From Lauren: I’m excited to share with you another guest recipe today, and it is created by the extraordinarily talented Laura Vein at Sweet Treats Baking. Laura, a pastry chef and photographer, uses her culinary background to make the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) a gourmet and beautiful experience. This recipe is suitable for the re-introduction phases of AIP.
This month, I’ve been privileged to share many guest recipes (including Caramel Blondies, Apple Oven Pancake, and Spinach Artichoke Dip) from some of my favorite bloggers. First, I want to introduce you to other bloggers and new resources for your healing journey. Second, my school load has been very intense for the past few weeks and I haven’t had time for my own recipe creation. I hope you are enjoying these recipes!
Laura’s Journey with AIP
Going from a Standard American Diet (SAD) to the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) is a huge challenge of personal will power & culinary creativity. I made this change in one giant step in April 2014–one day I was eating a reduced gluten SAD diet, and the next day, on the recommendation of my doctor, I fully committed to AIP. This transition had its challenges, especially since I’m a pastry chef by trade & a former culinary school instructor. AIP forced me to completely change my baking mentality. But thankfully, the elimination stage of AIP doesn’t last forever.
After a period of healing & seeing dramatic improvement in my symptoms, I cautiously started adding back a few items. Two of my successful reintroductions, which are found in this recipe, include pastured egg yolks & dark chocolate (dairy free/soy free). I don’t eat my reintroduction items necessarily on a daily basis, nor do I eat them in large quantities, but it is really satisfying to expand my options, especially for special occasions.
My husband has been incredibly supportive of my AIP eating lifestyle changes–I suspect he’s mainly excited about how much more meat & veggies we eat these days! He even follows almost all the AIP guidelines I follow when eating at home, including some reintroductions. But when he had a sinus procedure a couple months ago, I wanted to make him a comforting treat, while still promoting optimum healing. He requested chocolate pudding.
Paleo Chocolate Pots de Creme
Pudding falls into the custard family of desserts, which also includes such items as creme brûlée, pastry cream, creme anglaise, flan, panna cotta, some ice cream varieties, and more. Traditional custards are comprised of flavored (and usually sweetened) dairy that has been thickened with ingredients like eggs, starch and/or gelatin. Custards are not terribly difficult to paleo-ify either, by swapping the dairy for coconut milk (or almond milk, or perhaps even tigernut milk), by replacing the white granulated sugar with a paleo-friendly option like honey or maple syrup (and often reducing the amount of sweetener), & by thickening the custard with high quality eggs, and/or paleo friendly starches, and/or gelatin, depending on what your personal lifestyle allows. The texture of the custard depends greatly on the ratio of dairy to thickener. I decided to make a more grown up version of pudding by creating a paleo chocolate pots de crème custard.
Pot de crème is one of the softest, richest custards (traditionally made with just yolks) & is usually made and served in small individual cups. The custard is started on the stove & finished in the oven, not requiring as much hands-on preparation as some custards need. Once baked and chilled, it can be served either as is, or with additional garnishes. While these custards may be small, they are very, very rich.
I’ve made many desserts over the years, but my husband has declared these chocolate pots de crèmes as one of his favorites of any dessert I’ve made, paleo or not. He laments their small size–he could possibly eat at least half a batch in a sitting, but I think they’re the perfect size for a once-in-a-while indulgence.
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk (recommended brand available here
- 90 g (1/2 c) Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Chips (such as Enjoy Life chocolate chips, available here)
- 3 Egg Yolks (pastured, if possible)
- 42 g (2 Tbl) honey
- generous pinch sea salt
- Optional: Coconut Whipped Cream for serving
- Optional: Cacao powder, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium heat until just below a simmer--bubbles form around the edges & small wisps of steam are visible; do not boil. Remove the pan from heat & add the chocolate chips. Whisk together until the chocolate has completely melted into the coconut milk. If not all the chocolate melts, return the pan to the burner & heat slightly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yolks, honey & salt. Temper the hot coconut chocolate mixture into the yolks/honey mixture by pouring the liquid in a slow stream into the yolks/honey, while constantly whisking. If the bowl moves around too much during this process, place a silicone pot holder/oven mitt or wet paper towel under the bowl to keep it in place. Optional: pour the custard mixture into a large liquid measuring cup or other vessel with a spout.
- Place 4 small cups or ramekins into a larger baking dish or roasting pan. Divide the custard mixture evenly between the cups--a little more than ⅓ c of the mixture in each cup. Pour water into the baking dish, around the cups, to help insulate the custards & protect the cups during the baking process.
- Carefully transfer the baking dish of cups into the preheated oven & bake until the custards are set, 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the custard should still have a bit of jiggle when the pan is gently shaken.
- Cool the dish for a few minutes, then remove the cups from the water bath & refrigerate until cold.
- Serve on their own, or with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and/or a dusting of cacao powder. Keep any leftovers covered & chilled in the refrigerator.
Laura is a pastry chef, stylist, designer/photographer, & former culinary school instructor who found the Autoimmune Protocol, with the help of her doctor, after her health began deteriorating from the effects of interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, gluten intolerance, IBS, allergies (and probably other yet-to-be-diagnosed conditions). She is passionate about showing the world all the delicious and good for you options the Autoimmune Protocol can offer. She doesn’t want anyone to feel deprived, no matter what their food limitations are. She loves telling stories through food & providing encouragement. In her spare time, she often “falls down online rabbit holes” researching various topics, health-related or not, and brainstorming future projects.