FODMAP Friendly Thanksgiving Recipe – Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas (also Gluten Free)

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and perfect for Thanksgiving

It’s well into pumpkin spice season – almost Thanksgiving now, where does the time go? – and around Halloween I had a hankering for a pav. Problem is, berries are ridiculously expensive in November (in Seattle, obviously not in Melbourne where you lucky ducks are heading into summer). What to do? At first I considered making a jack-o-lantern pavlova but, after I couldn’t find red, yellow or orange food dye at the supermarket (tip – don’t leave that until the day before Halloween next year), I thought about a pumpkin spice pavlova. Who knew, it might be delicious.

As it turns out it, it was delicious (if you like pumpkin pie, PSL’s and pavlova, you’ll love this) but sadly I wasn’t the original genius that I had thought; after writing down my own recipe, I googled it and found out that a few others had beaten me to making this ultimate Ameristralian fusion dessert.

Never mind, my use of pumpkin in the pav instead of the whipped cream (or coconut cream) seems to be original, as was serving it with candied pecans and pepitas. Note – so you don’t end up with a giant mound of cream on one side and not much on the other, be gentle with your pav and don’t rush it! I didn’t realise how poor my cream application was until I cut this slice… Whoops!

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Castor sugar is sucrose, so 1:1 fructose/glucose and safe in moderation. One serve of this pav would be fine for most FODMAPers.
  2. Maple, golden and brown rice syrup are all low FODMAP.
  3. Pumpkin safety depends on the type of pumpkin – I prefer sugar/pie pumpkin, which is safe in 1/4 cup serves – sorbitol can be an issue in larger amounts. Given that the small amount of pumpkin puree is spread between 12-16 serves, this is low FODMAP.
  4. Normal dairy cream can be used if lactose is not an issue, otherwise replace it with lactose free double cream or a low FODMAP vanilla yoghurt.
  5. Coconut Cream is low FODMAP in up to 1/2 cup serves – any more and sorbitol becomes an issue. It is also the dairy free option, for those who do not eat dairy products.
  6. Pecans are low FODMAP in small serves.
  7. Pepitas are low FODMAP in 2 tbsp. serves, as with most seeds.

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas

Serves 12-16.

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar, sieved
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground all spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 30 g pumpkin puree

Before you start, make sure your kitchen is not humid. Open a window and do not turn on the dishwasher before you make the batter.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F (non fan forced) and line two baking trays with baking paper or a silicon mat.

Place the egg whites and pinch of salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat slowly for 60 seconds, to loosen the protein, before gradually increasing the speed in increments, until at full speed for 3-4 minutes. Stop when the egg whites are light and fluffy, like a cloud.

Next, gradually pour in the pre-sieved castor sugar in quarters while beating on high, allowing 30 seconds between each pour for the sugar to dissolve properly into the mixture, then continue to beat, on high, for another minute or two. After this, the batter should form stiff peaks when you remove the beater from it. If it does not, continue beating on high for another 2 minutes at a time, or add 1/4 cup pf sugar, then check again.

Once ready, add in the vanilla, pumpkin puree and white wine vinegar, then the corn starch, cream of tartar and beat for another minute to combine. Pile the mixture in two even piles on the lined baking trays and place in the oven and close the door. Don’t open it again until it’s done.

Immediately reduce the heat to 150 C/300 F and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat further to 100 C / 200 F and bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and let it cool down for 30 minutes.  Your pavlovas are done but they should be allowed to cool completely to room temperature before handling, which should be kept to a minimum. Store them at room temperature, covered with an upside down container to keep them from getting damaged, until you’re ready to assemble them.

Spiced Whipped Cream/Coconut Cream

  • 400 ml double cream to whip, or 3 cups whipped coconut cream (follow these instructions)
  • 1 tbsp. icing dextrose
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground all spice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Either whip the 400 ml of cream (only use as much as required), or prepare the whipped coconut cream according to the linked instructions. Once almost completely whipped, add in the icing dextrose and spices and whip for another 30 seconds until combined. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pavlova – don’t make more than 12 hours ahead of time.

Candied Nut Topping

  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup roasted pepitas
  • 1 tbsp. butter or dairy free sub like coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple, golden or brown rice syrup

Melt the butter over a low to medium heat, then add in the nuts and syrup. Increase heat to medium, and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes, until the syrup has reduced by half – the rest will firm up as the mixture cools. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before topping the pavlova. Can be made a day ahead, store in an airtight container.

