Thursday, August 30, 2012

Raw Princess Cake Cheesecake



As I opened my Grandmother's dresser drawers, I was in awe of the amount of colorful silk scarves I saw.  Scarves of every color and design, small ones the size of hankerchiefs, large ones I could invision as skirts, and medium ones perfect for throwing around myself as a sash.  I couldn't resist digging through them, and I decided that they would be a perfect dress for a princess.  Being five I could use the larger ones to drape around myself and make skirts into what to me seemed like an exotic princess dress.  I walked out into the living room and my Grandmother of course wasn't mad that I was wearing all her scarves, rather she loved it, and it seemed to make her quite happy.  Afterall, she was the one who was always willing to sew me a skirt out of the fabrics I would discover from her stash in the basement.  Sometimes I miss those days, just being able to make myself feel like a princess by putting on some scarves, and spending time with my Grandma.  Afterall, every girl should feel like a princess!



Even as an adult I find ways to make myself feel like a princess.  Although they are somewhat different.  Yes, dressing up in fancy cocktail dresses and heels makes me feel like one, but so dies sitting in my jammies and enjoying a good dessert! 


Like this raw princess cake cheesecake I recently made.  For some reason I was craving princess cake, the flavors of almond, vanilla and raspberry sounded quite heavenly to me!  For those of you that do not know what a princess cake it, it is a traditional swedish cake with vanilla cake, cream, raspberry jam (sometimes) and almondy marzipan.  It is usually dome shaped. 


This one I made was non traditional however, it raw, it was not dome shaped, had no marzipan and was a cheesecake.  Because I decided that I wanted it to have more cream than cake.  All the flavors were present though...fragrant almond, tart raspberry, and smooth creamy layers! 


This cake was definately fit for a princess, and I felt like one while eating it!  Even if I was in my hello kitty pj pants sitting on my couch and not on a throne. 



Mini Raw Princess Cake Cheesecakes
makes four 4 inch cheesecakes

Cake:
3 cups almond meal
2 1/2 cups dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Filling:
1 3/4 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1 cup young coconut meat, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut water (or filtered water)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 cup organic raspberries
 
Swirl:
1/2 cup organic raspberries
2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
 
Frosting:
2 1/4 cups raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1 1/2 cups coconut water

2 1/4 cups fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds of a vanilla bean
1 tsp pure almond extract
3/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
a couple spinach leaves (to tint green) or green plant based green food coloring
 
Lightly coat four 4 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the cake, process almond meal, coconut and sea salt in a food processor until it is blended, then add the agave nectar, vanilla and process until well blended. Firmly press crust into the bottoms of the prepared pans, and set aside.
To make the cheesecake filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut water, lemon juice and agave nectar, sea salt, vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the motor running, add the coconut oil (it helps the fat distribute evenly). Process about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Divide the filling into 2 bowls.  Pour one back into the food processor and add 1/2 cup raspberries.  Process until well combined and scrape back into the bowl.  

To make the swirl, in a food processor, combine 1/2 cup raspberries, 2 Tbsp agave nectar, and vanilla and process until smooth.

To assemble, pour the plain cheesecake filling over the cake bases in the pans, then the raspberry, then drop the raspberry swirl by the tsp on top of the filling over each cake, then swirl with a knife to marble. Place the cakes in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours, then once set store in the fridge. 

To make frosting, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency.


Spread the frosting on the sides of the cakes.  Place remaining frosting in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the tops and bottoms of the cheesecakes. Store leftover cake in the fridge.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Raw Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Fresh Raspberry Sauce



There is an event that comes once every year in Minnesota and for most of us that live here it is a must to attend it every year.  This event is the Minnesota State Fair!  Now, for most it is an excuse to overindulge  because it is justified by walking it off since you do walk quite a bit.  



But it is also great people watching, and where else does the rest of Minnesota converge into one small area?  Back to the food though...they have everything from deep fried twinkies to fried lamb testicles, to pickles on a stick to all sorts of ethnic foods.  





