Balsamic Berries

Yes…I know…summer is slowly coming to an end.  But I’ve got something sweet to keep that summer feeling alive!  So brush away those tears, because today I bring you an easy Balsamic Berries recipe from a very special guest, PLUS…an awesome giveaway!  That’s right, you heard me – A GIVEAWAY!

What could be more fitting than sharing a recipe with you guys from none other than Gordie Johnson – the front man for great Canadian reggae-rock band Big Sugar. Umm, hello? How could I NOT feature this recipe and giveaway on a dessert blog. Even his band name has ‘sugar’ in it!

Gordie Johnson loves food and has a passion for cooking with a wide variety of recipes in his collection. I was fortunate to be able to share one of his personal recipes with you today. This Balsamic Berries recipe comes together quickly with only a few simple ingredients. Perfect for spooning over ice cream or fruit, as suggested by Gordie himself. Or if you are looking for a non-dairy ‘ice cream’ treat (as I would myself), may I suggest spooning over some Coconut Bliss? Oh so good!

As mentioned, aside from sharing with you this delish berry compote, I also have a giveaway. Thanks to eOne Music Canada, I have one copy of the new Big Sugar album Yard Style to giveaway.  Note: giveaway only open to Canadian residents.

Big Sugar: Yard Style

If you’re not the winner of this awesome giveaway (or you do not reside in Canada), have no fear! You can still purchase Big Sugar’s latest album through Amazon

Enter below for your chance to win Yard Style:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And what could be better than listening to some ‘summer-vibed’ music while preparing this berry recipe.  It’ll even keep you warm on those cold winter days.  Warning: music won’t actually keep you warm.  Be sure to bundle up when venturing out.  Or better yet, stay in and have yourself and bake-a-thon.

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Balsamic Berries

"Here is one of my all time fav "go-to" summer desserts. The ingredients are pretty simple and usually on hand." - Gordie Johnson

Ingredients

    Berries are the main ingredient. I prefer a mix of:
  • Strawberries (hulled & quartered)
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Optional: Blueberries will also work as will Cherries (be sure to removed the stones)
  • You will also need:
  • Granulated sugar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • A large sauce pan
  • Fresh cut strips of basil
  • A bit butter or olive oil (for the non-dairy version)

Method

  1. Saucepan on medium heat, melt butter (or oil).
  2. Add the berries to pan, as they start to sweat add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. For 3 clamshell containers of berries you might use about 1 1/2 tbsp.
  3. Sprinkle about a 1 tbsp of sugar (note: the sugar and vinegar measures may be less, depending on the ripeness of the berries)
  4. As the berries sauté , they will release their juice which will mingle with the vinegar, which will
  5. in turn dissolve the sugar.
  6. Turn the heat down a little.
  7. Be sure to stir gently as not to beat up the berries. They will break down naturally.
  8. When all ingredients start to simmer gently and thicken, you are about done.
  9. You will end up with a jammy berry compote. This can be used to spoon over ice-cream
  10. or over fresh cut fruit for a non-dairy option (strawberries or peaches).
  11. Just before serving, slice fresh basil leaves very thin and sprinkle a few strands on each serving. They will add an interesting, peppery freshness to the dish.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/balsamic-berries/

Disclosure: I was provided with a recipe from Gordie Johnson’s personal collection and am not being compensated to feature it.  Big Sugar album (Yard Style) was provided to me by eOne Music Canada.  I am not being compensated for hosting this giveaway.

Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets

I’m back, and as promised in my last post, have returned with a perfect easy to prepare summer dessert. These Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets are such a cinch to put together. Light, fluffy and refreshing, you’ll look forward to making dessert and will even offer to bring dessert to any backyard BBQ’s you’ve got going on this summer season.

Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry and Whipped Cream Cakelets | pastelbakery.ca

While on one of my daily tours through Pinterest, I came across a recipe from Food Retro for a 4 Ingredient Sponge Cake. This definitely intrigued me. Could a cake with only 4 ingredients really be so light and fluffy? Easy to prepare…ok, I can buy that given there are only 4 ingredients, but fluffy and melt in your mouth? Guys…it totally is! I honestly could not believe just how fluffy this cake turned out! Sooo good. And with just a few ingredients needed, it’s the perfect cake to whip up when in a hurry, or if you haven’t restocked your pantry (as this happens to me quite often!). The original recipe was not gluten free, but I converted it with no problems. Love it! The taste reminded me of the lady finger biscuits used in a tiramisu. And yes, I’m way ahead of you…next experiment will be to use this cake in place of biscuits to make a gluten free tiramisu. Figured it’s a more affordable version since the gluten free biscuits used in tiramisu are super expensive over here. Of course I’ll have to wait a while on testing that recipe, seeing how it would involve using coffee and I don’t want to send baby on a caffeine episode.

Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry and Whipped Cream Cakelets-2 | pastelbakery.ca

Having tested out this cake around the same time I made these Roasted Strawberries, I thought, what a perfect and easy summer dessert it would make to combine the two. So with a little bit of whipped topping, these Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets were born. I opted for using Truwhip whipped topping. Really, if you don’t have a dairy issue, I would think whipping up some fresh whipping cream would be pretty awesome as well. But, if I went that route, I’d probably be keeled over for a few days, cursing this fantabulous dessert. Nah, didn’t want to go there. However, on the other hand, I couldn’t bring myself to purchase a certain popular frozen whipped topping in a tub. Ya’ll know which one I’m talking about. Just looking at the ingredients made me cringe, and I couldn’t do it. Then I remembered Truwhip whipped topping. Gluten free and 100% natural? Yup. I’m in. Now, it does contain a small bit of milk, but not enough to make me react the way a full blown dairy product would. However, if you are allergic to dairy, or extremely sensitive, you will have to go with plan B (maybe whipping up some coconut milk?).

Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry and Whipped Cream Cakelets-3 | pastelbakery.ca

And what to do with the cake scraps you’ll have from making these cakelets?  I’m sure you won’t have any issues there.  If you’re like me, you’ll just devour them on their own.  Or if you have more will power, they would probably work great in a trifle.

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Makes: 3 cakelets

A light & fluffy sponge cake filled with roasted strawberries and light whipped topping. A perfect summer dessert!

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 recipe of Roasted Strawberries
  • About 1/2 tub of whipped topping (I used Truwhip Whipped Topping)

Method

    For Easy Vanilla Sponge Cake:
  1. Grease a 9x13 pan; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. In small bowl, combine flour and starches and set aside.
  4. In bowl of mixer (make sure it's completely grease free), whip the egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  5. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until mixture turns a light yellow (about 2 minutes).
  6. Carefully fold the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture, using a spatula.
  7. Gently fold in the flour mixture 1/3 of a cup at a time, making sure not to over mix.
  8. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 min, or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean (if using a dark pan you may find it's ready in 20-25 min).
  9. Let cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes before inverting onto wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Note: cake will deflate once it begins to cool.
  11. For Cakelet assembly:
  12. Using a round cutter (I used one about 3" wide), cut out 6 circles from the sponge cake (2 circles will be used for each cakelet).
  13. Place one cake round onto plate. Spread about 1 tbsp of whipped topping on top. Drizzle with about 1 tbsp of roasted strawberries. Place another cake round on top and repeat.
  14. Serve immediately.

Notes

Sponge cake recipe slightly adapted from foodretro.com

http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-roasted-strawberry-and-whipped-cream-cakelets/

Roasted Strawberries

Guys…it’s STRAWBERRY SEASON!!  But sadly it’s almost over.  Luckily there’s still a few weeks left, so I’m not late to the seasonal party just yet! So if you have fresh local strawberries on hand (ok, and even if you don’t), you MUST make these Roasted Strawberries.

 Roasted Strawberries 1 | pastelbakery.ca

I’d have to say strawberries are probably one of my fave fruits, so it’s pretty sucky that strawberry season is only 2 months (at least here in Ontario). Big bummer. Yes, I realize you can find strawberries year round at your local grocer, but let’s face it…nothing is better than fresh local strawberries. So sweet and full of flavour. Of course, in the past when local strawberries started popping up in store, I’d stock up like a mad woman. Or like a crazy strawberry lady. Then what would happen? The ever dreaded over ripening. Unfortunately, I’m only one person here who enjoys these sweet berries, seeing how hubby isn’t a big fan…but I’m hoping baby will be (news here if you missed it). I’m crossing my fingers I’ll soon have someone to share fruits and veggies with! It may seem lame, but it’s frustrating when you’re one person who enjoys a variety of fruits and veggies. That means having to scarf down a bunch of produce before it goes bad. Not my kind of fun. I actually enjoy piling up my plate with a variety veggies when I eat at family/friends places. Some may see it as weird (or sad); especially when there is the option of say, BBQ’d steak or chicken, but I see it as seizing an opportunity. But back to the strawberries…

Even though I’m just one lonely fruit lover in this house, I can never resist stocking up on local strawberries given they’re only available for such a short period. But now, with this recipe for Roasted Strawberries, no berry will over ripen and turn ugly. Yes, I’m picky with my fruits appearance. It’s like superficial apple picking over here.
Seriously though, I honestly cannot believe how easy it is to make this. Super fast and only a few ingredients. In no time your house will be filled with the aroma of the roasting berries mixed with spicy cinnamon and warm vanilla. So. Good.

