When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Lemon strawberry shortcake with whipped coconut cream (gluten, dairy, and egg free)
Is there anything more sweet and delicious than just-picked Ontario strawberries? I'm not sure there is. The plump, juicy red fruit tastes like it's just bursting with sunshine and promises of all the fun that is to come over summer holidays.
These lovely strawberries inspired me to make a gluten, dairy, and egg free version of strawberry shortcake for dessert tonight (though I had to act quickly, before all of the berries were gobbled up!). The cakes are made with protein-rich almond flour and flavoured with lemon zest, and the whipped cream is made from heart-healthy coconut milk. What a delightful summery treat!
Lemon Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Coconut Cream
For the cakes:
2 cups blanched almond flour
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the whipped coconut cream:
1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled in refrigerator overnight
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries, washed and sliced (*Strawberries are one of the fruits that I always buy organic; they are on the "dirty dozen" list, and often contain high levels of pesticide residues when they are conventionally grown. See here for more information.)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, sea salt, and lemon zest.
In a small bowl, whisk together water, maple syrup, and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.
Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. (I made four cakes with one batch of dough.)
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until shortcakes are golden brown. Let cakes cool.
Take the can of coconut milk out of the refrigerator and remove the lid. Gently scoop out the solid coconut cream and place it in a bowl. Pour any remaining liquid coconut water into a jar and refrigerate for another use. Whip the coconut cream with a handheld mixer for 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Whip in the maple syrup and vanilla.
The wonderful idea of making whipped cream out of coconut milk came from Elana Amsterdam in her Gluten-Free Cupcakes cookbook. Thanks Elana! I used less sweetener in my version; you can add more if you prefer a sweeter cream.
Slice shortcakes in half and place each bottom half on a plate. Spoon some whipped coconut cream on top, then cover with strawberry slices. Place each top half of the shortcakes on top of the strawberries. Add another dollop of whipped coconut cream and a few more strawberry slices. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
This pretty little dessert is perfect for early summer: easy to make, fresh and sweet tasting, and sure to put a smile on everyone's face! Enjoy!