All the citrus, all the time

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Helloooo! Happy Friday :)

I have lemon for you today! Because I still haven’t gotten tired of the citrus theme – winter weather and citrus are just made for each other. Besides that, meyer lemons are perfect right now and I’d be crazy not to get on that (again).

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We’re also enjoying a break in the rain — though I do love rainy weather, it’s good to dry out a little in between and enjoy the sun. Today is absolutely beautiful: sunny weather for sunny dessert!

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I caught one of the brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen during the last rains!

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More SF series, of course:

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But, back to dessert…

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I made torta di riso a few years back with blood oranges — this riff uses meyer lemons instead for a taste that is very citrus-forward. I love any rice based desserts so this is an easy sell for me, but regardless – the rice has a great chewy texture that contrasts nicely with the airy, eggy custard.

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This cake is Tuscan in origin I believe, and is usually described as a rice custard cake – completely appropriate. It’s lighter and fluffier than a baked rice pudding, but still has that all-important chewy rice-ness. Excellent for breakfast, if I do say so.

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A heads up – this is not for those who aren’t a fan of citrus or who prefer very sweet desserts! It is a very, very mildly sweet dessert, with more citrus-tart flavor profile than sweet. It was definitely a big hit over here, but we’re citrus & rice nuts so that goes without saying. Delicious with ice cream for dessert or a bit of jam for breakfast.

Happy baking!

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Meyer Lemon and Coconut Torta di Riso

Lightly sweet Tuscan rice custard cake. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Delicious served with ice cream for dessert or jam for breakfast! Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; serving size is left to your discretion ;) Recipe adapted from my previous blood orange incarnation, here, and from Cafe Lynnylu, here!

For the cake:

  • 2 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk
  • 3/4 c arborio rice
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c almond meal
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons (~2 tsp)
  • 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated

Lightly grease your pie dish with coconut oil and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add in rice and salt, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then begin stirring continuously for another ~10 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the milk (the rice should be chewy but not underdone). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Add the rice to a larger bowl, and stir in almond meal, lemon zest and juice, and coconut sugar until combined. Whisk in egg yolks. In a non-reactive bowl (I use the bowl of my stand mixer, with a handheld electric mixer), beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold them into the rice mixture. Once incorporated, pour all this goodness into the prepared pie dish. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly, cover it with foil. The cake develops somewhat of a crust as it bakes, so be sure to test the middle and make sure it’s done – the tester should come out clean, but sometimes it’s tricky to tell.

Let cool before serving and serve warm or at room temperature (or cold, I like it all three ways). Garnish with shredded unsweetened coconut and meyer lemon segments if desired. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, covered.

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Tarting (torte-ing?!) it up

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Holy moly.

Gooey chocolate deliciousness.

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But. If I didn’t tell you… could you guess what this decadent wedge holds? Well… if you know me, I’m sure you have a decent idea… just take  a minute to think it over and then get back to me.

Okay.

Did you think?

Did you guess vegetables?!

Because if you did… you’re right! And maybe the green peeking out of that first picture was kind of a giveaway… whatever. Get a little more specific: perhaps two servings of vegetables, and about two servings of fruit?! And it’s dessert. Cholesterol free, vegan, and delicious dessert. Make this for your friends when they’re skeptical that vegan = delicious.

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Besides, when I do things like this, I get to eat things like this as a reward:

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See? Life is all about balance (and trx handstands, natch). As Oscar Wilde so wisely said: “everything in moderation, including moderation!”. I do have to say though, this torte requires less moderation than usual since it’s so freaking good for you. Chocolate= antioxidants. Zucchini= veggie (veggie = by definition, healthy, obvs). Banana= potassium. Whole wheat flour = whole grain fiber. Almonds = healthy fats! Wheeeee!

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Chocolate Zucchini Torte

Recipe gratefully adapted slightly from Kohler Created, here! Next time I would perhaps leave out or reduce the oil, as the cake is definitely hydrated (you see I avoid that ‘oist’ word) enough with all the produce crammed inside.

  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 c canola oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground coffee
  • 1.5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 c zucchini, finely grated
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips

For topping: 3 tbsp brown sugar + 1/2 c chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 360. Grease and flour a 9″ cake pan.

In a largeish bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine oil, applesauce, sugars, vanilla, and coffee. Beat vigorously (use those biceps!) for a few minutes… or use a mixer. In a smallish bowl, mash bananas, then add water. Add bananas, beat to combine, then add milk.

Combine 1/2 c of the flour mix to the grated zucchini and chocolate chips. Slowly beat in the remaining flour into the banana bowl, until incorporated. Stir in zucchini and mix thoroughly. The batter should be thick (and delicious). Pour into the prepared pan, top with brown sugar+almonds, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan before attempting to slice! This cake is even better the next day (promise!), if you can make it last that long…

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