Friday, June 24, 2011

A Big Thumbs Up for Avocado



Cooking is pretty much a part of my everyday existence. I never tire of it and I am always on the look out for ways to improve and diversify my skills. Like many others I am also on a mission to make things healthier so you can imagine my delight when the most recent Oldways Newsletter made it to my inbox.

Oldways is an internationally-respected non-profit, changing the way people eat through practical and positive programs grounded in science, traditions, and delicious foods and drinks. It is best known for developing consumer-friendly health-promotion tools, including the Whole Grain Stamp and the well-known Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.

The latest newsletter was titled "Butter Up - Baking with Avocados" Yes, that's right! Not only were they confirming avocados greatness in salads and guacamole Oldways they were also suggesting avocado to be a wonderful baking ingredient as well. I scratched my head and thought, well why not?

So i set to thinking about two contrasting ways i could use avocado in my baking to test this out. The first one I came up with was my regular meusli slice i make for the kids. It's nothing exciting but it is a great grab and go snack that could be made healthier with avocado and the other I came up with was pastry. Who doesn't want a healthier option for pastry?

Something else worth noting is that avocado fat is predominantly unsaturated fat making it a perfect substitute for saturated fat products such as butter. When using avocado in your cooking the recommendation is 1 : 1 - easy peasy! The other great thing is that when comparing avocado to a product such as butter, calories are far less. In fact two tablespoons of avocado has 50 calories whereas two tablespoons of butter has 204 calories. Could this possibly get any better?

Well yes, because when i tasted my two test dishes I was an instant convert. I tasted, I chewed, I analysed and yes from a textural and visual point of view I could tell the difference but from a taste point of view I was very pleasantly suprised. Sure my pastry lacked the buttery flavour that makes it so luscious but I can live without that. The other bonus - the kids were none the wiser. So in conclusion, we are giving avo's the big thumbs up! Try it for yourself and see what you think. Let me know how you go. I would love from you about your own avocado baking experiences.


Test Case One:

Meusli Slice


Makes 10 - 12 slices

60 g spelt or wholemeal flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
115g Rolled Oats
1/3 cup Rapadura Sugar
60g dried cranberries (or whatever dried fruit you have on hand)
60 g shredded coconut
50g organic dark chocolate cut into chunks
85g very well mashed or pureed avocado
1/4 cup ricotta or natural yoghurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Line a square baking tin (20 x 20cm) with baking paper

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl
Stir in the oats, sugar, cranberries, chocolate and coconut
In a separate bowl lighlty mix the avocado, ricotta, egg and vanilla
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and mix together until combined (don't over mix)
Transfer to the prepared baking tin and level the surface with the back of spoon

Bake for about 25 mins or until slightly risen, golden and just firm to touch
Allow to cool
Cut as desired and enjoy!

* i have also made this slice with buckwheat flour in place of the spelt. When doing so I added in 2 tspn of baking powder to the dry mix. It comes out moist and delicious. I also find that when i use ricotta it tends to be heavier than when I use natural yoghurt.

Test Case Two:

Avocado Spelt Pastry



Enough for 1 family pie or approximately 12 mini pies

3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour
3/4 cup white spelt flour
100g diced avocado
2 tbs LSA
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
50 mls chilled water (use only if needed)

Place the flour, diced avocado, LSA, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Slowly whilst the motor is running gradually add a little water at a time until the pastry comes together. (as soon as it starts to come together stop the machine)
Remove the pastry from the bowl and knead lightly on a lightly floured bench and form into a ball
Put in a glass bowl with a lid and let the pastry rest for 30mins in the fridge to rest.


This pastry can be used for any savoury tart or pie you wish. The boys requested mini beef pies so i have outlined my recipe for that below if you are interested. I haven’t ventured as far to make my own puff pastry as yet so I used **Borgs Organic Puff Pastry that is available from most supermarkets for the top.