Assembly

GENTLY lay the first pavlova upside down on a serving dish. Top with half the whipped cream/coconut cream and then cover with the second pavlova, right side up. Top with more whipped cream/coconut cream (don’t feel like you have to use all of it, if it’s not required) and decorate with the candied nut mix.

Refrigeration isn’t best for pavlovas, as it causes the crispy meringue shell to soften, so to avoid this serve within two hours of assembly. If you have to refrigerate it (summer in Australia etc), then it’s not the end of the world, the flavour will stay the same, it’ll just be softer.

Enjoy!

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How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

How to make homemade pumpkin puree - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, healthy

Tinned pumpkin puree is extremely useful to have around – I normally have a few cans on hand for lunch or dinner time emergencies (for example, to make pumpkin soup, or a pumpkin and tomato soup) – but really, when you’re trying to impress guests, it doesn’t help you bring your A game to the table. Freshly roasted pumpkin is miles ahead in terms of taste, so, at this time of year, when desserts apparently have to follow the pumpkin theme, too, it’s handy to have some freshly roasted pumpkin puree in the fridge or freezer to whip up your favourite pumpkin pie or cheesecake.

Speaking of this time of year, it’s starting to get dark at 3.30 pm already! Not that lighting has been great during “daylight hours,” anyway. Seattle is notorious for being dark and gloomy, though it doesn’t rain quite as much as Hollywood would have you believe. So I’ve been chasing it around the house for photos… you do what you have to! Though I don’t think Bailey was too impressed that his kennel was being used for a prop.

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Pumpkins/squash generally contain some level of polyols, usually sorbitol. I would not eat them if I was on elimination but if you are in the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet, I’d test 1/4 cup of pumpkin first, as that is what is listed as safe for all varieties except Jap/Kent pumpkins, which are safe in 1/2 cup servings. Of course, if polyols are not a trigger for you, eat as much as you can/like.

How to roast a pumpkin

This method works for any pumpkin/winter squash variety.

  • One pie pumpkin, around 1-1.5 kg/2.2-3.3 lb
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 large baking tray
  • Cooking oil

Choose a smallish pumpkin that is brightly coloured – this will give you the best chance of a strong taste. The bigger pumpkins with duller colours tend to be a bit bland. The pumpkins I chose were around 1.1 kg each and yielded approximately 450-500 g of puree.

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Preheat your oven to 200 C/400 F. If you have not done so, rinse the pumpkin of any obvious chunks of dirt, before chopping it into four or five pieces and scooping/scraping out the seeds.

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Spread the pumpkin evenly around a lightly oiled baking dish of your choice and fill a small, oven-safe dish with water – this keeps the oven environment moist and prevents the pumpkin from drying out as it bakes.

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Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until it is fork tender (think boiled potatoes). Remove the dish from the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes or so, then scoop the flesh out and transfer it to a large bowl. Discard the skin.

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Either mash or blend the pumpkin flesh to form a puree and then store it in glass jars or zip-lock bags in the fridge (for up to a week) or the freezer (for no more than two months before quality begins to suffer).

Now you can use it for any cake, pie, bread, soup or custard recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. Easy peasy!

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FODMAP Friendly Thanksgiving & Christmas Recipe – Spatchcocked Turkey & Gravy

Fructose Friendly Christmas Recipe - Turkey and Gravy

This post is a follow up to the previous post, in which I showed you a low FODMAP cornbread stuffing. Or dressing, depending on which part of the US you come from. Speaking as an Aussie, I always called it stuffing, because it was generally stuffed up the bird’s you know where. But anyway…

This is the turkey that we served alongside that stuffing – which wasn’t stuffed into the bird because Alton Brown told us (in the season 1 special of Good Eats, Romancing the Bird) that that increases mass, thus cooking time, leading to dry meat – and we always do what AB tells us to. He hasn’t failed us yet.

Even though we cooked this turkey as a belated Thanksgiving dinner, it would of course work well for a Christmas turkey. This was the first turkey that either Evgeny or I had dealt with, other than the sandwich meat type shaved turkey – we don’t have Thanksgiving in Australia and Christmas is during summer, so most sane people either do seafood (cooks very quickly) or buy a leg of ham from the supermarket and have cold cuts of meat instead.

