Monday, January 30, 2017


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A few days ago I read about using yellow split pea puree as a fat substitute in baking on a Canadian site  (PDF here)  This concept intrigued me because split peas are so nutritious, easy to find, can be stored for long periods of time, and are very inexpensive.

Pulse Pledge was an initiative during the "International Year of Pulses" in 2016. Their website stated: "In 2013 the United Nations declared that 2016 will be the International Year of Pulses. The hope of the 2016 International Year of Pulses (IYP 2016) is to position pulses as a primary source of protein and other essential nutrients. IYP 2016 will promote broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by pulse farmers, be they large scale farms or small land holders." (PS: Pulse vs. Legume: What's the difference?)

This is a big deal for Canada because:

"Canada’s pulse industry meets the needs of over 150 markets around the globe. Canadian pulse exporters supply whole, split or milled peas, chickpeas, bean and lentils in a variety of shipment sizes. Over the past 25 years, Canada has emerged as the world’s largest exporter of lentils and peas, and one of the world’s top five exporters of beans."

"Canada's large and diverse agricultural land base is ideally suited for growing a range of pulse crops including pea, lentil, bean and chickpea. More than 2.3 million hectares are seeded to pulse crops each year. Long sunny days and suitable soil conditions provide Canada with a natural production advantage, which is enhanced by the use of the latest farm management technology and research. Cold winters not only protect Canadian pulses from disease and insects, but also reduce storage quality concerns."


"Pulse production has a significantly lower carbon footprint than production of animal protein. According to the Global Pulse Confederation: Producing one kilogram of legumes = 0.5 kg in Co2 equivalent, compared with 9.5 kg in Co2 equivalent for one kilogram of beef.

Planting pulses leaves behind nitrogen in the soil, providing valuable nutrients to future crops. Growing them in rotation with other crops can also disrupt disease and insect cycles."


So, though I use pulses in my going on a daily basis, and have used pulse flours (soy, white bean, chickpea, etc.) in cooking and baking, I haven't done alot of baking with pureed cooked pulses.  Ever curious and always on the hunt for ways to cut the fat in cooking without sacrificing flavor and texture, I gave it a shot.  (I had a big container of split yellow peas in my pantry.)

I mixed 2 cups of dried split yellow peas with 4 cups of water in my Instant Pot and pressure cooked at high pressure for 10 minutes. (PS: You could use any pressure cooker, or simmer, covered, for 30 minutes on your stovetop.) The resulting soft mush just needed a few stirs to "puree", and the yield was 5 cups.

I refrigerated the puree in the container for a day or so.  When I removed it from the refrigerator, it had hardened considerably! (See more about this below.) I pressed the puree into silicone cupcake liners and a silicone large ice cube tray in 1/4 cup portions and froze them.  Then I popped out the frozen portions, bagged them up and popped them back into the freezer for future use.

I first experimented with a muffin recipe of my own (a maple walnut muffin), using 1/2 cup of the pea puree instead of the 7 T. applesauce and 2 T. oil used in the original recipe (whIch also calls for a little soymilk and some maple syrup). The original recipe resulted in nice moist muffins.  The experiment with the pea puree produced smaller, drier, and paler muffins-- edible, but not great. (NOTE: I don't like dry muffins, and I especially don't like dry muffins if I'm not going to "butter" them!)

So, back to the drawing board I went. I seemed to me that the puree, when cooled, had hardened to a drier state and that was probably what caused those. So I decided that I would try adding 1 T. of water to each 1/4 cup portion of the pea puree before using the next time.

I had no walnuts left, so couldn't make the same recipe.  I decided to veganize and de-fat  a recipe out of  "The New All Purpose Joy of Cooking" and see what happened.  I chose their carrot muffin recipe. I substituted Aquafaba for the 2 eggs called for, and 1/4 cup pea puree with 1 T. water for the 5 T. oil.  I omitted the nuts and used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour.

(NOTE ON USING WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY FLOUR IN LOW-FAT OR NO-FAT BAKING:  pastry flour contains less gluten than all purpose flour, so it works well in low-fat or no-fat baking (except in yeast breads).  You see, fat in a recipe coats the gluten strands as you mix, making the muffin or cake batter, for instance, more tender.  If you are using very little or no fat, using pastry flour gives you a more tender product even without the fat.)

I was pleased with the results-- only 134 calories each, very tasty, moist crumb, just the way I like them.  To be fair, the carrots help with the moist texture, but I think I'm on the right track. I'll post any future experiments that are successful, and would love to hear from anyone out there that has had success.

PS: Check out this brownie recipe using Yellow Split Pea Puree:  BRYANNA'S MOIST & DELICIOUS LOW-GLYCEMIC, LOW-FAT, VEGAN BROWNIES (soy-free and gluten-free if you use GF oats; NO added oil).

Printable Copy


Yield: 12 muffins

To make Yellow Split Pea Puree Fat Sub for Baking: Cook 2 cups split yellow peas (no need to soak) + 4 cups water, either 10 minutes at high pressure in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, or 30 minutes simmered on stovetop. Mash and stir to puree. Yield: 5 cups. Freeze in 1/4 cup portions. Thaw; add 1 T. water per 1/4 cup before using in recipes in place of fat in baking, tablespoon for tablespoon. 

Aquafaba (chickpea cooking liquid or liquid from canned chickpeas)Egg Sub for Baking: 3 T. per egg.

Dry Mix:

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins (your choice of variety)
Optional: you can add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or toasted sunflower seeds if you like.
Wet Mix:
3/4 cup organic light granulated sugar
6  Tbs Aquafaba (chickpea cooking liquid or liquid from canned chickpeas; see above)
1/4 cup yellow split pea puree PLUS 1 Tbs water, whisked together (see above)
1/4 cup orange juice (juice from 1 medium orange)
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by lining with parchment (see how to make quick liners from parchment paper) or silicone cupcake liners, or spraying with oil from a pump-sprayer, or use a light film of cake release.  (See my homemade non-hydrogenated palm-oil-free version here.) I prefer to use my cake release-- I like the outside of my muffins to be a little bit crusty and I find that cupcake liners (especially the silicone ones) result in a softer crust and don't look as browned as they do when no liner is used.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the Dry Mix ingredients. Stir in the raisins.

In a smaller bowl or pitcher, whisk together the Wet Mix ingredients EXCEPT for the carrots.  If you see any lumps from the pea puree, use an immersion/stick blender to briefly blend the mixture until smooth.

Add the carrots to the Wet Mix and stir to mix thoroughly.

Scoop the wet Mix into the Dry Mix and fold the mixtures together until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened-- don't over-mix. It's a fairly wet batter, BTW.

Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes.  Test the center of one muffin with a toothpick.  If it comes out wet, bake for a 3-5 minutes more.  Cool on a rack for a few minutes before releasing the muffins from the pan.  Serve hot, or cool the muffins on a rack.

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 134 calories, 4 calories from fat, less than 1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 195.1mg sodium, 221mg potassium, 31.5g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 17.4g sugar, 2.8g protein, 3.9 points.


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