Organic Beef Party Pies

Makes approx 12 mini pies

500gms organic minced beef
1 dozen cherry tomatoes chopped in half
1/2 vegetable stock cube
1/2 cup water
6 sage leaves roughly chopped
1 medium size potato diced
1/2 carrot diced finely
1 heaped tbs tomato chutney
1 egg lightly beaten

** Puff Pastry for Top

Preheat a pan over medium heat and brown the mince
Add the chopped tomatoes, potato, carrot, vege stock cube, water and red wine if you wish
Allow to simmer gently for about 15 mins or until the veges have softened
Stir every now and again to ensure even cooking
Add the sage leaves and tomato chutney
Sir well and remove the mixture from the heat to cool.

Pre heat over to 185 degrees celcius and prepare trays by lightly spraying with oil
Remove the pastry from the fridge and flatten into a disc shape
Using as little flour as possible, roll the pastry once or twice then use a pasty knife to lift and rotate clockwise before rolling again
Repeat this until you have reached a diameter of approximately 25cm
Using a tea cup, cut the pastry into 12 circles
Lift each pastry circle and press into little tins or trays
Using a tea cup, cut the puff pastry into 12 circles
Divide the meat mixture between the pie bases and top with puff pastry circles (don't overfill)
Trim the edges of the pie by taking a knife and working it around the perimeter
Use a fork to press the edges of the pie together
Brush the top with a lightly beaten egg
Place in a preheated oven and cook for 30 - 35 mins or unit the pastry is golden brown
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16 comments:

  1. Awesome recipes and you certainly have the most adorable taste tester!

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  2. I definitely think my kids would eat it! It looks delicious. What a wonderful discovery for making baking healthier.

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  3. I would never have considered using avocado in pastry, but what a fantastic idea! I have a vegan dinner coming up and will certainly give it a go. Thanks for the tip!

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  4. Interesting! I've never baked with avocadoes but will definitely give it a go.

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  5. Baking with avocados? I'm intrigued and can't wait to start substituting it for butter! Thank you for the introduction to Oldways as well.

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  6. Love the look of that pastry ...

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  7. I cant say that I've ever cooked with avacado. I've only had them in their raw form, but I'd love to try this out. Avacoados are really good and full of healthy fats.
    *kisses* HH

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  8. Hi Sherilyn,

    Love the pastry recipe! I will definitely try it out next time I'm making pies.
    I can also confess that I have been bulking up my banana cocoa smoothies using avocado, and yes, Mr is none the wiser, eventhough he is not a big avo on its own fan!

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  9. WOW! These look really good! But what's LSA? Can't wait to try the recipe :D

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  10. Hi Sherilyn, you've done it again with these awesome recipes - and with avocado too! I've yet to bake with avocado, but I know it's use in many vegan recipes. Love the look of the spelt pastry...hmm...could use it for an apple pie (minus the salt and pepper) - yay! A wheat-free and dairy-free apple pie..woohooo!

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  11. Great post! I love avocados and have a few recipes I am wanting to try (dessert recipes) that involve them. Yum! Great recipe too, thanks :)
    Heidi xo

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  12. I made the Museli Slice yesterday, adding to my collection of healthy snack options for the family. they were really tasty - would never have thought to use avocado for baking. thanks for another yummy recipe! xo

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  13. I have the same question, what is LSA???

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    Replies
    1. Hi Audrey

      LSA is a mix of ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. Thanks for dropping by an asking..

      Delete
  14. Anonymous25/8/12

    Is there a substitute for the avocado in the pastry??

    ReplyDelete
  15. Belinda7/10/12

    Love the sound of the Museli Slice, will definitely be giving that one a go! Just wondering how would you store it? Room temp?

    ReplyDelete

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Hey There, I’m Sherilyn the creator of Wholepromise. This is where I venture outside of being a mum, wife and Fertility Nurse Specialist. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Qld, Australia and am spoilt by year round access to Farmers Markets offering a plethora of local, seasonal and organic produce. In all Wholepromise is my style of food, it’s the food I want my boys to appreciate and it’s the food that makes me happy. Styling and photographing it is just another bonus.

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