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We’ve been experimenting just a bit with raw desserts these days, both in an effort to maintain our healthy streak and to minimize the amount of ┬áheat we’re contributing to our already-toasty apartment this summer. The raw desserts we’ve had the most of lately are the usual suspects like popsicles and banana milkshakes, but we also just recently tested out a raw chocolate coconut banana pie.

The basic gist of the raw food diet is to eat uncooked, unprocessed foods as the majority of one’s diet, with the assumption that raw foods typically have higher nutrient values and healthy micro-organisms. This diet is typically vegan, though sashimi and carpaccio are not strictly excluded. We’re not big proponents of this diet, primarily because it doesn’t seem to be a way to eat in balance–plus we love cooking–but we will say that the raw dessert recipes we’ve seen are incredibly creative and will likely grace the pages of this blog in the near future.

Raw Coconut-Chocolate-Banana Cream Pie

For the crust:
1 1/2 c whole nuts (we used almonds)
1 1/2 c pitted dates (we used dried plums)

For the filling:
1 c whole almonds, soaked overnight
1/2 c water
1 banana
2 T cocoa powder
1/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1 T vanilla extract
2 T agave

Make pie crust: Coarsely chop nuts and salt in a food processor. Add dates, pulse until thoroughly combined, 15-20 seconds. Press nut mixture firmly and evenly into a 9-inch pie plate, wetting fingers as needed. Set aside in refrigerator. (See photo above.)

Make filling: Toast coconut flakes in a hot pan until slightly brown and fragrant. Set aside. Grind nuts to a coarse paste in a blender. Add water, agave, and vanilla extract; blend until smooth, about 5 minutes, scraping sides as needed. Mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Add cocoa powder and banana, and process to combine. Pour into prepared shell, spreading evenly. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Original recipe here.

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Barely one week into September, and it already feels like fall. Connecticut was hit with some dicey weather over the weekend, resulting in some gusty breezes, fallen branches, and comfortably cool weather to start off the week. Taking advantage of the coolness on Sunday, Greg and I decided to head out for a little jaunt through the woods of Haddam, CT. Little did we know this excursion would end up in an emergency roadside assistance call placed to the local police when we lost our trail and found ourselves wandering alongside an unmarked road. Thankfully, the local authorities came to our rescue and we were able to make it back to our car with little incident. Good reminder to pack a GPS or Eagle Scout along with you on your next hiking trip!

We’ve been experimenting with some raw desserts recently and have hit upon a few successes (more on those to come). This one in particular has an excellent, flavorful, aromatic crust that we’re excited to use again in future recipes. Cashew “cream” is a pretty common filling in raw desserts, and though it’s not quite the same as fluffy layers of dairy, it approximates cream closely enough and is a completely guilt-free substitute. Enjoy!

Triple-Citrus Raw Bar

Coconut Almond Crust:

1/2 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c almonds
2 t coconut butter
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 c liquid used for soaking dates*

In a food processor, pulse the almonds with coconut flakes until it is pebbly, like almond meal. Combine other ingredients and blend until you have a sticky mess.

Place the mixture in a 9″ pie pan and press down and against the sides until even. Freeze until ready to use.

Lemon Cashew Filling:

1 c raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
5 dates, soaked overnight*
5 clementines, juice and zest
2 T lemon juice
1 T coconut butter
1/4 c mandarin preserves

Place the cashews in the food processor and blend until “creamy”. These will likely still have a few clumps but process until the consistency of a wet peanut butter. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth.

Once the crust is ready, spread an even layer of the mandarin preserves on the bottom of the crust. Pour the lemon cashew mixture on top and evenly spread. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top (optional).

Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm. Serve cold.

* Soaking dates in water can soften them and make them easier to blend. The soaking liquid can then also be used as a flavored “simple syrup” to moisten the coconut-almond crust.

Photo and original recipe found here.

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