I am rather boring in my food consumption at the fair however, preferring to mostly go for the local wine and beer booths...because hey, nothing wrong with a little booze! 



I did enjoy a little wine ice cream as well, and I did tour the creative activities building and drool over the rows and rows of cakes...



I tell myself every year I should enter something but I get  too busy.  I must admit though, they are fun to look at!  Then of course I had to see the giant veggies like the over 1000 lb pumpkin that must of taken all year to grow!  I don't think I have ever missed the fair, it is a must every year!


I saw a booth selling sweet corn ice cream, but I didn't buy any since I had made some last week.  Although theirs was probably good, mine was downright addictive!  It is the perfect time of year to enjoy sweet corn, which is why I made this heavenly ice cream.



Since I am hooked on raw ice cream lately, this one was raw as well with a cashew coconut base.  Seriously guys...if you have not tried making raw ice cream you are missing out!  The base was sweet and rich and it paired well with the sweet corn which gave it a subtle flavor. 


I also made some fresh rasberry sauce to serve with it since I love corn and berries together (think sweet corn cakes with fresh berries).  It was an amazing combo, and the sweet silky ice cream was perfect with the slightly tart jammy berries!  Sometimes I wish it could be summer forever so I could enjoy delicious things like sweet corn and berries year round!



Raw Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Fresh Raspberry Sauce
Makes 4 cups ice cream and 1 cup sauce

Ice Cream:
1 cup raw cashews, (soaked for 2 hours at least, then drained)
1 cup young coconut meat
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4-1/3 cup agave nectar or honey depending on how sweet you like it
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
seeds of one vanilla bean or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 cup fresh sweet corn kernals (removed from cob)

Raspberry Sauce:
1 cup organic raspberries, divided
2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

To make the ice cream, place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine meshed strainer to remove chunks if desired.  Pour the strained base into an ice cream maker, and process according to directions. Pour into a freezer safe container and place in the freezer.
For the sauce, puree half the raspberries with agave nectar and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in the remaining whole berries. 
To serve, spoon the sauce over the ice cream and enjoy!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Raw Lavender Peach Trifle



When I saw that organic peaches were on sale at my work this week I had to buy some.  Well not just some...a LARGE bag.  I cannot get enough of them, and have been eating them every day since they came into season.  But getting my hands on a large supply of them called for something delicious to be made. I admit, I have been pampering myself a bit this weekend because I felt that last week was quite trying.  A string of tough things happened to me including a trip to the ER after slicing open my finger at work.  But as always I got through it and was happy to see the weekend! 



Now back to that dessert, which was part of the pampering...I decided on a peach lavender trifle. I haven't made a trifle in years!  In fact, the last time I made one was when I first started this blog I believe.  It just sounded quite wonderful.  



However, I was not going to bake a pound cake and bust out heavy cream.  This was going to be a raw trifle.  I have a raw vanilla almond cake recipe that is really delicious and I knew it would pair well with the sweet peaches and lavender coconut cream!



It was beautiful once assembled, and so delicious as I dove in.  The almondy cake, the sweet peaches and silky rich cream...so heavenly!  Who cares what unfortunate things happened last week...this was good!



Raw Lavender Peach Trifle
Serves 2

1 1/2 cups almonds
1 1/4 cups dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cream:
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/4 cup coconut water

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
1 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

Sauce and Peaches:
2 tsp dried lavender
1 large organic peach, sliced
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

dried lavender for topping

To make cake, combine the almonds, coconut and sea salt in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the agave nectar, vanilla and process until holding together.  Press into a one inch tall square, and refridgerate until firm.
To make the cream, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a whipped cream consistency.
Puree half the peach in the food processor with lavender, honey, and vanilla until smooth.  Fold half the sauce into 2/3 of the cream mixture reserving the other 1/3 for topping.  Stir the remaining puree into the remaining peach slices. 
Cut the cake into 1 inch cubes.  To assemble trifle, spoon 1/2 the lavender cream mixture into the bottom of a medium sized bowl, and top with half the peach slices.  Top with the cake, then the rest of the lavender cream mixture then the remaining peach slices.  Top with the plain cream, and top with some dried lavender for garnish.  Serve!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Raw Cherry Almond Ice Cream Cake



I recently decided that I needed to make raw ice cream after hearing a friend rave about it, telling me it tasted as good as full fat dairy ice cream.  This was something I needed to experience first hand, it sounded amazing, and afterall, I make ice cream almost every week, what had I been missing out on? 



