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Healthy festive treat recipes

December 2nd 2016 / Anna Hunter

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Henrietta Inman is a pastry chef who also prioritises wholesome ingredients. Rustle up her Christmassy cakes and pies and let the compliments roll on in…

If you’re yet to discover Henrietta Inman’s recipes, you’re in for a treat, quite literally. A trained pâtissière, she combines culinary expertise with a passion for sourcing local, minimally processed ingredients, and the results, as I’m sure you’ll agree, are a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds. Her recipes come into their own during the cake-centric festive season, and the following two creations are particular showstoppers. Make, eat and be merry!

Pristine Black Forest Parfait

Fresh sweet black cherries and dried sour cherries combine to make this vibrant and seductive raw layer cake. It’s not only power-packed with flavour and texture but goodness too from the cacao, Brazil nuts and sprouted oat base to the sensuous creamy layers made with cashew nuts and coconut oil.

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Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate cake
60 g (2 oz/scant ⅓ cup) Brazil nuts
80 g (2¾ oz/½ cup) pitted Medjool dates
¼ vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp cacao powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
40 g (1½ oz) dark (bittersweet) chocolate 85% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
40 g (1½ oz/scant ⅓ cup) sprouted oats

Vanilla layer
100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) cashew nuts
70 ml (2½ fl oz/¼ cup plus 2 tsp) almond milk
30 g (1 oz/2 tbsp) blonde coconut nectar or raw clear honey
½ vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out
50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) coconut oil, melted

Cherry layer
100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) cashew nuts
200 g (7 oz/1½ cups) pitted fresh cherries
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
Finely grated zest of ¼ lemon
3 tsp lemon juice
100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) coconut oil
50 g (1¾ oz/⅓ cup) dried sour cherries
10–20 g (⅓–¾ oz/2–4 tsp) coconut nectar or raw honey, optional

METHOD

Soak the cashew nuts for each layer separately in 200 ml (7 fl oz/¾ cup plus 1 tbsp) of filtered water with a scant ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt for 3–4 hours. Drain and rinse well.

Line a baking tray at least 27 cm (10½ inches) long and 4 cm (1½ inches) deep with baking parchment.

In a food processor, roughly chop the Brazil nuts for the cake. Remove from the processor, then add the dates, vanilla seeds, salt, cacao powder and cinnamon to the blender and blitz to make a paste. Add the chopped nuts, chocolate and sprouted oats, and pulse a few times to combine. The mix will be in crumbs but should come together when you squeeze a piece in your hands.
Turn out the raw cake mix and press it along one long and one short edge of the baking tray to make a 26.5 x 9 cm (10½ x 3½ inch) rectangular base. Now you need to make a make-shift mould around the cake base. Fold up a piece of aluminium foil, overlapping it about three times to make a 4 cm (1½ inch) high wall. Place the wall around the two edges of the cake that aren’t touching the baking tray. Freeze.

Make the vanilla layer. Blend the soaked cashew nuts and almond milk until smooth. Add the coconut nectar or honey, vanilla seeds and coconut oil and blend until completely smooth. Pour over the chocolate base, making sure none of the mix leaks through the mould. Freeze immediately to set (1–2 hours).The vanilla layer must be completely set before adding the cherry layer.

Make the cherry layer. Place the cherries, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest and juice in the blender and process to make a cherry juice. Add the soaked cashew nuts and blend until almost completely smooth. Melt the coconut oil and add it to the blender, along with the sour cherries, and blend once more until completely smooth, scraping the mix down from the sides if necessary. The mix should turn from a deep purple to red when the sour cherries are added. Taste and adjust to your preferred sweetness if desired. Pour the cherry layer over the vanilla layer and freeze for a further 1 hour until firm but not frozen solid. Remove from the freezer and slice into 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide rectangles. To get a clean cut, dip a sharp knife in hot water and slice when frozen.

Decorate each piece as you want to. I love to use cacao nibs, fresh cherries and edible flowers.

Keeps in the fridge for five days. This can be frozen for up to three months but it needs to be defrosted before serving as it should be served like a cold mousse.

NOTE

In season, red-pink cherries are a must for this, otherwise you won’t achieve the right colour. You can also add a little beetroot powder if you are not satisfied with the colour.

Quince Pies

Christmas would not be the same without mince pies, bursting with rich dried fruits, spices and citrus notes. After a glut of quince one year, I decided to add them to the mix, rather than the usual grated apple, and this was the delicious result, giving the mix a sweet, tart twist. Freshly chopped ginger lifts all the flavours up.

