This is yummy, healthy comfort food, served warm on a cold winter night. Traditionally it is made with milk and sugar,  however, it is very easy to make with non-dairy and non-sugar ingredients and just as yummy. My friend Teresa liked my tapioca dessert so much last night she had more with her breakfast this morning.

Tapioca is made from the starch from the cassava tuber. It is made into flour as well as pellets and pearls. It’s light and fluffy made with eggs, but I am working on my recipe without eggs – stay posted. The flavor of tapioca is fairly neutral, making it an excellent choice of thickener for both sweet and savory style foods. Tapioca also has little nutritional value- so the nourishment is from coconut milk and eggs in this recipe.

1/3 cup Small Tapioca Pearls (I used Bob’s Red Mill for this recipe)

1 cup water

2 cups coconut milk (lite or regular)

pinch seasalt

2 organic eggs separated

½ cup water (keep handy in case it gets too thick)

1/3  cup maple syrup or agave syrup

½ t Vanilla Extract (I use Frontier, organic made with glycerine, no alcohol)

Soak the pearls in water for 15-20 minutes in a saucepan.

Beat yolks into coconut milk with pinch of salt, stir into saucepan with soaked pearls. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil and lower heat (use a flame tamer if you have one) and simmer, stirring often. You wouldn’t want to burn this yummy dessert.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites with agave or maple syrup. If you can get the whites to peak, great, other wise, gently fold into tapioca and stir for 3 minutes.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes and add vanilla.

Optional: add fresh fruit on top or mix in, serve warm or cold

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I have been lucky enough to eat at a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Spain: Akelare. What a treat- an amazing voyage in taste sensations. But even more of a treat was the Gluten-Free and Vegan Tiramisu that Greta made for New Year’s Eve and again for Bill’s birthday party.  She has finally revealed her recipe on www.gretaguide.com, thanks, Greta; and here it is:

First we make the “lady fingers”.

Preheat the oven to 350. Measure out all the dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder) in a large bowl. Create a small hallowed “bowl” in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from around the outside of this hollowed bowl, until everything is evenly mixed in. Using a rubber spatula, transfer into a greased (with grapeseed oil) glass baking dish (9 x 13 inches) and place in the middle of the oven on the center rack. Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, place on a cooling rack and loosen the edges. After it has cooled for about 15 minutes flip the cake over onto a cutting board and like a grid cut into one inch by three inch pieces. And you have lady fingers!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup brown rice flour
  2. 1 cup tapioca flour
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 1/2 cup agave
  6. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  7. 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  8. 1/3 cup apple sauce
  9. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  10. 3/4- 1 cup soy milk (unsweetened)

For the tofu cream, it is very important that you have either a food processor or blender to make sure it is mixed thoroughly. Drain the tofu and wrapping it in paper towel, squeeze off the excess moisture. Break into chunks and place it in the food processor. Whip until it is perfectly smooth- stopping and scrapping the sides occasionally. Add in almond butter, maple syrup, agave, vanilla, salt and coconut milk. Process again until it is smooth.

In a small sauce pan, dissolve the arrowroot in soy milk and over medium heat bring up in temperature until it begins to coagulate. (note: dissolve the arrowroot completely before putting it over the heat) Whisk the mixture continuously for 3-4 minutes until thick. Scrap into the tofu mixture in the food processor and process for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the tofu cream to a container to store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (overnight is best).

Ingredients:

  1. 4 teaspoons arrowroot
  2. 6 tablespoons soy milk
  3. 2 containers of extra firm silken tofu
  4. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  5. 1/3 cup almond butter
  6. 1/3 maple syrup
  7. 1/3 cup agave
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. pinch of sea salt

Now for the non-alcoholic and non- caffeinated sauce! I concocted a sort of spiced tea to soak the lady fingers in. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring water to a boil with 3 bags of HoneyBush tea, fresh cloves and fresh ground nutmeg. Add in a bit of agave to make it sweeter if you like. Turn down and let simmer for about 15- 20 minutes on a low heat to really release the flavours. Strain through a fine strainer into a wide and shallow bowl. Set aside.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 tea bags of Numi HoneyBush tea
  2. 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  3. 1/2 teaspoon whole nutmeg crushed slightly to release the flavour
  4. 2 1/2 cups water (add more if it evaporates too quickly)
  5. Cinnamon- you can add in just a dash or two of cinnamon if you like
  6. 2 teaspoons agave
  7. coco powder- try to find a dark coco mix that is sugar free (reserve this for the final dusting of the cake!)

Assembly! I never said this was an easy dessert to make- but it is so worth all of your loving energy! Use the same glass baking dish to create your tiramisu. Dip the lady fingers into the sweet tea sauce and let it soak up the moisture for a couple of seconds. Layer these in the bottom of the dish until the entire base is covered. Take your tofu cream, and using a rubber spatula spread the mixture evenly over the lady finger base. Next use that fine strainer to tap and shake coco powder over the top- completely covering it with a 1/4 inch layer.

There you have it- the most delicious healthy dessert you have ever made! You can garnish with fresh pansies in the summer to make it a little special. 😉

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Well, for once and all, actually, 140 characters is pretty darn short and I like to take my time getting to the point sometimes. Like tonight: Reading about maple syrup- and it is tapping time in Litchfield County. Do you know there are 6 grades? Ranging from Fancy or Grade A all the way to Grade c with lights and mediums in between. Who knew that the true Vermonter prefers the lighter grades, while I, personally, like the darker and heavier and more flavorful grade B. I like to taste the maple flavor.

The British apparently learned sugaring from the native Indians who had been at it for possibly thousands of years. Tapping the tree is the easy part. The hard part is cutting the wood and feeing the fire to boil the sap down from 40 gallons to 1. It’s a labor of love, I’d say. No wonder it’s so expensive.

So, here is a great recipe we should have had yesterday when we were being dumped with a foot of snow: a scoop of snow in a cup with maple syrup drizzled on top. Did I ever let my kids eat that when they were little, I can’t remember.

Another quick and easy maple syrup recipe from Angelica Home Kitchen Cookbook, by Leslie McEachern of Angelica Kitchen fame.

Pralines: 

1 cup almonds (slivered (pecands, wlanuts or hazelnuts can be substitued)

2 TBS maple syrup

2 TBS maple sugar

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine the nuts, maple syrup, and maple sugar. Mix well. Spread the maple-nut mix on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scrape the pralines onto a place, cool until crunchy.. Serve on pudding, pie, crunch alone, enjoy!