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More Holiday Recipes

Natural recipes for the holidays

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Seven Super-Fast Dessert Ideas

Sometimes you need dessert faster than the oven can preheat. These ten-minute meal finishers are fast enough for last-minute family desserts, and special enough to serve guests.

  1. Dip strawberries in melted dark chocolate chips, and let cool on a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Cut a grapefruit in half crosswise, drizzle with pomegranate molasses, broil for 5 minutes, and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
  3. Let vanilla frozen yogurt soften, and stir in minced crystallized ginger and lemon zest.
  4. Combine cooled brewed coffee, light coconut milk, honey and a sprinkle of cardamom in a blender with ice, and puree into a creamy coffee chai frappe; top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  5. Mix chopped pears, currants, vanilla, nutmeg, and apple juice in a small pan, bring to a boil and cook until thickened; serve warm compote over ice cream.
  6. Mix balsamic vinegar with orange juice and thyme, bring to a boil, and cook for a few minutes until thickened; drizzle over blood orange slices.
  7. Scatter pistachios and pomegranate seeds over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Crustless Honey-Cardamom Pumpkin Pie
Serves 12

After hours of holiday cooking, no one wants to fiddle with a crust. This easiest-ever pumpkin pie eliminates the crust, and uses gluten-free flour to add body to the pumpkin filling. Serve it warm, with a side of vanilla frozen yogurt or a dollop of crème fraiche.

1/2 cup gluten-free flour

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground clove

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 egg whites

1 whole egg

1/2 cup milk or low-fat milk

2 Tbs. melted butter

1/4 cup honey

2 tsp. vanilla

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

20 pecan halves

1Tbs. powdered sugar for dusting

1 Tbs. cinnamon for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a deep-dish glass pie plate.
  2. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In separate bowl, beat eggs together. Beat in butter, honey, vanilla and pumpkin.
  3. Pour mixture into pie plate, and bake until set but still soft, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to rack to cool. Combine powdered sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and dust over top of pie. Arrange pecan halves around outside of pie, and serve warm or chilled.

Two-bite Hazelnut, Pear and Fig Tarts
Makes 24 tarts

These intensely sweet little treats have the same luscious, gooey texture as pecan pie, with a fraction of the fat and sugar; their diminutive size makes them a guilt-free dessert. Most of the sweetness comes from the figs; if you’d like a slightly less sweet rendition, cut the sugar in the crust in half, and increase the flour and the almond meal by 1 Tbs. each. They’re best served hot out of the oven with a dollop of crème fraiche, or a mini-scoop of vanilla ice cream. Make the whole batch and freeze half, or send some home with dinner guests as a sweet reminder of the evening.

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup almond meal or finely chopped almonds

1/4 cup sucanat or raw cane sugar

2 Tbs. very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

3 Tbs. low-fat sour cream

2 medium very ripe pears, peeled and chopped small

16 dried black figs, stems removed, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup pear juice or apple juice

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup hazelnuts, ground or very finely chopped

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Whole hazelnuts for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, almond meal, sucanat and salt in small food processor, and pulse to mix. With food processor running, add chunks of butter through the feed tube, and process until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to small bowl, and using a fork, add sour cream 1 tsp. at a time, mixing well with a fork between additions, until dough holds together well.
  3. Divide crust mixture (about a teaspoonful per cup) between cups in prepared muffin tin, and press crust mixture evenly along bottom and sides of each cup. If mixture seems too crumbly or moist, add either sour cream or flour a spoonful at a time. Place muffin tin in refrigerator while preparing filling.
  4. Combine pears, figs, juice, and vanilla in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, partially covered, until mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has cooked out, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to food processor and process into a moist paste. Add cream cheese and process until incorporated. Transfer to mixing bowl and stir in hazelnuts.
  5. Divide between muffin cups, gently pressing down and smoothing tops. Bake 15 minutes, or until filling has set and crust is golden. Remove from oven and let tin cool on rack for 5 minutes. Run butter knife around edge of each tart, and carefully lift out of pan. If tarts are hard to remove from pan, let cool 5 minutes longer. Using a flour sifter or fine mesh strainer, dust tops with powdered sugar. Place one hazelnut in center of each tart, and serve.

Apple, Ginger, and Cranberry Crumble
Serves 12

This quick-to-make crumble uses gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut oil for the topping. Gala apples and apple juice provide most of the sweetness. If you like a tart crumble, use Granny Smith apples. Or substitute pears for some or part of the apples, for a softer, sweeter crumble.

1/2 cup apple juice

1 1/2 Tbs. finely grated ginger root

1/2 cup fruit-sweetened dried cranberries

2 pounds Gala or other apple, peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats (not quick oats)

1/2 cup gluten-free flour

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup raw, organic honey

2 Tbs. melted coconut oil or grape seed oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In large bowl, combine apple juice and ginger. Add apples, and toss to mix. Stir in cranberries. Transfer to lightly oiled 8-inch square glass casserole.
  3. In medium bowl, combine oats, flour, pecans, and salt. In small bowl, beat honey together with oil. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir until just blended, using fork or hands. Scatter crumble mixture over apples.
  4. Bake at 350°F until apples are soft and crumble is golden, 40 to 45 minutes.

Trio of Raw Truffles
Makes 18 truffles

If you don’t strictly follow a raw foods diet, use regular cocoa powder and unsweetened baker’s chocolate instead of the harder-to-find raw cocoa powder and cocoa nibs. A small food processor is important for this recipe because it won’t grind evenly in a blender. If you don’t have a small food processor, process the ingredients in batches in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.

1/2 cup raisins

14 large, very soft dates

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Coconut-Chocolate Truffles

2 Tbs. raw cocoa nibs

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Mint-Chocolate Truffles

2 Tbs. raw cocoa nibs

1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves, plus 6 small whole leaves for garnish

Ginger-Lemon Truffles

1 Tbs. finely grated fresh ginger root

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 Tbs. coconut sugar

6 small lemon curls, peeled from lemon skin, for garnish

Edible flowers for garnish (optional)

  1. In small food processor, combine raisins, dates, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds. Process until finely ground, and mixture begins to clump together. Add more raisins if it seems dry, or more cashews if it seems to wet.
  2. Transfer mixture to plate, and divide into three equal portions. Return one portion to food processor, and add 2 Tbs. of the cocoa nibs and half of the coconut. Pulse until incorporated, but not completely ground. Remove from food processor and roll into 6 balls. Dredge balls in remaining coconut, pressing flakes gently into balls. Refrigerate immediately.
  3. Return a second portion of base mixture to food processor, and add mint leaves and 1 tsp. of the cocoa. Pulse until mint leaves and cocoa are fully incorporated, adding more cocoa if needed for texture. Remove from food processor and roll into 6 balls. Dredge balls in remaining cocoa powder, and refrigerate immediately.
  4. Return the final portion of base mixture to food processor, and add ginger and lemon zest (if the grated ginger is very moist, squeeze out some of the liquid). Pulse until ginger and lemon zest are fully incorporated. Remove from food processor, and roll into 6 balls. Dredge balls in coconut sugar. Decorate top of each truffle with a lemon curl, and refrigerate immediately.
  5. Refrigerate truffles for at least 1 hour before serving. To serve, arrange truffles on serving plate, scatter fresh edible flower petals around truffles, if desired, and serve immediately.