 Roasted Strawberries 2 | pastelbakery.ca

If you are a strawberry lover, you definitely must try this! Perfect to spoon over vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt (as you may have seen from my Instagram). Or, if you’re looking for an easy and light summer dessert, stay tuned for my next post, using these Roasted Strawberries. I’ll be sure to post very soon before the season gives out.

Roasted Strawberries 3 | pastelbakery.ca

Roasted Strawberries with Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Note: when I first made these Roasted Strawberries, I covered my glass dish in parchment paper so the strawberry syrup wouldn’t stick and bake to the sides of the dish. I would suggest NOT going this route. I found it difficult to stir the strawberries without ripping the paper. On my next tries, I added a little of olive oil to the berries so they wouldn’t stick (which I’ve noted in the recipe below). This worked much better.

Roasted Strawberries

Bake Time: 20 minutes

With a hint of spicy cinnamon and warm vanilla, these roasted strawberries are irresistible! Perfect served over vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

Ingredients

  • About 1 1/2 - 2 cups strawberries (stems removed, washed & cut)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place berries in a glass dish and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Toss gently to coat. Let sit for about 5 minutes (this will help the juice from the strawberries to be released).
  3. Add olive oil and stir gently to coat.
  4. Spread berries out evenly in dish and bake for 20 minutes, stirring half way through.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before using immediately. Or let cool completely, before storing in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/roasted-strawberries/

Fruit Tartlets

I know it’s been a while, but what can I say, I haven’t felt too inspired lately. That’s why I’m back with an easy recipe…Gluten Free Dairy Free Fruit Tartlets. This recipe may be basic looking, but it’s a perfect pick me up treat.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Fruit Tartlets | pastelbakery.ca

I think it’s this cold wintery weather we keep having that’s put me in a permanent state of hibernation. If you’re fortunate enough to already be experiencing spring like weather, count yourself lucky. It’s still bitterly cold in these parts with bursts of snow here and there. This kooky weather has frozen the creative part of my brain, resulting in just puddles of drool as I think of something new and delicious to bake. So too be honest, this recipe is only partly new. You may remember I used the same shell in the Butter Tarts recipe I previously posted (which on a side note, are freakin’ awesome!). Given I’m going crazy for spring to arrive; I filled these with some frozen fruit I had on hand which was wild blueberries and sour cherries. The beauty of this recipe is if you have different frozen fruit on hand, you can use it instead. The possibilities are endless. Go nuts. We’re not picky over here.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Fruit Tartlets-1 | pastelbakery.ca

When you take a bit of these Gluten Free Dairy Free Fruit Tartlets, you’re hit with a burst of fruit – just the right dose to get out of that wintery coma. And sweetened slightly with maple syrup – is there any better sign of spring?

Gluten Free Dairy Free Fruit Tartlets-2 | pastelbakery.ca

I may have to put up with this weather for a while longer, so I’ll just stay in, bake these tarts and think of warmer days as I gobble them up.

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Gluten Free Dairy Free Fruit Tartlets

Makes: about 26 tartlets

These easy fruit tartlets are made using frozen fruit and sweetened with maple syrup.

Ingredients

    For Tarts:
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cold water (plus more if needed)
  • For Filling:
  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen sour cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Method

  1. Lightly spray mini tart trays and set aside.
  2. In bowl of mixer, combine flours, starch and icing sugar.
  3. Add oil, egg and vanilla and mix.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of cold water and mix until dough sticks together. Add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, only if needed.
  5. Remove dough from bowl, flatten into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill slightly (allowing for easier handling).
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing together, blueberries, cherries and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  8. Remove dough from refrigerator. Place between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to approximately 1/4 thickness. Cut dough using a 2" round cutter and line each tart cup with dough. I used an espresso cup to cut the dough since I don't have a round cutter that small.
  9. Place about 2 tsp of filling into each tart shell, ensuring not to fill over the shell edge.
  10. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes, then lower heat to 375°F and continue baking for another 5-8 minutes, or until edges are golden.
  11. Remove from oven and cool in trays for at least 15 minutes before carefully removing and letting cool on wire racks completely.
  12. Store cooled tarts in refrigerator for up to 5 days or in freezer to keep longer.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-dairy-free-fruit-tartlets/

Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops

So is anyone else excited the summer-like weather has finally arrived?? It seems like lately we’ve been on a swing of weather changes – hot, cold, hot, cold…but finally the good weather is here and it looks like to stay. Yeah, we may be getting more rain versus this time last year but hey, a little bit of rain on a hot day is always welcomed. Don’t you just love the smell of rain showers hitting the warm pavement? Just a sign that summer is right around the corner!
And all this warm weather made me want a cool and icy treat to munch on. I had a few strawberries, one banana and about a cup of Greek yogurt on hand, so I put it all together to make these Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt PopsNow does anybody else have the same problem I have – owning a crappy blender? This blender is supposed to ‘crush’ ice but how is that possible if it’s not even capable of pureeing a ripe banana? Seriously?! Whenever I’ve tried to make a smoothie, I always end up with lumps of fruit in my cup. I don’t get it, isn’t a blender supposed to take care of that? This thing definitely does not live up to its name of ‘CrushMaster’.
So, I knew that if I used this so called ‘blender’ to make these Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops, I’d just end up frustrated, and with a lumpy mess. That’s why I made these pops using a good ol’ handy dandy potato masher. With a little bit of muscle work, I mashed down the strawberries and bananas to a non-lumpy consistency. Buh-bye ‘CrushMaster’, you have been replaced! Then you whisk in the yogurt, a little bit of honey and voila…a creamy frozen treat with minimal clean up.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops

I used Olympic Krema Greek Yogurt coconut flavour, but you can use another flavour or plain. The Olympic Krema Greek Yogurt is by far the best Greek yogurt I have ever tried. It’s so rich, thick and creamy, with no gelatin and bonus it’s labeled gluten free, which means not having to call the company to confirm (yippee!). If I could eat unlimited amounts of dairy on a daily basis, I would go through tubs and tubs of this Krema Greek yogurt – I’m just saying.
So what are you waiting for? Go whip up a batch of these Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops…quickly before the weather turns on us again! 
Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by! Comments are always welcomed.
Eva

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 6 pops

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped strawberries (about 6)
  • 1 cup chopped ripe banana (about 1)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used coconut flavoured, but you can use any flavour or plain)
  • 2 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Cut up cleaned strawberries and banana into medium bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash strawberries and banana until no lumps (or very few) are left.
  3. Whisk in yogurt and honey.
  4. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours before enjoying.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-strawberry-banana-frozen-yogurt-pops/

Almond Butter Blueberry Muffins

Have you ever bought a baking ingredient, not knowing exactly what to do with it? You bring it home, add it to your pantry and say, ‘I’ll get to you someday’. And there it sits; patiently waiting for its turn. Each time you run into the pantry for ingredients, it pops right up and screams ‘Pick me! Pick me!’, but you always just walk away and say ‘I’ll get to you someday’. This was my relationship with agave nectar, but all has changed since I made these Gluten Free Dairy Free Almond Butter Blueberry Muffins.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Almond Butter Blueberry MuffinsAgave nectar is a great alternative to sugar. As it is sweeter than sugar, you don’t need to use as much in your recipes, making it a perfect substitute in these muffins, which I like to enjoy for breakfast. Since these would be my ‘breakfast muffins’ the only bit of sugar in these is the ½ tbsp of brown sugar I mixed with ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top – because really, who could resist the smell of warm brown sugar and cinnamon? As I did not have fresh blueberries on hand, I used frozen ones which worked just fine (no defrosting required by the way). When I make a batch of these muffins, I’ll typically leave a couple out for the next day or two, and then freeze the rest. This way I always have a yummy breakfast muffin on hand.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Almond Butter Blueberry MuffinsYes, I know… this recipe is a little different from the sweet treats I normally prepare, but I figured starting my day off with a big bowl of cupcakes topped sky high with buttercream probably isn’t a good idea…as much as I’d like to tell myself it is.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Almond Butter Blueberry Muffins

These are perfect for dunking in your morning coffee, or warm them up and top them with some dairy free buttery spread. Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by! Comments are always welcomed.
Eva

Gluten Free Dairy Free Almond Butter Blueberry Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 22 minutes

Makes: about 12 muffins

A moist and delicious muffin, perfect for breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup blueberries frozen (not thawed)
  • Optional topping
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place liners in muffin trays.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.
  3. If using optional topping, combine brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and set aside.
  4. In bowl of mixer, add agave, almond butter and oil and mix on medium-low until combined.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  6. Add dry ingredients and milk, alternating between each addition, and mix until well combined.
  7. Fold in blueberries.
  8. Fill liners about 3/4 full and top with brown sugar topping. Bake for 22 minutes, or until muffins spring back when touched in the center.
  9. Remove from oven and let sit in trays for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-dairy-free-almond-butter-blueberry-muffins/