Notes:

  1. These guidelines are relevant to a 13-15 lb/5.5-7 kg turkey (ours was 13.55 lb), once it has been thawed. Follow the thawing guideline provided when you purchase the bird.
  2. Make sure your turkey isn’t pre-basted or injected with any fillers that contain onion and garlic – or anything else you are sensitive to.
  3. Remove the giblets and the neck from the cavity inside the turkey and keep them. They make a fantastic stock, which can be made ahead of time, to use in the corn bread stuffing.
  4. Green leek tips are low FODMAP.

Roast Turkey

  • 1 x 13-15 lb turkey – fresh, thawed from frozen… basically ready to cook.
  • 4 large sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups green leek tips, roughly chopped
  • 1 big bunch of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Spatchcock the turkey. I found a great slide show with detailed instructions here, because we didn’t take photos of this stage – messy hands and all.

  1. Place the turkey on a chopping board, with the breasts down and the spine up. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity if they are still in there.
  2. Using kitchen shears, or a strong knife, cut along each side of the spine and remove it completely – place it with the neck and giblets to make stock later on.
  3. If you need to cut the turkey in half to fit in your roasting pan, like we did, you need to remove the keel bone (a bird’s version of a sternum). Leave the bird on it’s front and find the keel, which runs centrally between the two breast sections. Use a sharp fillet blade to slice along the membrane on either side of the keel bone (cartilage, really) and pry it out with your fingers. It’s tricky but necessary for us.
  4. Flip the bird over onto what was its back and press down HARD on the breast meat. If you didn’t remove the keel bone cartilage, you will hear some loud cracks as the ribs break. If you struggle to remove the keel bone cartilage, this might help to loosen it a little and make the removal easier. At any rate, this step is necessary to flatten the bird, if you didn’t remove the keel.
  5. Your turkey is now spatchcocked and ready to bake.

Preheat your oven to 475 F/250 C.

Remove the wire rack out of your roasting pan (ours is flat, yours might be V-shaped). in the base of the pan, evenly spread the chunks of carrot, green leek tips, celery and most of the rosemary. Replace the wire rack and lay the turkey down, with the skin facing up. Tuck in the wing tips and close up the legs. Rub the olive oil into the skin and shove the remaining sprigs of rosemary into any crevices, then lightly sprinkle with salt. Please excuse the toothpicks in the following photo, we had to keep the skin in place after we had cut the turkey in two.

Let it sit until the oven has heated fully, as the super high temperature is going to brown and crisp the skin before you reduce the temperature to 180 C to complete cooking the turkey.

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Before you put it in the oven, insert a meat thermometer into the breast; make sure that it is inserted into flesh and not pressing up against any bones, or the temperature will be incorrect.

Put the turkey into the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 475 F/250 C. The turkey should become a nice shade of golden brown in that time. Reduce the temperature to 350 F/180 C and bake for another 30 minutes, at which point you can open the oven door quickly and check the temperature. The breast is done at 161 F/72 C and the leg is done when it reaches 180 F/82 C (thanks, AB). If you have a fancy digital probe thermometer with an alarm option, set it to the breast temperature and the turkey is done when it goes off… if not, you need to do what we do and take quick peaks at the dial. If you have an oven with a glass door, that is fantastic – we don’t.

All up our turkey took 1 hour and 30 minutes for the breast meat to reach 161 F, by which time the thighs had also reached 180 F. Remove the turkey form the oven and loosely cover with foil and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes before carving it. The slide show that I linked to above also has carving instructions.

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Turkey Gravy

  • The drippings from the roasting pan.
  • 1/2 cup turkey stock (that you made with the neck and giblets) or any FF chicken or veg stock – beef would be too strong here
  • 1/4 cup GF plain flour
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

If you have a decent roasting pan, your life will be a lot easier. Ours… well, it’s from Ikea. Let’s just leave it at that.

Once you have removed the roasting pan from the oven and removed the turkey to a chopping board, while you are letting the turkey “sit” for 20 to 30 minutes, put the roasting pan back on the stove top (you will probably need to span two elements) and deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup of stock. It should only take a minute or two. Then strain the mixture into a measuring jug (makes pouring it out later easier) and place it in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to get the fats to congeal at the top.

Once the fats have started to rise to the top, remove some (not all, as they do add some flavour) of the fat and discard. In a separate saucepan, make a roux with the butter and flour – melt the butter and flour together and whisk until smooth – before adding in the remainder of the turkey drippings/stock mix and stirring until it has thickened unto a gravy-like consistency. If it isn’t thickening and you want to add in more flour, dissolve 1 tbsp. of corn starch or GF plain flour in 1 tbsp. of water and then add it into the gravy; if you just tip in flour, it will become lumpy and you will need to do a lot of whisking to smooth it out again.

