The buds are starting to appear in Paris. A few days of blissful sunshine after months of grey gave way back to steely grey again before our bodies could scarcely synthesis enough vitamin D. But there is something so magical about walking through the Luxembourg gardens with a drizzly mist hanging in the air, and little bursts of pink flowers suspended up in the trees. Even the bees have started venturing out. The transition betweens seasons feels like it lasts longer than the actual seasons sometimes. This winter has been a particularly “charged” one for me. I’ve been balancing my health with new projects (that I can’t wait to share with you all!) and I’ve been essentially working day and night in our attic hideaway for months. I feel like I’m finally coming up for air, and I’m as desperate for snow as I am for springtime. I need a shift. We all do come this time of year. And to express this seasonally split sensation, I made a sun cake, in ode to the passing winter months and in welcome of springtime buds and blossoms. This cake is a bit based on the French frangipane galette des rois. I used GF puff pastry (pre-made, because life is complicate enough) with a layer of marzipan caramel and creamed chestnuts. It’s that simple. The French love sweetened chestnut cream (crème de marron) and it’s used in many pastries here and sold everywhere. Americans would do well to adopt this healthy sweet treat.
Almonds: High in oméga-3 fatty acids that support brain, heart, nervous system, and liver function. Almonds are high in fiber that helps to balance the digestive system, flush the body of excess cholesterol (supporting heart health) and excess hormones. They offer a high source of vitamin E (a fat-soluble antioxydant) that supports skin health and hormone production (among many more actions…). Overall, these little nuts are loaded with a wide range of antioxydants (mostly found in the skin of the almonds so opt away form skinned almonds). High in magnesium (supporting health blood pressure). Support healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. And generally packed with super food defining nutrients. Try buying almonds, fresh, and still in their shells. The taste is incomparable, and cracking them open makes for an eating activity/portion controller.
Chestnuts : High source of B vitamins that support healthy skin, red blood cell production, and brain function amongst a myriad of other benefits. B vitamins are one of the most essential nutrient groups for fertility, pregnancy and hormone balance. Chestnuts can help increase energy levels due to high complex carb and good fat content. They help lower cholesterol, despite being so rich and delicious! Chestnuts also support digestive health. With their high levels of copper (a trace mineral), these nuts enhance bone density and boost the immune system. The high manganese (another trace mineral) levels protect the body from free-radicals and blood clotting issues.
For 4 – 6 people
2 pre-made puff pastry dough sheets
350g marzipan/almond paste
1/3 cup (100g) honey
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla powder or extract
2 tablespoons (30ml) virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1/3 cup chestnut cream (you can substitute almond butter + 4 tablespoons of honey )
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the almond paste, honey, vanilla, oil and a pinch of salt. Heat the mixture, turning often, until the almond paste softens and it almost begins to caramelize (you want to take it off the heat right before it begins to burn to get that caramelized nutty flavor).
Grease a pie dish and form one of the dough sheets into the dish, trimming off the edges (you will use these to cut out the leaves and decorations). Puncture holes into the dough with a fork to release air during baking. Pre-bake the pie crust for 15 minutes.
Remove the shell from the oven and spread the almond paste mixture over the dough followed by the chestnut cream (or almond butter mixed with honey). Place the second sheet of dough on top and trim off the edges.
Using a knife, cut little leaves, eyes, berries, etc out of the leftover dough. Add a drop or two of water to the dough decorations to help them stick.
Whip up the egg yolk and brush it over the dough to create a shiny glaze.
Bake the sun cake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the crust turns golden brown. Serve warm! (With a side of golden turmeric milk)