Is the site easy to navigate? Are there specific recipes you’d like to see? More posts focusing on health and nutritional information? I would love to hear your feedback.

In the meantime, here’s a soup recipe I’ve been meaning to share with you for the past few weeks. With below zero temperatures officially here, soup has been on my mind! The first time I made this soup I used a combination of spinach, Swiss chard, and kale. This version uses a combination of just Swiss chard and kale. Yes, I am well aware that people are getting tired of kale. I, too, get kale fatigue from time to time. Kale, however, happens to be one of the few leafy greens that are actually in season this time of the year.

kale, swiss chard, and chickpea soup with sunchoke chips // gratitude and greens

This soup takes ten minutes to make, and, thanks to the greens, the soup is high in vitamins and minerals perfect for fighting off the sniffles: vitamins A, B2 and 6, C, E, K; copper; manganese; iron; calcium; potassium; and cancer fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals. Although many soup recipes use potatoes to give soups a thicker, heartier texture, I used chickpeas, which are full of protein and fiber. Topped with sunchokes, a drizzle of olive oil, and hemp seeds, this soup is hearty, delicious, and wonderful to eat on a cold winter evening.

kale, swiss chard, and chickpea soup with sunchoke chips // gratitude and greensKale, Swiss Chard, and Chickpea Soup with Sunchoke Chips
yields 3-4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or 2 cups vegetable stock + 1 cup water)
  • 2 cups greens of choice, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 small onions
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • extra virgin olive oil, to garnish
  • hemp seeds, to garnish

For the sunchoke chips:

  • 1 lb sunchokes
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 205ºC/400ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Clean the sunchokes with a brush and slice them thinly, using either a knife or a mandolin. You can choose to peel them or leave the skins on.
  3. Melt the coconut oil on the stovetop, and pour over the sunchokes.
  4. Toss the sunchokes in the coconut oil and season with sea salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Flip the sunchokes and bake for another 12-15 minutes. Once finished, remove from the oven and allow them to cool.
  6. While the sunchoke chips are baking, prepare the soup.
  7. Sauté the garlic and onion in a medium pot with coconut oil. Once fragrant and soft, add the greens and the chickpeas.
  8. Add the vegetable broth, and simmer for five minutes. Be careful not to overcook the greens.
  9. Blend using an immersion blender. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  10. Pour into bowls and garnish with extra virgin olive oil, the sunchoke chips, and hemp seeds.

Enjoy : )

What are your favourite winter recipes? Do you have a favourite soup recipe? And don’t forget: if you have any suggestions on how to improve the site, I would love to hear from you!

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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more soup recipes:
roasted pumpkin and fennel soup with pumpkin seed pesto by happy hearted kitchen
split pea and barley soup by sasi’s kitchen
roasted cauliflower and moroccan spiced almond soup by chocolate & marrow