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Makes 24 quince pies with leftover baked quince mincemeat

INGREDIENTS

600 g (1lb 5 oz) quince (2–3 quince)
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 x recipe basic pastry (see below), rolled out to about 3 mm (⅛ inch) thick
50 g (1¾ oz/⅓ cup) unsulphured dried apricots
100 g (3½ oz/⅔ cup) dates
100 g (3½ oz/scant ⅔ cup) raisins
100 g (3½ oz/⅔ cup) currants
100 g (3½ oz/⅔ cup) sultanas (seedless golden raisins)
25 g (¾ oz/3 tbsp) almonds, preferably soaked for 8–12 hours, roughly chopped
15 g (½ oz/2½ tbsp) peeled ginger, finely chopped
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Finely grated zest and juice of ½ large orange
Finely grated zest and juice of ½ large lemon
50 g (1¾ oz/scant ¼ cup) apple purée
¼ tsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) coconut butter

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 160°C/310°F/Gas Mark 2½ and you will need two tartlet tins. Peel, core and cut the quince into eighths; you should have about 400 g (14 oz) of quince flesh. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with the melted coconut oil and bake for 30–40 minutes, or until tender. Turn up the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

Cut out 24 rounds of pastry with a cookie cutter, large enough to fit your tartlet holes, and press the pastry in gently. I like to use a 6 cm (2½ inch) fluted cutter, but a plain one is fine. Cut out 24 tops (either make traditional plain round tops or cut out shapes like stars, hearts or holly) and place on a tray lined with baking parchment. Chill the tart cases and tops in the fridge until needed.

In a food processor, blitz the apricots and dates until small pieces. Add half the raisins, currants and sultanas (seedless golden raisins) and blitz again. You want the mix to all come together and be in small pieces, almost like mince, but not a paste. When the quince has cooled, add it to the dried fruits and blitz again until almost pulp but with some texture.

Remove from the food processor, tip into a large bowl and add the rest of the raisins, currants and sultanas (seedless golden raisins), the chopped almonds, ginger, spices, orange and lemon zest and juice, apple purée, salt and honey or maple syrup. Grate in the coconut butter, or finely chop it. Mix everything together with your hands, squeezing the mix through your fingers to make sure it is all really well combined and there are no large lumps of coconut butter.

Fill the lined tartlets with a generous amount of the quince mincemeat and then top with your prepared pastry discs or shapes. If you are using discs, slice a small cross in the middle of each pie disc using a sharp knife. Bake for 10–12 minutes, rotating the tray halfway, until the tops are golden-brown. Serve straight from the oven or leave to cool and then warm up when needed.

These quince pies last for at least five days in an airtight container. The mincemeat will keep for up to ten days in a sealed glass jar in the fridge or you can freeze it. It’s best to make this quince mincemeat fresh every year – I do this by storing quinces from October.

NOTES

I have given the amount of pastry to make 24 quince pies, but the quincemeat is enough to make at least 40 quince pies so increase or decrease the quantities accordingly if you prefer. I like to make one big batch fresh every year, bake off about half, and then keep the rest in the fridge or freezer ready for impromptu visits from family and friends, of which there seem to be a lot at Christmas!

Freeze any leftover pastry for at least one month or bake off as biscuits (cookies).

Basic Pastry Recipe

Makes 550 g (1 lb 3 oz) pastry, enough to line two 23 cm
(9 inch) round tart tins

INGREDIENTS

150 g (5¼ oz/1 cup) buckwheat flour
150 g (5¼ oz/1¼ cups) ground almonds (almond meal)
60 g (2 oz/½ cup) coconut sugar
20 g (¾ oz/2½ tbsp) arrowroot
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
70 ml (2½ fl oz/¼ cup plus 2 tsp) cool water

METHOD

I use a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment to make this pastry, but you can use a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula if preferred.

1. Grease your tins with coconut oil. Combine all the dry ingredients, including the lemon zest. A whisk is good for this as it gets rid of any lumps.

2. Melt the coconut oil and gradually pour it into the dry ingredients, followed by the water, mixing until everything is well combined. At this point the dough can be wrapped in baking parchment and then cling film (plastic wrap) and frozen for up to one month or kept in the fridge for about five days.

Recipes and images extracted from Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman, photography by Lisa Linder. Published by Jacqui Small (£20).

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Follow Henrietta on Instagram @henriettainman and Anna @annyhunter


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