Cucina Nicolina has been one of my favourite blogs since I first discovered the blogosphere, sometime way back in 2008. Its author, Nicole Spiridakis, first captured me with her Wordless Wednesday posts, a quiet homage to the beauty of the untamed California beaches and mountains that surrounded her. She kept my interest with easy, satisfying lunches and wholesome baked goods. And now, she has completely won me over with her first cookbook, Flourless. – and this incredible flourless pumpkin bread.
Like most of Spiridakis’ recipes in Flourless., this pumpkin bread is unbelievably easy; so easy, in fact, it almost feels obscene to end up with such a gorgeous piece. It requires no more than 5 minutes of prepping, one bowl and one spatula. The ingredients are all simple, beautiful natural products that can be found on most working forms, let alone the shelves of your supermarket.
But the result is so much more than you would expect, so much more than we have come to believe is possible without gluten, fancy reductions, or whipped cream. Eggs and pumpkin puree, cinnamon and almond meal and maple syrup come together in a beautiful celebration of fall, warm tea and inviting, cozy blankets. This is a pumpkin bread that is actually a teatime cake, and it would bring a smile to the face of any guest who happens by your house. Its a quiet song, an ode to simplicity that we can all embrace at these busy, tiring times.
And its not singular fluke, this pumpkin bread; instead, its an indication of what the rest of Spiridakis’ recipes are like. Despite its gluten and grain-free providence, there are no complicated gums or powders to be found in Flourless., no ingredients that sound like they have come out of the pages of a chemistry book. Under the tagline of ‘recipes for naturally gluten-free desserts’, Spiridakis brings forward dozens of recipes for crumbly pies and tarts, chewy cookies, and impressive cakes.
Having made three recipes form Flourless. already, and countless others from Spiridakis’ blog, Cucina Nicolina, I can tell you that they leave nothing to be desired. There are no compromises about this kind of gluten-free baking: it’s wholly delicious, wholesome, and satisfying. It’s quickly become my go-to baking book, and I foresee many cozy afternoons spent in its company.
Thanks to the generosity of Raincoast Books, I am able to offer one lucky reader a copy of this beauty. Enter below to win your copy of Flourless., and then tell me of the beautiful creations you have made from it. Tag your recipes #immigrantstable and @immigrantstable on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, and I will be happy to share them with my other followers!
- ⅔ cup (170 g) pumpkin puree
- 1 cup (120 g) ground almonds
- ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup (30 g) chopped walnuts (optional)
- ¼ cup (45 g) chocolate chips (optional, omit if fully paleo)
- ¼ cup (25 g) sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 350F/170C. Grease a loaf pan with vegetable oil.
- Combine all the ingredients but the last three in a medium bowl, and stir well until a smooth batter forms. Stir in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the sliced almonds/pumpkin seeds over the top.
- Bake until the loaf is puffed and slightly browned and a tested inserted into the middle comes out clean, 35-40 mins. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 1 week.