I suppose plain old vanilla vanilla would have been delicious, but my Mom (who I tell about all my recipes before I make them) suggested cherry almond ice cream.  It is her favorite so I guess I wasn't surprised on the suggestion.  I love it too so I was all for it.  I was wondering how cashews in an ice cream base would be and was a bit skeptical until I blended the base up and it tasted absolutely amazing! 



I knew this was going to be something good...it was already so silky smooth!  Once processed, it was even better, and unlike anything I had ever tasted!  Rich, and about 10 times more tasty than full fat dairy ice cream. I think I may just be hooked on this stuff now...



This was too good to just simply eat however, it deserved something more grand...like a cherry almond ice cream cake!  So I made some cherry almond cake layers for it to be showcased between, and a creamy coconut frosting to top it off.  It was the most beautiful ice cream cake I have ever made!  Oh, wait it was the only one I have ever made...but it was delicious, and what a way to start making ice cream cakes!



Raw Cherry Almond Ice Cream Cake
Makes one 6 inch cake

For the cake layers:
3 cups almonds
2 1/2 cups dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cherries

For the ice cream:
1 cup raw cashews, (soaked for 2 hours at least, then drained)
1 cup young coconut meat
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4-1/3 cup agave nectar or honey depending on how sweet you like it
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
seeds of one vanilla bean or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 cup fresh cherries pitted

Frosting:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water

3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of a vanilla bean
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
Cherries for garnish

To make the ice cream, place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Pour into an ice cream maker, and process according to directions.  Pour into a freezer safe container and place in the freezer. 

To make cake layers, combine the almonds, coconut and sea salt in a food processor and process until finely ground.  Add the agave nectar, vanilla and cherries and process until holding together.  Press half the mixture into a 6 inch springform pan (sprayed with nonstick spray), then remove from the pan and set aside.  Press the other half of the mixture into the pan and leave it in there.  Spread ice cream over the bottom layer (there may be a bit extra) about 2 inches thick.  Top with other cake layer, and press down slightly so it fits in the pan.  Place in the freezer to firm up. 

To make the frosting, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Spread frosting on the top and sides of the cake.  Place remaining frosting in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the bottom and top of the cake.  Garnish with cherries.  Store in the freezer. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mini Raw Champage Grape Citrus Cheesecakes



I was a wierd child...I did not like grapes.  In a fruit salad, or as a snack, I always picked them out of things.  This went on until about 2 years ago when I discovered champagne grapes.  I guess I just decided to buy them because they were quite beautiful, little purple grapes that looked like they could be part of a centerpiece or something. 


I was a bit skeptical about how tasty they would be, but when I bit into them, they were amazing!  Some of the most flavorful grapes I had ever eaten!  I decided grapes weren't so bad afterall.  I ended up making those grapes into a balsamic laced champagne grape crisp, and it was wonderful!



Since the grapes are only available here part of the year, I enjoy them while I can!  Last weekend, I came across some and had to buy them.  While I admit I just snacked on most of them, some made their way into dessert as well.  In the form of a raw cheesecake!


Since the grapes were so sweet, I decided to pair them with a little citrus to balance out the flavor.  I decided to make a beautiful swirled filling since those types of cheesecake are my favorite!  For the crust I decided on walnuts, because I love them with grapes. 



The cheesecake was amazing...sweet and a little tart from the citrus, silky and rich.  As I devoured my creation, I couldn't help but be thankful I got over my hatred of grapes...maybe there are other things I disliked as a kid that I should try again.



