BBQ Chickpea Meatballs

To make these easy Chickpea Meatballs you need a food processor and a couple of pantry staples and you are good to go. Enjoy them in as many ways as you can. Make meatballs sub, or dip them in BBQ sauce and stick them on a skewer or add them on top of …

To make these easy Chickpea Meatballs you need a food processor and a couple of pantry staples and you are good to go. Enjoy them in as many ways as you can. Make meatballs sub, or dip them in BBQ sauce and stick them on a skewer or add them on top of your spaghetti...

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Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze

A few years ago, I was extremely fortunate to meet Gina DePalma, who was (at the time) the pastry chef at Babbo in New York City. Being bakers, we struck up a friendship and she gave me a copy of her gorgeous book, Dolce Italiano. After we had dessert and coffee together, we ambled the streets of New York City for a bit, and made…

A few years ago, I was extremely fortunate to meet Gina DePalma, who was (at the time) the pastry chef at Babbo in New York City. Being bakers, we struck up a friendship and she gave me a copy of her gorgeous book, Dolce Italiano. After we had dessert and coffee together, we ambled the streets of New York City for a bit, and made plans to meet in Rome, where she was moving to work on her second book.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have our Roman holiday, but I often thumb through her book and dream about how much fun we would have had lapping our way through the gelaterias of Rome and eating all those pastries with little sips of Italian espresso in between bites. Before she could plant her roots too firmly in Rome, Gina was diagnosed with cancer and returned to the States.

It’s been noted that her accomplishments were often overshadowed by the owner of Babbo, whose empire eventually fell. Gina was tough and although I never worked alongside her, co-workers noted that she didn’t suffer fools gladly, but she made such masterful desserts, and was such a talent, that you couldn’t help but have the utmost respect for Gina.

Her book, Dolci Italiano, has become a baking classic and is one of those exceptional cookbooks that makes excellent reading (as well as being an entirely enticing collection of recipes), especially the chapter on Italian ingredients, which isn’t just a rote list of what to buy. She discusses the importance of baking ingredients and what they mean to Italians: Olive oil isn’t just to moisten, it’s a flavor. And why citrus figures into Italian desserts more often than vanilla.

I was reminded of Gina recently when a reader alerted me to some links in this post led to the website of an adult film star who shared the same first and last name as Gina. Gina always got a chuckle out of that but after her passing, it seemed that Gina DePalma’s website (the one for the pastry chef and baker) somehow got co-opted by her, uh…racier counterpart. As I was switching out the links, I remembered how much I loved this Zucchini Cake of hers.

Since it’s summer, people with gardens are often bemoaning they have too many zucchini and are always looking for ways to use up their bounty. With a crunchy lemon glaze, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s the most delicious way to present a zucchini cake, whether you zucchini comes from your garden, or not.

The genius of the glaze is adding granulated sugar, which gives it an especially lemony, sweet, yet tangy crunch. The glaze is not a looker (which finally made me break out my silicone pastry brush for the first time, and I’m never going back to bristles again) but it tastes amazing with the spicy zucchini cake and I’m happy to let looks step aside to give way to flavor.

Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze
Adapted from Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by Gina DePalma This is a substantial (and very good) cake. The crunchy glaze with the tang of fresh lemon juice really makes the cake special. Be sure to grease the cake pan well to make sure it slides out easily (I use a non-stick one) and also make sure the cake is fully baked. Gina recommended olive oil in her original recipe, which is very good, but the cake also works with neutral vegetable oil in its place. The best way to invert the cake is to lay the cooling rack over the top of the cake pan, then grasping both the cake pan and the rack simultaneously (if it’s too hot, wear oven mitts), flip them both over at once. Lift off the cake pan, then liberally brush the glaze over the warm cake.
ServingsServes 12-16
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1cup (135g) almonds,pecans, or walnuts, toasted
  • 2cups (280g) flour
  • 1teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 1teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon dried ground ginger
  • 1/2teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs,at room temperature
  • 1 3/4cups (350g) sugar
  • 1cup (250ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2cups (300g) grated zucchini
For the lemon glaze:
  • 1/4cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3cup 65g) granulated sugar
  • 1cup (140g) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a 10 cup (2.5l) bundt or tube cake pan* with non-stick spray (preferably) or butter, dust with flour, then tap out any excess.
  2. 2. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
  3. 3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. 4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, 1 3/4 cup (350g) sugar, and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape down the sides of the mixer, then add the vanilla.
  5. 5. Mix in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl to make sure everything is mixed in well, then beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  6. 6. Stir in the chopped nuts and zucchini.
  7. 7. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, then bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not underbake the cake.
  8. 8. During the last few minutes of the cake baking, make the glaze by whisking together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar, and powdered sugar.
  9. 9. Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a cooling rack. Brush the glaze over the cake with a pastry brush and let the cake cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Storage and Notes:

-This cake is very good served on its own, but it could be accompanied by whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, cherry compote, or honey ice cream.

-The cake can be wrapped (or put under a cake dome) and will keep for a few days. You can freeze the unglazed cake. However to apply the glaze, you’ll need to defrost the cake, then warm it so the glaze will adhere properly.

-If you don’t have a bundt or tube pan, I noticed that both Adam and Sara made the cake in a regular round cake pan with good results.

-I haven't baked it in two loaf pans, which would likely work just fine. You may need to reduce the baking time to compensate for the smaller pans.

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If you love baba ganoush or muhammara, you’ll love this recipe for Roasted Eggplant Dip with Bell Peppers and Walnuts. It feels like the love child of these two. The best of both worlds, but still unique on its own right. It is rich, flavorful, a…

If you love baba ganoush or muhammara, you’ll love this recipe for Roasted Eggplant Dip with Bell Peppers and Walnuts. It feels like the love child of these two. The best of both worlds, but still unique on its own right. It is rich, flavorful, and especially delicious added to a vegan grilled cheese sandwich. ...

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This is a healthier, whole foods version of the all-time popular Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese recipes that you can make in 20 minutes with only 8 ingredients (including all spices)! We also included our famous hack on how to make extra creamy bolognese sa…

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The post Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese appeared first on My Pure Plants.

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The post Quinoa Salad with Berries and Candied Nuts appeared first on My Pure Plants.

Butternut Squash & Caramelised Shallot Tart

Every year I try to come up with some plant-based alternatives to Turkey. Most of the time I’m drawn to winter squash for their versatility and beauty. This year for my veggie Christmas main (which was also for Thanksgiving), I made a savoury butternut squash tart in a walnut-oat crust. I topped it off with balsamic-caramelised shallots and some baby kale. It was an utter delight!! The filling is slightly creamy and sweet and you get the savoury flavour from the crust and shallots. It pairs VERY well with a bit of gravy (I make mine with veg stock, brown onions, lots of marmite and MSG) which I think is a *must* when it comes to a Holiday main. I use chickpea flour with water to set the filling but, if you’re not vegan/making it for vegans, an egg can be used instead. If you’re not feeling up for making a tart crust (understandable when theres 10000 other things to make for Christmas lunch), you can always buy chilled shortcrust pastry from the supermarket and use that instead as it’s usually vegan-friendly. Serving size/serving more people This recipe makes one smallish tart, enough for 4 people as a main with […]

The post Butternut Squash & Caramelised Shallot Tart appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Overhead image of sliced squash tart with shallots and kale

Every year I try to come up with some plant-based alternatives to Turkey. Most of the time I’m drawn to winter squash for their versatility and beauty. This year for my veggie Christmas main (which was also for Thanksgiving), I made a savoury butternut squash tart in a walnut-oat crust. I topped it off with balsamic-caramelised shallots and some baby kale. It was an utter delight!!

A squash tart with bowls of caramelised shallots and baby kale

The filling is slightly creamy and sweet and you get the savoury flavour from the crust and shallots. It pairs VERY well with a bit of gravy (I make mine with veg stock, brown onions, lots of marmite and MSG) which I think is a *must* when it comes to a Holiday main. I use chickpea flour with water to set the filling but, if you’re not vegan/making it for vegans, an egg can be used instead.

If you’re not feeling up for making a tart crust (understandable when theres 10000 other things to make for Christmas lunch), you can always buy chilled shortcrust pastry from the supermarket and use that instead as it’s usually vegan-friendly.

