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Applesauce Cinnamon Slice

April 6, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Slice

Apple Cinnamon Slice

I love brazil nuts! In our house they are considered the poor mans macadamia as they have the same waxy crunch but are half the price! They have a really interesting history and now that I have learnt how the nut comes to be, I appreciate them even more! Did you know that the brazil nut genus belongs to the same family as blueberries, cranberries, sapote, tea, gooseberries and persimmons?

In Brazil, it is illegal to cut down the brazil nut tree. As a result, they can be found everywhere, in the backyards of homes and near roads and streets. The nut is very heavy and rigid, and it poses a serious threat to cars & pedestrians passing underneath. People have died in the past after being hit in the head by falling nuts, statistically more than falling coconuts!!

The tree’s yellow flowers contain very sweet nectar and can only be pollinated by an insect strong enough to lift the coiled hood on the flower and with a tongue long enough to negotiate the complex coiled flower. How is that for complicated? For this reason, the brazil nut’s reproduction depends on the presence of another plant: the orchid Coryanthes vasquezii, which does not grow on the Brazil nut tree itself. The orchids produce a scent that attracts small male long-tongued  orchid bees, as the male bees need that scent to attract females. The large female long-tongued orchid bee pollinates the brazil nut tree. Without the orchid, the bees do not mate, and therefore the lack of bees means the fruit does not get pollinated. Thank you bees!

The fruit takes 14 months to mature after pollination of the flowers. The fruit itself is a large capsule resembling a coconut in size and weighing up to 2 kilograms. It has a hard, woody shell, which contains 8–24 triangular seeds packed like the segments of an orange. Shamefully, brazil nuts used to be known as nigger toes.

The fruit contains a small hole at one end, which enables large rodents like the Agouti to gnaw it open. They then eat some of the nuts inside while burying others for later use; some of these germinating into new brazil nut trees.

Though it is commonly called the brazil nut, in botanical terms it is the seed from the fruit of the tree.

Brazil nuts are 18% protein, 13% carbohydrates, and 69% fat by weight, and 91% of their calories come from fat.  Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, primarily omega-6 fatty acids, shelled brazil nuts easily become  rancid. Try and buy small amounts only, I keep mine in the fridge.

Nutritionally, brazil nuts are a good source of thiamine,  vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Brazil nuts are perhaps the richest dietary source of selenium.

Recent research suggests that proper selenium intake is correlated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer. This has led some health commentators and nutritionists to recommend the consumption of brazil nuts as a protective measure. However, these findings are inconclusive. Unfortunately, brazil nuts have one of the highest concentrations of  phytic acid, so it is a good idea to soak and activate them.

This paleo friendly recipe uses brazil nuts but it works just as well with macadamias or even almonds. The fattiness of brazil nuts gives this slice a wonderfully light texture. I also used some apple sauce as I had it lurking in the back of the cupboard. You could easily use apple puree, pumpkin puree or even zucchini..

2 strips lemon rind
120g brazil nuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g coconut flour
100g sugar (I used erythritol/stevia mix)
90g butter
220g applesauce
2 eggs
100g yoghurt
1 heaped tab cornstarch
 
Mill the nuts with the lemon rind and cornflour on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend on SP 6 for 10 seconds. Pour into a square slice tin and bake for 30 minutes at 160ºC. Cool and sprinkle with cinnamon before cutting.

 

 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    April 10, 2013 10:17 pm

    Do I just sprinkle plain milled cinnamon ?

  2. April 6, 2013 4:33 pm

    Thanks for the botanical lesson, Sarah – a great insight into brazil nuts!! The slice looks pretty darned yummy too! Cheers!

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