Mini Raw Champagne Grape Citrus Cheesecakes
Makes four 4 inch cheesecakes

Crust:
3/4 cup walnuts

1/8 teaspoon sea salt
4 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped



Filling:
2 3/4 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/4 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
1 Tbsp organic orange zest
1 Tbsp organic lemon zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1 cup champagne grapes

Cream:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean (reserved from filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)


Champagne grapes for topping

Lightly coat four 4 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process walnuts and sea salt in a food processor until the pecans are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottoms of the prepared pans, and set aside.


To make the filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut water, citrus juice, and zest, agave nectar, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Remove the filling from the food processor, and divide evenly between 2 bowls. Place half back into the food processor and 1 cup champagne grapes. Puree until smooth and scrape back in the bowl.

To assemble the cheesecake, drop the two fillings over the crusts in 1 tsp amounts in a checkerboard fashion, until it is all used up. Place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours, then once set store in the fridge.
To make cream, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Place in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the bottom of the cheesecakes. Top with some champagne grapes. Store leftover cake in the fridge.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Strawberry Basil Dessert Ravioli


Strawberries and basil are one of my favorite summer combinations.  In a salad, topping a pizza (yes, the strawberries become wonderfully jammy), and of course in dessert.  I have been playing round with fruit leather in my food dehydrator and made some crepes last weekend, but what I thought would be really wonderful was some dessert ravioli. 


Strawberry basil of course!  The combination of fresh sweet strawberries, fresh basil and coconut cream sounded heavenly inside of a strawberry "ravioli" dough. The best part is they were fairly easy to make!  I just made some "dough" from bananas, strawberries and a touch of agave nectar, put it in the dehydrator overnight and voila!  Instant ravioli wrappers!  And...so much easier (and tastier)than rolling out pasta dough! 


For the filling I used one of my favorite things in the world right now, some raw coconut cashew cream.  I mixed in fresh strawberries and fresh basil from my patio. They were so cute!  But I decided that they needed a fresh strawberry basil sauce as well, and some berries on top to complete the plate. 


Now, I have had dessert ravioli before, but nothing this tasty!  The filling was luscious, and the sauce sweet and jammy with the fragrance of basil...they were so good I ate the whole plate rather quickly (and I know the recipe serves 2 but it served one in my case).  I am not going to lie, I enjoy dessert ravioli better than real ravioli!


Raw Strawberry Basil Dessert Ravioli
2 servings

Ravioli "dough":
2 bananas
4 strawberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar

Cream:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean

1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

Sauce and filling:
12 organic strawberries, divided
1 tsp lemon juice
6 small fresh organic basil leaves, divided
2 tsp agave nectar

For Serving:
2 organic strawberries, slices
organic basil leaves


To make ravioli rounds, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until blended. Pour into 12 circles (about 3 inches across) on a teflex lined dehydrator sheet, and spread thin. Dehydrate for about 8 hours or until no longer wet and tacky, but still plyable. Remove from dehydrator and set aside.
To make cream, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency.
To make the sauce, puree 6 strawberries with lemon juice, 3 basil leaves and agave nectar until smooth and set aside. 
Add to the cream: 1 Tbsp of the sauce, the other 3 basil leaves (chopped), and the remaining 6 strawberries (chopped small).  Mix to blend.
To assemble, place ravioli round on your work surface then top with about 2 tsp of strawberry cream filling. Top with another ravioli round, and press the edges together. Repeat with the other rounds until you have six ravioli.  To plate, drizzle some sauce on each of two plates, then place 3 ravioli on each.  Drizzle each with some more sauce, top with a few strawberry slices and some fresh basil.  Serve!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Maple Pecan Caramel Cream Tartlettes



My Mother, who I often share my desserts with (since she is my biggest food critic and we have the similar  tastes), pointed out that I haven't made any caramelized nut tarts lately.  Which is true, since I haven't been feeling like eating anything that sugary and it requires oven use.  They are her favorite dessert, and I understand why because they are filled with gooey caramel baked to perfection studded with toasty nuts and all in a buttery shortbread crust...but just a bit too sweet for me.  Plus, I like a little creamy element to my  dessert, which it does not have.  



