Seeing lettuce heads hanging low, mere pale shadows of their former selves, while all the iridescent and plump berries have retired to the freezers emphasizes the writing on the wall: Winter in Turkey has arrived. Not only are the temperatures dropping, so is the availability of fructose free fruits and veggies. But don’t despair, there are still some fructose friendly gems around just waiting to be turned into warming soups and stews, hearty casseroles and fondues. All we need to do, is to switch our focus from green to white: Wake up dear celery roots and parsnips! These days we require more nutrients and energy to keep us warm than during any other time of the year.
It was only last winter that I became enchanted by parsnips, cherishing their naturally sweet flavor, low fructose content and easy to digest attitude. In fact,I never want to be without them again.
That being said, I brought a couple of beauties back from my last trip to Berlin. Unfortunately parsnip are something you don’t come across here in Turkey. For some reason, these little fellows seemingly never got friendly with the local taste buds. Or maybe they never actually made it across the border, seeing as I can’t even come up with a proper Turkish name for them in the dictionary. *shaking head in disbelief*
Anyhow, these exceptionally beautiful, truffle-like, rare specimens that I brought along were most definitely not going to end up in a simple soup! Instead, I transformed them into a festive winter bread. Almost featherlike it flows on the cusp, being neither bread nor cake and doing well without raisins or any other typically fructose loaded, Christmassy ingredients.
Combined with whatever your heart desires on a snowy and cozy winter morning, it’ll be a sure match. Whenever I crave something sweet, I top it off with fructose free fruit or chocolate spreads by Frusano. I also love the interplay of sweet and salty tastes. That’s why I often find myself adding goat cream cheese, avocado, two small cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme, along a with a healthy amount of freshly ground salt and pepper to top it off. If this seems too fancy, there is always a classic alternative, that works beautifully every single time: Call it butter and sea salt. Voilà!
Sweet winter bread with parsnip (fructose friendly, wheat free)
Coconut oil quickly solidifies as the temperature drops. Therefore, when preparing the bread, all ingredients should be at room temperature, if possible. In case you need to heat the coconut oil for this, let it cool down a little before adding it to the eggs or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. 😉
9 Tbsp water, room temperature
4 Tbsp kefir, room temperature
3 Tbsp chia seeds
100 g sunflower seeds or walnuts
300 g parsnip, finely grated
150 g almond meal
100 g white spelt flour
1 Tbsp powdered glucose or rice syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
2 eggs, room temperature
60 g liquid coconut oil, more to grease the loaf tin
Preheat the oven to 180° C and grease the loaf tin with coconut oil. Mix together the water, kefir and chia seeds and put aside to soak for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, dry roast the sunflower seeds for 3-5 minutes on medium high until they smell slightly toasted. In case you are using walnuts, omit this step, but chop them. Peel the parsnips and grate finely. The finer the better. Add eggs and coconut to chia mixture and whisk thoroughly.
In a second bowl, mix together almond and spelt flour, glucose, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the chia mixture. Stir in grated parsnip and sunflower seeds. Scoop the batter into the prepared bread tin bake for 50-60 minutes until firm to touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The bread should be moist, so watch it carefully during the last 20 minutes of baking as every oven is different.