NICE AND NOURISH – Gluten And Sugar Free Maple Pecan Loaf

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This is an easy and quick recipe for a delicious (sugar and gluten free!) tea / coffee loaf that is loaded with good nourishment. It’s a hearty loaf with each slice packed full of goodness. Great for morning tea / coffee or in the afternoon. Scroll down for the make-your-own cream cheese frosting at the end! Here are the ingredients that you will need:

  • 1 cup of maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of raisins (blanched)
  • 1/2 cup of pecans (chopped)
  • 1 + 1/2 cups of buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 +1/2 tsp of cinnamon (or Frontier Pumpkin Pie Spice)
  • 1 cup of grated or finely chopped carrots
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice

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Preheat your over to 325 degrees. Butter or oil a loaf pan and dust it with some of the extra almond flour (You will notice in the picture that I didn’t quite get the corners, I went back and fixed that!).

In a large bowl, mix the the maple syrup, the olive oil and the eggs. Then blanche the raisins (I hold them under hot water in a colander for a couple of minutes then rinse with cold water, this makes them plump and juicy) dust them with a little of the flour (so they don’t sink to the bottom of the loaf during baking). Next add the chopped pecans (I actually just break them up with my fingers so that the pieces are not too fine. It’s nice to come across them now and again in the loaf as you are eating).

In another bowl, add your dry ingredients; Buckwheat flour (I always use either Red Mill or Farmer Ground  -Hard to find but absolutely delicious, it’s available at Whole Foods in the Northeast only.  Buckwheat is actually not a wheat but made from seeds and is gluten free. Some buckwheat flour does have added gluten so be careful to read the package if you are gluten intolerant -I just really like the taste), Almond Flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon (or as I mentioned, try Frontier Pumpkin Pie Spice which is a perfect blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and very useful in other recipes).

Finally, stir your dry ingredient mixture into your liquid mixture and add the chopped or grated carrots and the blanched and flour dusted raisins (I like to use a food processor to chop the carrots which are only added for some extra sweetness and moisture as the buckwheat soaks up liquids).

Put the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick (or knife or fork) comes out clean from the center. Cool the loaf on a rack then slice and enjoy! – See home-made cream cheese frosting below…

YOUR OWN HOME – MADE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. This is the first time that I have tried this and I didn’t do it exactly right but my learning curve will help you do it perfectly! – VLR

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of full fat milk (I use fresh raw milk from the Hawthorne Valley Farm store). You absolutely need full fat milk to get the desired curd
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice (I always add a bit of the rind and then strain it out)
  • One pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on consistency of your final cream cheese mixture)

Take a large saucepan and set to a medium high heat and add the 4 cups of milk. Bring the milk to a simmer (Watch over it and stir every so often, you don’t want to scorch the milk at the bottom of the sauce pan).

Once at a simmer, turn it down to a medium controlled heat. Continue to simmer.

Take your lemon juice (you can also use white vinegar) and stir in one tablespoon at a time (stir for a minute each time before adding more). You will see that the milk starts to curdle.

Add the 2nd tablespoonful of lemon and you will see that it really starts to create the cream cheese.

Add the 3rd tablespoon of lemon to the mixture and keep stirring (another minute or two) until you have curdle (cream cheese) and a yellowish leftover liquid (mine was still a bit whitish when I went to the next step so I probably should have let it separate longer (an extra minute or two)

Next take a strainer and put it over a big bowl then lay a cheese cloth over the strainer.

Now drain all of your curds into the cheesecloth and let sit for 15 minutes. Note that you can save the acidic liquid for marinades and meat brines if you want to use it that way (no need to throw away). You should now have about a cup of curds.

Spoon the curds into a food processor and add just a pinch of salt and mix till you have a good texture.

Now add 1 tbsp of maple syrup and mix well. Continue to mix until the cream cheese is smooth and add more syrup to taste. You can also add some of your drained off liquid if you want a creamier texture (but the syrup should be enough) I don’t think that I blended the mixture enough as my end cream cheese frosting was a bit grainy (still delicious though). I was worried about over mixing but I should have gone longer for a creamier texture (another minute or so)

Now add your cream cheese frosting and top with pecans. I usually top this with the pecans indicating where you should cut for servings (so each person gets the same size and you don’t end up cutting into the pecans) but I got excited and just went too fast with the design!

Now the best part – enjoying! – VLR

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