Friday, November 20, 2015

Recipe: Glutenfree Pumpkin Tart with Pecan Praline

Thanksgiving is all about celebrating the fall harvest with family and friends, and what better way than with a decadent dessert? This recipe features traditional flavors of pumpkin and warming spices but with a healthy vegan twist.  The luscious and creamy filling is lighter than the dairy version, yet equally delicious.   

When I think of Thanksgiving I think of pies, and this recipe tastes like holidays to me.  Sweet scents waft through the air when this tart is baking in the oven.  The aromatic spices have a warming effect on the body which is perfect for when there's a chill in the air.

It's a three-step process, so you'll need to do a little planning for this recipe.  Start by preparing the crust, and chill it in the freezer for a few minutes before popping it in the oven.  While it's baking, pulse together the pecan praline topping.  When the tart crust is finished baking and has cooled, pour in the pumpkin filling.  Sprinkle with the pecan praline, then pop it back into the oven to finish baking.

This is a heavenly treat that guests will not believe is vegan or gluten-free.  With only 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, it's low fat as well, but it tastes decadent nonetheless.

Add this winning dessert to your ThanksLiving menu!

1 cup almonds
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup rice flour
2 Tbl coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan.  Line with a circle of parchment paper and oil both sides of the parchment.  

Pulse nuts and coconut in food processor to form “flour” consistency.  Add flour, coconut oil agave syrup and a pinch of salt and pulse until a ball forms.  Transfer dough to pan and carefully spread evenly, making sure to press it into the sides.  Lightly prick holes into bottom with a fork and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.  Place pan on baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and firm.  Remove from oven and set aside while preparing filling and pecan praline topping.

Pecan Praline
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup pecans 
2 Tbl coconut oil
1/8 tsp sea salt

Pulse together all ingredients in a food processor until pecans are roughly chopped.  

14 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp allspice

Blend filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Pour into prepared crust and sprinkle with pecan praline topping.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until top is firm. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.  Chill in refrigerator several hours before serving,  To serve, slice the tart using a thin, sharp knife dipped in cold water.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

PlantPure Nation Screening

It's pretty amazing when a movie has such a powerful impact on its audience.  Such was the case this afternoon with the Hartford, CT premier of "PlantPure Nation," the new documentary by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son, Nelson.  This documentary continues in a similar theme as "Forks Over Knives," with the emphasis on building supportive plant-based communities.  I think that's exactly what we're doing in Connecticut.  

I was thrilled to walk into a packed theater, which is rare these days. We had a HUGE turnout of 87 people, a third of whom stayed for the lively discussion afterward. 

We talked about the points in the movie that resonated most, and many agreed it was that eureka moment when everything comes together and we declare, "why didn't anyone ever tell me about this?!!"  We also discussed the need to have a vegan support network, ways of integrating the message into our everyday lives with family, friends and co-workers, and how to stay connected through Meetup and social media.  

When asked about questions which remained to be answered, many wanted to know more about the next steps for the PlantPure "Pods."  While that process gets more formalized, in the meantime I invited everyone to join my Vegan Health & Wellness Meetup to stay in touch and keep posted on upcoming events.  

I'm so excited to be part of this growing community and I look forward to continuing to spread the vegan message. Thank you everyone for attending!