Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Currant Affair

Summer is more than simply winding down in my neck of the woods.  In the span of a week I've gone from nauseating heat + socked-in smoke filled Puget Sound from the BC fires to bundling up in my amazing technicolor dream-sweatsuit.  And that can only mean one thing: Baking season has arrived!

Not just any baking season, either, thanks to Jennifer Esposito's cookbook, Jennifer's Way Kitchen, it's a gluten-free, allergen-free, anti-inflammatory baking season, and when you're loaded with as many allergies, and dietary restrictions as I am, this book is nothing short of a miracle.  Her commitment to providing vegan, wheat / egg / soy / corn, and refined sugar-free recipes really piqued my interest, but the fact that her baked goods are actually appetizing, and packed to the hilt with nutritional value (no empty carbs here!) was the refined white sugar-free icing on top!  The problem I've often run into with a lot of gluten / wheat -free cookbooks, gurus, and natural health dieticians is that they rely heavily on either pre-packaged, and processed "gluten -free" foods that have very little nutritional value, or their recipes are full of ingredients that sit on the list of the Top Eight most common allergens ... Seven of which I can't eat, and so find myself having to make enormous changes to any recipes I want to try, and saddled with more substitutions than is reasonable to allege that I'm actually following a recipe at all.  While I still have to make a few adjustments to avoid rice products, they are far, far fewer than any I've had to make in the past, and it's why I think anyone newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or who has wheat allergies & sensitivities, or a laundry list of other allergens you need to avoid I can't recommend this this cookbook enough.

And so it is, with Jennifer's help (page 234) I've created a Black Currant Banana Bread recipe that is the best of both Summer, and Fall that is a perfect treat for this time of transition.

Here's what you need:
1 Tbsp of butter (or butter replacement) to grease the loaf pan
2 Cups Jennifer's Way Bakery All Purpose Flour (page 211)
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Pumpkin spice mix (recipe here)
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
3 Ripe bananas
4 Tbsp + 1 tsp cooking oil of choice (grape seed, olive, coconut)
3 Tbsp Unsweetened applesauce (recipe here)
2 tsp Vanilla extract
7 Tbsp Canned full-fat coconut milk (additive free)
6 Tbsp Pure organic maple syrup
4 Tbsp butter (or butter replacement)
3/4 Cup Black currant berries (fresh or frozen - if frozen, no need to thaw)

Here's what you do:
Preheat oven to 325°F (350°F if using dry or granulated sugar / sweetener) & grease loaf pan.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.  Using a stand mixer, mix the bananas, oil, applesauce, vanilla, maple syrup, and butter (or its substitute) until smooth.  On a mellow setting, continue mixing while slowly adding dry mixture, and coconut milk in alternating scoops.  Once the gang's all there, mix until ingredients are well incorporated, and finally, fold in the black currants.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan, and bake for 50 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).  Depending on your appliances, elevation, and weather your cook-time may vary, so be ready to check its progress and to tent the top with parchment paper to prevent over-browning while the mid section continues to bake.  Let cool completely before removing from pan (ease a knife around the inside edges of pan to ensure a smooth release), slice and devour!

The flavor of this dessert is truly unlike anything I've ever baked before.  There is something incredible about the combination of warming spices typically associated with Fall mingling with the earthy amaranth (ingredient in Jennifer's Way Bakery All Purpose Flour), and the fresh bite of the black currant berries that, to me, is everything that is right about this time of year.

If you do pop over, and decide to nab a copy of Jennifer's Way Kitchen: Easy Allergen-Free, Anti-Inflammatory Recipes for a Delicious Life, and you want to dive into some of her dessert recipes you'll want to also add these to your shopping cart:  Amaranth flour, arrowroot starch, potato starch, sorghum flour, quinoa flour, and xanthan gum.