Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tropical Tarts And Warrior Pudding

The countdown to October 4th is on.  That is when I will be preparing a four course meal and explaining the benefits of a raw food diet to  the ladies of Half Moon Yoga Barn.  After testing recipes the menu is almost finished...except dessert.
When deciding on a menu I  try to plan it according to the season and what is available locally.  Right now the Hudson Valley is overflowing with beautiful  apples, pears, melons, plums  and pumpkins will soon be popping up everywhere. I have decided  to go a different route when choosing a dessert for this party.  I have my HEART set on a Pina Colada tart ( the name changed to Tropical Tart when I realized I couldn't use rum) with Pineapple Salsa and Vanilla Creme. The idea for the tart came from the cookbook Raw Food Real World from the restaurant Pure Food and Wine in New York City,  and the salsa is  similar to something I prepared at Gramercy Tavern while doing my externship in their pastry kitchen.
 Does CHIA sound familiar? It should. Remember CH-CH-CH-CHIA pets the ceramic creatures that came along in the  early 1980's.  These are  tiny seeds that originated in South America and were a staple in the diets of ancient Mayans and Aztecs (Chia is the Mayan word for strength). Chia seeds are very high in Omega- 3 fatty acids and calcium, full of soluble fibre and have a decent amount of easily digestible protein.  These little seeds will fill you up and keep you energized, the perfect food for athletes, dieters and the health conscious. The first time I was introduced to one of the most nutritious seeds on the planet was at Quintessece, a raw food restaurant in NYC.  Even though I make my own pudding at home, whenever  I am in the city I stop by to  indulge in the creamy deliciousness of their Chia seed pudding ( Oh...and the tacos, they are really GOOD!!)
So here I am...trying to decide which non seasonal dessert to serve.  Feel free to leave a comment on which dessert you think sounds good and would be completely satisfied with. Enjoy! ;-)

Tropical Tart with Pineapple Salsa and Vanilla Creme              Serves 6
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp lime zest
2 tbsp lime juice
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 tsp coconut sugar ( palm sugar)
1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp nut oil

Place the nuts and the processor bowl in the freezer to chill for a few minutes.  Once chilled place all ingredient except the oil and coconut ( I like to pulse the nuts a little first then add coconut so it still has texture)  in the processor and pulse until well combined, but still a bit chunky.  Be careful not to over process or the nuts will become oily.
Lightly oil six - 4 inch tart shells with removable bottoms with the nut oil.  If using tart shells without removable bottoms, line the pans with overhanging plastic wrap and skip oiling them.  Divide dough into 6 parts and press into the tart shells.  When the shells are filled, wrap in plastic and place in the freezer to chill until firm.

For The Filling
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or more
1/2 cup young coconut meat
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice, freshly juiced
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut butter, melted
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut milk ( use the solid mass that sits on top, leave the liquid. I used canned, I realize it is not raw)
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 tbsp agave nectar ( depending on the sweetness of the pineapple it may need more or less)
1/4 tsp salt ( taste, you may want more)

Add all ingredients except coconut butter to blender and process until completely smooth.  With blender running stream in coconut oil.  Fill the tart shells while filling is still at room temperature.  Place tarts in refrigerator to set, about 1 hour or more.

Vanilla Creme
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or more
1/2 cup young coconut meat
1/4 cup coconut water or filtered water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup coconut butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract  and seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean( if no bean use 1 extra tsp of extract)
1/8 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to the blender except coconut oil and blend until smooth.  Once blended strwam in oil with blender running.  Put in seperate container and refrigerate to chill ( 2 hours or more). For a softer cream use half the amount of coconut butter.

Pineapple Salsa
2 kiwi, peeled and diced ( I cut mine in half lengthwise 3 times so I had 8 pieces then sliced them)
3/4 cup diced mango ( yellow champagne mangoes will be best, but use what you can find)
1/2 cup pineapple, cut into small spears
5 leaves of Thai basil, cut chiffonade
1-2 tsp lime juice
pinch salt (careful, salt will draw moisture out of the fruit, you don't want it to watery)

Serve any way you would like.  I piped the almond cream around the outside of the tart and placed the salsa in the middle.  If you would like to add more color and flavor try making a papaya coulis...take tropical to the next level!!

Chia Seed Pudding (Warrior Pudding)             Serves 4-6
First you have to make almond milk or you can use store bought. Here is how I make my almond milk.

Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup roasted almonds (to keep raw omit and use all raw almonds)
1 cup cashews

Place nuts in  seperate bowls  with water and allow almonds  to soak for up 6- 8 hours and the cashews 2-4 hours it  makes them easier to liquify and it realeases the enzyme inhibitors which are molecules that bind to enzymes preventing them from breaking down food into digestible parts.
Once your nuts have finished soaking  drain and rinse with fresh water.  You can now combine the nuts in the same bowl and place 1 cup of the nuts in a high speed blender with 3 cups of water.  Blend until smooth and strain  through cheese cloth or  you can purchase a nut bag (making nut milk will be alot easier).  Repeat with remaining nuts. You can add a pinch of salt, vanilla ( flavoring of your choice) and a sweetener if you like, but I leave mine plain. You will have more nut milk than you need for the pudding recipe, use the extra in smoothies, cereal or add it to the pudding as it thickens up if you like a runnier final product. I find it keeps for up to four days in the refrigerator.
Vanilla Creme
1/2 cup cashews, soaked 4 hours
1/2 cup young coconut meat
1/4 cup coconut water of filtered water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean ( or 1 additional tsp vanilla extract)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut butter, warmed to liquify

In a high speed blender combine all ingredients except coconut oil.  Blend until completely smooth then with blender running at low speed slowly pour in the coconut oil, blend until incorporated.

1 cup chia seeds (available at most health food stores)
3 cups almond cashew milk
1/4 cup coconut milk ( I used canned)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syurp.... ( you may like yours sweeter, taste and adjust accordingly but remember the fruit will add sweetness also)
Pinch of sea salt
Mixed berries ( I use frozen if not in season) and some yellow champagne mangoes, they  are the key ingredient that put this pudding DELICIOUS!
Cinnamon and walnuts ( toasted especially) are nice but optional .
Fresh Mint ( if omiting the walnuts and cinnamon) would also be good....its up to you.

Place all ingredients except cinnamon and walnuts in blender until smooth.  Place Chia seeds in a bowl and pour in nut milk.  Stir occasionally as seeds gelatinize the will clump together.  Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes and then serve with fruit and vanilla creme.

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1 comment:

  1. Chia (Salvia hispania L) is a herb that flourishes in South America. Its seed has been part of local diets for centuries. Indeed, Chia is believed to have been a staple food of the Aztecs, who regarded it as an aid to mental acuity, physical endurance and wellbeing. It remains in common use in southern Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seed provides abundant Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, in an optimum ratio. It also provides protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.