20 Nov 2012
One of my favorite things about the holidays is making a tasty, memorable meal for the people I love most. It’s one of our traditions. And it’s completely possible, even on a gluten-free diet and with healthy eating habits.
I got my passion for cooking honest, straight from my Grandma Ruth. Oh, how she loved to make meals for her family! Grandma wasn’t just about cooking great food, either. She wanted to hand down everything she knew. She’s stop and show me how to thicken the gravy just before serving it on mashed potatoes or how to carve the turkey so it would slice really thin.
And, gosh, could she bake. Everyone knew to save room for her pies – chocolate, apple, lemon meringue. They were a family tradition. No family gathering was complete without one. Or three.
Today, I know firsthand the work that goes into a big meal. I know the planning that takes place weeks ahead of time. I know the shopping trips that take place. I know the days spent preparing for the big meal. I know the early holiday morning hours in the kitchen, apron on and coffee in hand.
Most importantly, I know the joy that comes making the meal that brings those I love together at the table.
I am not sure I do it with as much grace as my Grandma, but I try.
One of the tricks I learned from Grandma Ruth was to plan the menu so that you can make some items ahead of time. This is especially important when it comes to dessert because they often take up so much precious oven time!
For this holiday, I decided to create a quick, simple make-ahead dessert that’s – dare I say it – healthy too. Think Fig Newton all gussied up. It’s got a decadent but not-too-rich filling with a crunchy crust.
Best of all, 95% of the sweetness is 100% natural. There are just 5 tablespoons of coconut palm sugar in the entire dessert. I can carry on my Grandma’s tradition with my own healthy spin.
When you sit down to a holiday meal with your family this season, think about the love and joy you’re sharing. It’s priceless and timeless.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? How do you put your own spin on it?
Fig Walnut Tart with Three-Ingredient No-Bake Crust
3 cups Erewhon Corn Flakes Cereal
3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
6 tablespoons coconut oil, in solid form
Tart Filling Ingredients
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups (about 11 ounces) dried black mission figs, stemmed and quartered
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil, in solid form
Make the Crust
Put the Erewhon Corn Flakes Cereal and the coconut palm sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until the consistency of sand. Add the coconut oil and pulse until combined. Process just until the crust sticks together. Be careful not to process too long or the oil will melt and the crust will be difficult to press into the pan.
Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a rectangular 14”x4” tart pan. Refrigerate while making the tart filling.
Make the Tart Filling
Put the coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt in a medium saucepan and heat to a boil. Add the quartered figs and cook until the figs soften. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until roughly chopped. Return to the saucepan and add in walnuts and figs. Stir to combine, then process roughly 1/4 of the mixture in the food processor until smooth. Stir all filing ingredients together and then transfer mixture to the chilled crust.
Refrigerate until firm and then wrap. Slice while cold and serve at room temperature. Can make up to 3 days ahead of time.
AmyCheck out my latest posts here