Pour into a gravy boat and serve alongside the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and any other side dishes you and your guests have made.

May I suggest one of these beauties for the end of the night?

Merry Christmas (or happy whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year) to all of you, I hope you manage to stay low FODMAP – or that any indulgences aren’t too disasterous 🙂

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FODMAP Friendly Thanksgiving & Christmas Recipe – Cornbread Stuffing

Fructose Friendly Christmas Recipe - Corn Bread Stuffing

Like – I assume – most kids, the bit I liked best about the roasted chooks that Mum would occasionally buy was the deliciousness that was stuffed inside. If I had been allowed to, I would have completely ignored the chicken and just gorged myself on the herbed, bready stuffing from within. It helped that I thought it was hilarious that it was technically arse bread.

For some reason, Mum stopped buying them – explanation please, Heather? – and stuffing became a thing of legend. Last year we had a Thanksgiving feast at an Aussie friend’s house (no Americans present but we did our best) and one of the guests brought two pans of stuffing – none of which I could eat, of course, as they had wheat bread in them but they smelt ah-mazing. I was drooling and it took all of my strength to resist. The room I spared in my stomach for dessert was the main factor behind my determination; look at the bright side, right?

This year, Ev and I held a belated Thanksgiving dinner after his brother arrived from Australia and there was no question about it, we both wanted stuffing on the menu. After browsing some recipes, it seemed simple enough. Bread as a base, saute some veggies and add in stock and herbs. Then bake. It really was that easy! Hooray! It can even be made ahead of time and then baked before it’s required.

FODMAP Notes

  1. I added in a little garlic and onion to this, as I can tolerate them. If you can’t, then either omit them or add in the green parts of chives and a pinch of asafoetida powder.
  2. Asafoetida powder is an Indian spice that replicates the flavours of onion and garlic.
  3. The green parts of chives and leeks are lower FODMAP than the white, and easier to tolerate fructans-wise.
  4. Mushrooms contain mannitol, so beware if you are sensitive. The half cup split between eight portions should help to soften the FODMAP load.
  5. This is an egg-free stuffing, if you choose to use a bread that doesn’t contain eggs – my corn bread does but some commercial GF breads, or 100% rye breads, do not.

Corn Bread Stuffing

Serves 6-8 as a side dish, works well in a 12″ skillet.

  • 1/2 a loaf of my cast iron cornbread recipe, or a small loaf of your favourite GF bread
  • 1 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil.
  • 3 cups of finely diced vegetables that you can tolerate – I used 1/2 cup green leek tips, 1/2 cup diced mushrooms, zucchini, celery, grated carrots
  • 2 cups of fructose friendly stock – you can make it fresh from the neck and giblets of the bird you are roasting
  • 1/8 cup fresh minced rosemary
  • 1/8 cup fresh minced thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the bread into 2 cm cubes (or there-about) and leave it out overnight to harden. The drier the bread, the more liquid – and thus flavour – it will soak up when the stuffing is baking. If you forgot, or don’t have the time to let it dry out naturally, bake it in the oven at 180 C/350 F for 20 to 30 minutes, checking it periodically.

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Seal your pan with the garlic infused olive oil and saute the finely diced veggies and fresh herbs for 20 minutes or so – you want them to reduce by at least 50%, 75% is ideal. It doesn’t matter if the bottom of the pan browns a little – this is called a fond and is like a flavour bomb, as long as you don’t let it burn and become bitter. It will “deglaze” itself when you add in the liquid stock later on.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.

Once the veggies have reduced, add in the bread chunks and mix them around. The bread will crumble – this is okay. Next, add in 1 cup of the stock and stir it through. Add in more stock and stir through if required. You may not need the entire 2 cups of stock, depending on how dry the bread was or how much liquid was left in the veggies; just play it by ear. The stuffing shouldn’t look soupy but it should definitely be moist before it is baked, like a dough. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Bake it for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top has browned a little and formed a slight crust. It should still be moist but much of the squishiness it had pre-baking should be gone.

Serve it in the skillet on the table, along with the turkey (or chook) and accompanying dishes. Simple, tasty and low FODMAP! Can’t beat that.

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