So, I came up with a compromise that would please us both...maple pecan caramel cream tartlettes!  I would not have to heat up the oven because they would be raw, they would be sweet, but not too sweet since I was using natural sweeteners like dates and agave nectar instead of white sugar, and they would still have the delicious nuts and caramel!  



I thought the crust deserved to have pecans in it, so it was my nut of choice for the base, along with dates to sweeten.  I love that combination so much, I could eat it straight out of the food processor and not make a crust with it...but then were would the tart be?  



For the filling I used something similar to my cheesecake bases with a bit of maple extract to give it a wonderful flavor.  I swirled raw maple caramel I had made into the cream, because I didn't just want it on top, I wanted it to be very present throughout.  Of course I also thought the tartlettes needed to have plenty of pecans on top as well as a generous amount of caramel! 



I definitely approved, they were amazing with all the things I crave...creamy, crunchy and sweet, plus a little salty from the caramel. Would my Mother approve though...that was the question.  I had a good feeling she would, and I was right!  She even said that she liked them better than the caramelized nut tarts I used to make. 



Maple Pecan Caramel Cream Tartlettes
Makes two 4 inch tarts

Crust:
2 1/4 cups pecans

1/8 teaspoon sea salt
8 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 Tbsp agave nectar or as needed


caramel:
4 medjool dates
3 Tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp maple extract
1/8 tsp sea salt

2 tsp coconut oil warmed to liquid
filtered water as needed


Filling:
1  cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup young coconut meat (or additional soaked cashews if unavailable)
1/4 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
2 tsp pure maple extract

2 cups pecans
To make the crust, add all the ingredients to the food processor, and process until smooth and holding together (if not holding together add a little more agave nectar. Press into the bottoms of two four inch removable bottom tart pans (sprayed with non-stick spray). Set aside in the freezer to firm up.

To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth (add a little (1-2 Tbsp) water if necessary to make the caramel a pourable consistency).

To make the cheesecake filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut water, lemon juice and nectar, coconut oil, sea salt, vanilla and maple in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the half the filling over the prepared crusts, then drop a few tsp of caramel over the filling, then pour the remaining filling over.  Drop a few more tsp of caramel onto the tops of each tart and swirl with a knife to create marbling. Place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours.   When set, top each tart with pecans, and drizzle each with a good amount of caramel.  Serve!




Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mini Blueberries and Cream Pies



The sun slowly lowers to the ground as the insects and frogs begin their symphony. The sky fades from a pale pink into a deep purple blue as the night begins to arrive.  As I walk along the path in the woods, the cool breeze touches my skin and whistles through the trees.  It is a bit chilly, but I stay warm as I continue to walk.  The stars begin to appear, they are like a beautiful smattering of diamonds in the sky, and I cannot help but be thankful for how peaceful it is at that very moment.  I am all alone, and yet nature is keeping me company.  Although I enjoy time spent with others, this time by myself is just as essential, and I look forward to every time I get to experience this.  As my time spent outdoors ends, and I walk through my front door, I cannot help but look forward to the dessert I had made earlier in the day, waiting for me...blueberries and cream pie!  Lovely and deep purple just like the night sky I had just experienced.


I had gotten my hands on a large amount of local blueberries that morning, and I could not imagine anything more delicious than a pie to make with them!  But, it had to have a creamy element, so I decided to make blueberries and cream pie with a luscious silky smooth blueberry cream filling on the bottom, and a tart sweet fresh blueberry topping. 


I piled it into a crunchy hazelnut crust, and topped it off with a little coconut cream to make it pretty.  It was the perfect end to a perfect evening...never under estimate the power of me time!


Mini Raw Blueberries and Cream Pies
Makes 4

Crust:
3 cups hazelnuts

1/8 teaspoon sea salt
12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped


Filling:
1 cup raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup young coconut meat
1/4 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
2 1/2 cups fresh organic blueberries, divided
Sauce:
(reserved blueberries from filling)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cream:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean (reserved from filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
Spray two 4 inch pans, lined with plastic wrap to make removal easier. To prepare the crust, process hazelnuts and sea salt in a food processor until the pecans are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottoms of the tart pans, and set aside in the freezer to firm up.

