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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Making Delicious Healthier


When I was young, my Mom used to make the most delicious cake in the world -- Flouden.While my Mom always liked her roll cake better (a sweet yeast dough with raisins, nuts and cinnamon/sugar or brown sugar rolled up like a jelly roll) -- and still does -- my brother Aaron and I always went nuts for the flouden. So, when I was watching The Taste on ABC a few weeks back and they had a dessert challange, I thought about what I could create that was vegan and healthy that the judges would love.

While I have no idea if the judges would even like my version of flouden, after all, they're used to table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup and all those other delicious but horribly unhealthy sweeteners. They are also used to desserts that have something savory in them to balance out the sweetness. But I decided to try to make it so I like it.

Since my Mom's version of the cake had white (wheat) flour, shortening and sugar on the bottom (and top) and a filling based on whipped egg whites (with lots of sugar and raisins and nuts) I had to start almost from scratch. For the filling I thought I'd take almond "milk" and cashews blended together. I took one cup of each and put them in my smoothie machine with stevia (enough to sweeten as much as 1 cup of sugar) but I noticed the mixture was still a bit "loose" (liquidy), so I added 2 teaspoons of arrowroot (starch). In a bowl, I put 1 cup of chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or a mixture of the two) and 1 cup of dried fruit (I am currently using a mixture of green-grape raisins, dried (juice sweetened) blueberries, dried (juice sweetened) cranberries and dried (juice sweetened) cherries) and spoon mixed them, then added the almond "milk"/cashow mixture over them and spoon mixed them.

Because I can't eat wheat, I have experimented with lots of other "flours". For this cake, I used 3/4-1 cup each (depending on how "crusty" you want the cake to be) of hazelnut and buckwheat (which is not wheat). You can substitute other "flours" if you like -- I have used almond and oat also (half nut "flour" and half grain or grain like flour seems to be a nice mix). To this, I added a heaping "eating" spoon (as opposed to a measuring spoon) of natural (unsweetened) peanut butter (I like chunky -- you can substitute other nut butters, but peanut butter has a great consistency) and as much almond "milk" as it takes to incorporate all the "flour" (the drier the better, though it works in any case).

Take about 1/2 (or a bit more) of the crust dough and spread it evenly (or as evenly as possible) on the bottom of an 8 inch square pan (I line mine with first aluminum foil and then parchment paper). Bake the crust for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F (I think that's about 175 degrees C???).

When you take the crust out of the oven (you can let it cool for a bit), pour the filling in and level it out as much as possible. Then take the rest of the crust dough and, as much as possible, crumble it on top (trying to cover as much of the filling as possible). Don't press this down since the filling is soft.

Bake in the 350 degree over for about an hour (you can start to check it around 45 minutes in if you like). If you're not serving this right away, put it in the refrigerator since it spoils easily. You can take it out before you're ready to serve it so it can get to room temperature.

If you make this, let me know how you like it. If you have any problems making it, please let me know. If you have any tips for anyone making it, please let us all know. (Hint: I love comments!!!!)

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