Serving size/serving more people

This recipe makes one smallish tart, enough for 4 people as a main with sides. You could even cut it into 8 pieces to have as a starter! If you’re cooking for more people, the recipe doubles very well and can be made as one large tart in a 28cm (11-inch) loose-based tart tin.

A sliced savoury squash tart with caramelised shallots with a slice removed on a side plate

To make ahead of time

To make this ahead of time you can prep the tart crust, filling and shallots the day before serving and leave them all separate. You can keep the crust out at room temperature but chill the filling & shallots. About 30 minutes before you’re about to serve, stir the filling up (as it may have thickened), spread it into the crust, and bake the tart as instructed in the recipe. Finally, warm up the shallots in their pan on the stove or in the oven (covered with a lid, for around 5 minutes) and top the tart with the warm shallots & a handful of leaves.

Butternut Squash & Caramelised Shallot Tart

Butternut Squash & Caramelised Shallot Tart

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Tart filling:

  • 500g (1 lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed
  • 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large or 5 small garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp chilli crisp (optional)*
  • 3 tbsp chickpea flour (see notes)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • Salt, to taste

Tart crust:

  • 60g (1/2 cup) walnuts
  • 45g (1/2 cup) rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 120g (1 cup) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 4 tbsp non-dairy milk or water

Shallots:

  • 200g (7 ounces) shallots, halved, peeled
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • handful of salad leaves, to serve (optional)

Instructions

Cook the squash:

  1. Cut the butternut squash into roughly 2 inch (5cm) chunks. Heat the olive oil in a large pot (I use a dutch oven here) on the stove over a medium heat. Once hot, add the squash and a pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cover with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low. Leave to cook, stirring occasionally, until the chunks and soft and starting to break down (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside.


Make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (350°F).
  2. Place the walnuts and oats in a food processor and blitz until you get a scruffy mealy texture. Add the baking powder, salt, fennel seeds and flour to the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the olive oil and 2 tbsp of the non-dairy milk and pulse together until you get a cohesive dough. You may need to add more milk to get it to come together.
  3. Crumble the dough into the base of a 23-cm (9-inch) springform cake tin (or a loose-based tart tin) and use your fingertips to press it down into an even layer over the base and up the sides of the tin (in a springform tin it should come up about 3cm high). Reserve a little bit of the dough for patching up cracks later on. Prick the crust all over with a fork.
  4. Place the cake tin/tart tin on a baking sheet and then into the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes until it looks dry. Remove from the oven and use the reserved pastry to patch up any cracks that may have formed. Set the crust aside.

Make the filling:

  1. Blend the cooked squash until smooth - you can either do this straight in the pot using an immersion blender (hand blender/stick blender) or by transferring it to a food processor/blender and blitzing, then transferring to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining filling ingredients and stir together. Taste and season with salt as needed.
  3. Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top looks set and dry.

Cook the shallots:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, oven-proof frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Sprinkle over the sugar in an even layer and then lay the shallots cut side-down over the sugar.
  2. Lower the heat to medium-low and leave to cook until you get a nice brown crust underneath (about 5 minutes). Flip each half over and allow to cook until the other side is browned (about 5 minutes again).
  3. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and then pour in the balsamic vinegar. Cover with a lid or a piece of foil and transfer to the oven - roast for 15-20 minutes until the shallots are soft all the way through. Remove from the oven and uncover.

Finish the tart:

  1. Top the cooked tart with some leafy greens (I used baby kale) and the caramelised shallots. Serve warm.

Notes

  • *I use the Lao Gan Ma 'crispy chilli in oil' which is BANGING!! Get yourself some from your local East Asian food shop, or online.
  • If you're not vegan, you can use 1 egg instead of the 3 tbsp chickpea flour + 3 tbsp water in the filling.
  • Tart crust adapted from Amy Chaplin
  • This recipe makes one smallish tart, enough for 4 people as a main with sides. You could even cut it into 8 pieces to have as a starter though. If you're cooking for more people, the recipe doubles very well and can be made as one large tart in a 28cm (11-inch) loose-based tart tin.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Butternut Squash & Caramelised Shallot Tart appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Walnut Crescent Cookies

As long as I can remember Crescent Cookies with Walnuts have always been an unquestionable part of our family’s Christmas. In other words, there is no Christmas without Walnut Crescent Cookies.  The original recipe is handed down to generati…

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