To make the cream filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut, coconut water, lemon juice and nectar, coconut oil, sea salt, vanilla and 1/2 cup blueberries in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into four the four prepared crusts. Place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours.
To make topping, combine 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 Tbsp agave nectar, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Remove from food processor and toss with remaining blueberries to combine.  Spoon the blueberry mixture over the pies and return to the fridge. 
To make the cream topping, combine the cashews, coconut water, coconut meat, agave nectar, and vanilla in the food processor and process until smooth.  Slowly add the coconut oil with the motor running, and blend until well combined.  Place in a bowl, and chill in the fridge for a few hours until firm enough to pipe. 
To finish the pies, place the cream in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the edges of the pies.  Serve! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Raw Summer Fruit Cream Crepes



I can remember the first time I was exposed to crepes.  It was in highschool French class, and we had a special treat one day, our teacher let us make crepes and we filled them with all sorts of delicious things like chocolate, fruit, whipped cream, nutella...you name it!  I loved them so much I attempted to make them at home, and they were not the prettiest sight the first time, but got the hang of it. 


It has been a while since I have made them, because I try not to eat too much flour and sugar lately.  However, I have been seeing many recipes for raw crepes lately and they inspired me to create my own!  I love that you just let the "batter" dry in the dehydrator overnight while you sleep and voila!  Delicious crepes ready to be filled! 


I used a banana base for them this time, as it is sweet and neutral.  I have to admit I didn't know what I was going to fill them with at first because there are so many delicious possibilities, but I knew it had to contain cream.  Coconut cream that is!


I thought about chocolate, but then fruit sounded better.  I am the type of person who chooses vanilla over chocolate any day so no surprise there.  For variety, I thought I would make a strawberry basil, blueberry lavender, and peach thyme cream filling.  Three luscious flavor pairings using the fruits and herbs of summer so good right now. 


They were delicious!  About 100 times better than I remember crepes tasting.  The fruit and herb combinations were definately a win, and I devoured the plate of heavenly deliciousness in no time.  I can't wait to make more types of raw crepes in the future.  I think I am in love.


Raw Summer Fruit Cream Crepes
Makes enough for one, or to share with a friend

Raw Crepes:
2 bananas
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar

Cream:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean

1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

Fruit:
3/4 cup strawberries, divided
1 tsp lemon juice
a few fresh basil leaves
2 tsp agave nectar

3/4 cup fresh blueberries, divided
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lavender
2 tsp agave nectar

3/4 cup fresh ripe peaches, diced, divided
1 tsp lemon juice
a few fresh sprigs of thyme
2 tsp agave nectar

Additional basil, thyme and lavender to serve

To make crepes, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until blended.  Pour into 3 circles on a teflex lined dehydrator sheet, and spread thin.  Dehydrate for about 8 hours or until no longer wet and tacky, but still plyable.  Remove from dehydrator and set aside. 
To make cream, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Divide the mixture into 3 bowls, and keep chilled. 
To make the fruit sauces, first, puree 1/4 cup strawberries with lemon juice, basil and agave nectar until smooth and set aside. Next, puree 1/4 cup of the blueberries with lemon juice, lavender, and agave nectar until smooth, set aside.  Next, puree 1/4 cup peaches with lemon juice, thyme, and agave nectar.  Add to the first cream bowl, most of the remaining strawberries (reserving the rest for topping) and 1 Tbsp of the puree.  Fold in.  Repeat with the other two bowls using the blueberry and peaches and the sauces (same as you did with the strawberries, most of the remaining fruit and 1 Tbsp sauce each).  To assemble, place a crepe on your work surface then top with the strawberry cream filling.  Roll it up, and place on a serving plate.  Spoon some of the strawberry sauce over.  Do the same with the blueberry cream on the second crepe and drizzle with the blueberry sauce.  Lastly do the same with the peach cream on the third crepe and drizzle with the peaceh sauce.  Garnish the plate with the remaining fruit, and a little basil, thyme and lavender if desired and serve!