Wednesday, November 07, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 7: The Bake that stopped a nation.

Yesterday was a public holiday in Melbourne because it was Dessert Day Melbourne Cup day. In other words, a holiday for a horse race. I don't really understand why, but I'll take the public holiday thank you very much!

Kirsti from Melbourne on My Mind and I had been jonesing for a Dessert Day so when Nuffnang chose me to be one of their bloggers to do some holiday baking with Australia's favourite nuts (Lucky), I knew EXACTLY who to call.

I came home one day last week to a large package slipped under my door mat (how very stealthy!). As I ripped open the package I was surprised to see such a lovely Christmas bag.

And even more eager to peek inside!

The bag was filled with all kinds of goodies!  A cookbook to help with some nutty inspiration! Bags of almond meal (Lucky uses all Australian grown almonds - which I love!), sliced almonds, slivered almonds, walnuts, pine nuts ... and so much more.

Yeah! So set with the task of baking something for the holidays, Kirsti and I spent some time considering what would be delicious. I'm sure for most Australians, when faced with a cooking challenge involving nuts, they'd go to Christmas puddings and fruit cakes. But two things come to mind when I think of holiday baking. If you're talking about Christmas you also better be talking about Christmas cookies. When I was little, my mom would make huge batches of Christmas cookies every year and drive around to all our acquaintances and hand deliver a tin of cookies!  And I'll take any excuse to make cookies!

When I was quite homesick a yesterday few days ago, Kirsti and I had talked about making pumpkin pie. But then we decided that why stop at pie when we could make pumpkin cheesecake?

So we slowly started to build our Dessert Day menu.  The last item was friands, because they use so much almond flour they seemed like the perfect thing to make. Plus with a little bit of raspberry (and white chocolate), I think they'd make an excellent brunch menu item!

As someone who is gluten free, I've found that adding almond or other nut meal to my cooking has really improved my baked goods! I've been cooking with Lucky's almond meal since I moved to Australia, and seriously it has proven to be a thoroughly delicious (and nutritious) addition to my gluten free repertoire.

We started with the pumpkin cheesecake! We based the recipe for the filling from this recipe. In my bag o goodies from Lucky Nuts, I received one of their new products: oven roasted almond meal. On the package they had a recipe for how to make a naturally gluten free crust using the roasted almond meal and melted butter! So we decided to pair that with the pumpkin recipe.

The crust was amazing! It held together perfectly (a rarity in gluten free crusts, at least when I cook them) PLUS it was delicious! The pumpkin cheesecake filling though was a touch more disappointing. The recipe didn't call for any spices and I think it definitely could've used some nutmeg, cinnamon, something to make it a bit more pumpkin pie-y.  I don't want to talk about the part where I accidentally added 2 cups of sugar instead of 200 grams (about 1 cup) of sugar. Oy. Don't worry we remedied the situation.

I apologise in for the quality of my photos. Everything turned out a bit...yellow.

But check out that beauty of a cheesecake!

Next up were what Inspector Climate has dubbed "the soldiers." This recipe was part of the Lucky Nut cookbook and was naturally gluten free, so I knew it was going to be a winner. It was super easy. involved loads of almond meal. And are dipped in chocolate. For serious, can you go wrong? No. No you can't.

Sealed with the Inspector Climate stamp of approval!

Finally were the friands! We chose to make raspberry and white chocolate friands because well, yum!

Friands seem to be Australia's gluten free baked good of choice. Every bakery sells a gluten free friand that are so sugary and dense that I was kind of turned off them. But these? These were just sweet enough and with a perfect texture! I'll share the recipe on another day when I'm not writing a post that's THIS long.

Getting ready to dive into the bake goods.

While things baked we watched the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and nibbled on cheese and hummus. I like a good dose of Colin Firth with my almond meal.

Thank you to Lucky Nuts and Nuffnang product talk for giving me another reason to bake.


  1. Who DOESN'T like a good dose of Colin Firth with their almond meal?!

  2. That pumpkin cheesecake! Amazing!

    What is it about pumpkin pie that causes such cravings? I always loved it when my ma made it and it is inevitably the thing I request whenever I go to visit the parents. In fact, I want some now...

  3. So jealous you guys had a public holiday. I can't understand why we didn't have any here in New South Wales.

    That pie looks sooooooo yummy! I will have to look into using almond meal as i am considering going 100% gluten free

    xo Stephanie

  4. Fresh baked cookies and Pride and Prejudice? The best holiday ever!

  5. Wow just reading this post makes me itchy!!! (Because of the nut allergy, you know.) But I am glad you enjoyed it!

    Also? WHY is Colin Firth so hot? YUM.

  6. I want to face plant right into that cheesecake.

  7. O my gosh, stomach totally rumbling for cheescake now!

  8. These all look completely awesome - especially that cheesecake!

  9. I love GF sweets that are GF by nature, instead of through recipe hacks. I just think they work better. All your baking looks awesome!

  10. Um... yum! All of those treats look good!

  11. All of that food looks really yummy. I had to google friand as I was not sure what this is. I thought it was a muffin, so I learned something new today and it's look delicious :)