Raw desserts have become an integral part of my diet. While I wouldn’t go as far to say they are completely guilt free, they do carry a somewhat lesser burden than their sugar filled and usually horribly processed counterparts.
It wasn’t until I became vegan and started exploring whole foods in more depth that I came across raw cuisine. Can you believe I had never heard of such a thing? It amazes me to think I once lived in a bubble where I had very little understanding of food and nutrition. I often think back to those days and wonder how on earth I ever managed to stay relatively trim and fit; I have a feeling it would have caught up with me at some point — bad diets have a habit of doing that!
Not that my diet or lifestyle was particularly bad. I didn’t overeat and we never frequented fast food joints — even then they horrified me. My other saving grace was that I’ve always loved to cook and most of our meals were made from scratch. I probably convinced myself we were healthier than most but when we decided to take a closer look at our daily dairy intake a dirty little secret was revealed -– we were eating multiple portions of dairy three times a day and one look inside our fridge displayed the evidence of our heavy reliance on every type of dairy product available; yogurt, cheese, milk and, of course, cream.
Never would I have thought it possible to replace a product like cream with a plant based, never mind raw, alternative. In the past I’ve used the pre made soya whipping cream and, more frequently, sweetened whipped coconut cream made from chilled coconut milk, which is delicious in its own right. Neither, however, tasted as wickedly indulgent as raw cashew cream.
Naturally sweet and fantastically (and quite unbelievably) smooth, cashew cream is a true raw vegan wonder. I’m sure there are many people out there who are, like I once was, currently living in that ‘ignorance is bliss’ bubble, totally unaware that the switch from loved up dairy consumer to full on vegan isn’t such a terrifyingly big leap — not when you have a cup of cashew cream in your hand anyway ;).
Cashew Cream Ingredients:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup filtered water
Walnut Crust Ingredients:
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 2 medjool dates
- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 heaped tsp coconut oil
- handful of fresh blueberries
- 1 sliced kiwi
- Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Cover the bowl and allow to soak overnight.
- Place the walnuts and salt in a hand blender or food processor and blitz. Add the dates (remember to remove the stone!) and coconut oil and blitz until afine rubble is formed, scraping down the sides with spatula as you go. It should come together in a clump and then turn it out into a clean bowl. If you have tarts tins, use them, if not, take a quarter of the mixture and using your hands shape into a muffin mould/tin until a cup shape has been formed. Do the same for three more portions and place in freezer for several hours.
- Drain the cashews and place in a blender with a quarter cup of filtered water, the agave and vanilla extract and blend until completely smooth. Again, scrape down the sides using a spatula ensuring there are no bits in the mixture. Keep blending until it is super smooth, adding a little more water if necessary – not too much, remember you can always add more but you can never take away!
- Transfer the cream to a Tupperware dish and refrigerate for several hours.
- Remove the walnut cups from the freezer and allow to slightly thaw for a few minutes before running a knife around the edge (I found a butter knife works best) and carefully easing out each cup – the coconut oil will ensure they won’t stick to the muffin moulds.
- Spoon several tablespoons of cashew cream into each cup and top with sliced kiwi and a few fresh blueberries – or any fruit of your choosing.
*These cups would make a particularly impressive and wonderful dinner party dessert. I guarantee your guests will be amazed to discover it’s vegan let alone raw!