Paleo Pumpkin, Coconut, & Maple Custard Cups

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[UPDATED October 29, 2012: This ain’t a new recipe (it’s from a year ago), but I wanted to repost it for folks jonesing for an easy pumpkin dessert recipe to serve for Halloween. Enjoy (again!)]

Who misses pumpkin pie after going Paleo?

Look no further — here’s a mini crust-less version where the silky spiced custard and crunchy coconut topping will surely satisfy your autumn sweet cravings. You can bake these custards in the oven or pop them in a SousVide Supreme (195°F for 60-90 minutes). 

Here’s what to gather to make ten 4-ounce ramekins:

  • 1-1/4 cup coconut milk (I used Aroy-D)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup grade B maple syrup
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin puree (I use Libby’s)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup toasted coconut flakes (bake raw flakes in a single layer at 300 F for 3-5 minutes until golden brown)

Here’s how to make them:

Gather your ingredients…

…preheat the oven to 325°F, and boil a full kettle of water.

Get two 9” x 13” glass baking dishes and lay a small towel on the bottom of each one (the towel will keep the ramekins from slipping around).

Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat until it’s steaming but not boiling.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the maple syrup…

…and whisk well.

Slowly add the warmed coconut milk to the egg and syrup mixture (a little bit at a time) and mix vigorously.

(Don’t be impatient and add the hot coconut milk all at once or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!).

Toss in the pumpkin, spices, vanilla, and salt…

…and stir until well-blended.

Divide the ramekins into the two towel-lined baking dishes (ten ramekins won’t fit in one dish) and ladle in the mixture.

Pour boiling water into the baking dishes until it reaches halfway up the ramekins and carefully transfer them to the oven.

Bake custard cups for about 30 minutes. The custards are ready when a knife inserted into them comes out clean and they’re still slightly jiggly in the middle.

Cool the custards on a wire rack until they’re room temperature (about 1 hour)…

…and top each one with a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

These custards taste great cold, too. Refrigerate the ramekins and top with toasted coconut right before you devour them.

Chilled Cream of Avocado Soup with Dungeness Crab

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Want a refreshing and creamy soup that’s totally satiating? Well, go grab your blender and this meal will be in your belly in about 15 minutes. I like the consistency of this soup to be thick — almost puree consistency — so I use Aroy-D coconut cream. For a thinner soup, use coconut milk or dilute with extra water. 

If you want to get all Martha Stewart on your friends, serve this soup as an amuse bouche in Chinese porcelain soup spoons at your next party. You’ll look like a culinary rock star and no one will be the wiser.

Here’s what to assemble to feed 4 people:

  • 1 medium Dungeness crab, cooked in boiling salted water (or 1 cup of canned crab meat)
  • 2 large Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and roughly diced
  • 1¾ cups coconut cream or coconut milk
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ancho chili powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

Here’s what to do:

Break out your cooked dungeness crab, and…

…get all the meat out.

Alternatively, you can crack open a can of crab, but what’s the fun in that?

Refrigerate the crab meat until chilled.

Throw the avocado chunks in a blender, along with 1 cup of the coconut cream, a generous pinch of salt, and a dash of Ancho chili powder.

Purée until you get a thick avocado slurpee.

Transfer to a bowl, add the water and the remaining coconut cream, and stir until smooth.

Press some plastic wrap on the surface of the liquid, seal tightly, and chill in the fridge for an hour. If you don’t want to use plastic, be prepared for some serious discoloration.

When ready to serve, add 1-2 tablespoons of the lime juice, some freshly-ground black pepper, and another pinch of salt. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Take the crab meat out of the fridge, and season it with some of the remaining lime juice, salt, and pepper. Ladle the creamy, cool soup into chilled bowls and top with a generous dollop of crab.

Yum!

Cinnamon and Coconut Pancakes

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I know Paleo pancakes are totally candy cigarettes but once in a while, I feel like making a stack. They’re definitely not the same as traditional pancakes (a bit denser and drier) but our resident carb-addict, Lil-O seems to like them just fine.

Here’s what I gathered to make 12 pancakes (3” in diameter):

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
  • ½ mashed ripe banana (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons of Bob’s Red Mill organic coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 small pinch of salt
  • ghee or coconut oil (for frying)

Here’s how I made the pancakes:

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I whisked the eggs, coconut milk, mashed banana, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract together until well combined.

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Then, in a separate bowl, I mixed together the rest of the ingredients (except for the ghee)…

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…before whisking together the dry and wet ingredients just before cooking.

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I heated a tablespoon of ghee over medium heat in a small cast iron skillet and added a tablespoon of batter to the pan.

As soon as bubbles formed on the surface (about 1½ minutes)…

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…I flipped the flapjack over and let it cook for another 30 seconds or so on the other side.

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Repeat until done with the batter and enjoy!

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Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).

Coconut Butter = Bliss

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It’s no secret I like all things coconut, so today I decided to treat myself to some Artisana Raw Organic Coconut Butter at Whole Paycheck.  I wanted to spoon some up right away but when I brought it home it was as hard as a rock.  The label says to heat it up to 85 F to spread but since I already had the SousVide Supreme heated up to 135 F, I popped it in for about 5 minutes.  When I took it out, it was mostly liquified, but I still had to stir, stir, stir, and stir.  Here’s how it looks when it’s nice and spreadable:

I just spooned myself another taste just to make sure that it was still spreadable (in the name of science and all) and I’m happy to report that it’s still liquid-y five hours after I initially melted it.  Coconut butter tastes yummy — like creamy, coconut flavored peanut butter.  I’m not sure I’ll be putting it on anything because I’ll just eat it straight out of the jar but the label (which melted off in my SousVide Supreme) says that you can add it to smoothies, savory dishes, or desserts.  I’m gonna have to check again in a few minutes to make sure it didn’t solidify…

Me Likey: Aroy-D Coconut Milk

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**UPDATE 11/20/11: I’m not quite so fond of this brand anymore ‘cause it’s too watered down. Harumph.**

This stuff is the bomb diggity. It’s good straight out of the carton (shelf stable and no BPA!) but I prefer it refrigerated so it thickens up. No preservatives. No emulsifiers. High in fat. Yummy. Don’t buy the overpriced stuff (ahem, Thai Kitchen) at Whole Foods.  Get yourself down to a 99 Ranch and grab a six pack for a couple bucks.  This stuff is fantastic in savory curries or over some fresh berries (my fave).  Buy some now!