Friday, November 22, 2013

A feast day... and a fasting recipe!

First of all, a great big Happy Feast Day to Sr. Cecilia! Today is the feast of the virgin and martyr, St. Cecilia, who is the patron saint of musicians (it's fitting that Sr. Cecilia is our cantor!), but not for the reason you might think.  Here is how St. Thérèse of Lisieux reflected so beautifully on why St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians:

"What a model! In the midst of the world, with every sort of danger ringing her round on the point of being married to a young pagan who dreamed only of earthly love, Cecilia might well have trembled and wept..., but no, 'Leaving the instruments sounding for her wedding, Cecilia was singing in her heart'...What total trust!...She was not afraid...she knew that Jesus was under obligation to guard and protect her virginity, and she knew the reward.

St. Cecilia is like the Bride in the canticles; I see her as a choir in an armed camp. Her life was one melodious song in the midst of terrible trials; which does not amaze me, because the holy gospel rested upon her heart and in her heart the Spouse of Virgins rested.

Now as you know, we are currently in a fasting period for Christmas - the Nativity or Philip's Fast (click here for more details if you don't!) - which you might think would make celebrating a feast day somewhat of a bummer!  And I suppose it might be if you based your happiness on whether you got eat meat or dairy on any particular day (placing your joy in things = always going to let you down).  Luckily though, we take our feasting as seriously as our fasting, so we try to find special ways to enjoy fasting food while we feast. (That was a lot of fasting/feasting combinations - and also a lot of parentheses.)

So on the menu for dessert for Sr. Cecilia's feast day was a new recipe I found on the blog oh she glows while searching for fast-friendly dessert recipes called Pumpkin Pie Brownie in a Crunchy Pecan Crust.  As soon as I read the title, I thought 'Challenge accepted!'  So here are some pictures of my journey to deliciousness.

Here are all the dry ingredients for the brownie layer.
Sift it.  Sift it real good.
My first foray with coconut oil - it proved a success!
Creamy. White. Goodness.
Up close and personal with the brownie layer.
Whipping the pumpkin goodness.
Pumpkin pie stuffs - Thanks, Mother Theodora for hand modeling!
Pecan layer of awesomeness.
Why yes that would be carpet that has the look of brick, but the feel of carpet.
Pecans all mixed up!
The finished product pre-baking.
Yummmm.  All cooked and overflowing with yumminess.
The final served product!

So there you have it - a pictorial journey through Sr. Cecilia's feast day dessert.  It was oh-so-delicious and a big hit!  

Check out the recipe below for the full scoop. 

Pumpkin Pie Brownie in a Crunchy Pecan Crust


Pumpkin Brownie Layer:
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp sugar
• 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
• 3/4 cup white flour
• 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot/tapioca)
• 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pumpkin Pie Layer:
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 2 tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot/tapioca)
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 3 tbsp almond milk
• 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

Pecan Topping:
• 1/4 cup margarine
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup white flour
• 3/4 cups chopped pecans 

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a pie pan (9in pan was not big enough!  Use bigger!).
2. For brownie layer: In a stand mixer or by hand, mix together the coconut oil, pumpkin, vanilla,
and sugar until blended well. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking, soda, sea salt
and mix until incorporated. Take the entire mixture and place in pie pan. Wet spatula and spread
around evenly so it is smooth.
3. For pumpkin layer: In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, vanilla, and milk. In a small
bowl, mix together the cornstarch, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add the dry ingredients
to the wet and mix well until all clumps are gone. Now add on top of brownie mixture. 
4. For pecan topping: Mix all ingredients until well combined and sprinkle on top of the pie.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes and then
move to the fridge to chill for 1.5 hours.
6. Serves approx 8-12 slices. Serve with vegan ice cream if desired. I made a coconut whipped cream that was more like a sweet white sauce - pretty delish!

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