Figs, one of the oldest fruit cultivated and consumed by humans traverses global cultures and complex history. Fresh, dried and preserved figs have carried many a generations through culinary experience of reaping its sweet benefits.
When I saw my parent’s fig ( Anjeer) tree in Kashmir this summer, I was in complete awe. It took my dear friend Imtiaz a fair amount of effort to climb up and get me a basket. My newly planted tree in Virginia seemed dwarfed and needed way too much maintenance.
I am not giving though, my Virginia tree now is freshly fertilized and nurtured and although just a few months old has delivered a few fruit.
When you don’t have enough figs growing, there is always the local market. Beautiful figs were calling me and I brought them home.
This recipe is simple with drained thick yoghurt, toasted walnuts and a drizzle of saffron infused honey. The walnuts and saffron are from Kashmir which are the absolute best. Be careful not to burn the walnuts and just lightly toast them.
Please note that I used drained coconut yoghurt so this version is DF. Experiment to your taste.
Fresh raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are flourishing in the market now and you know you want to put them in everything including Banana cream pie! They are perfect this time of year. Just be careful to pick the organic one without the harmful pesticides.
Not only I had the best bananas and berries on hand, I had the inspiration which came in the form of my creative fellow blogger Laurena@Life Diet Health. Do visit her blog for the original version that inspired me and her other amazing healthful recipes. Thanks Laurena!
So back to banana berry pie…it is vegan and gluten free. How you say? Cashews make the best creamy filling and you will not miss the fresh cream….they have to be soaked and then put in a high powered blender to get that creamy consistency.
The other ingredient used her to hold the cream together is Psyllium husk. It comes from the small seeds of the Plantago ovata plant and it gluten free. Just a tablespoon and half was enough for this pie.
I did not feel like making a pie crust from scratch so picked up a pre made gluten free crust from my next door Mom’s organic market. It worked out pretty well.
Oh yes and lets not forget the dates, sweet and delicious! I have used 4-5 dates plus coconut nectar too sweeten this pie.
A cool dessert for cold winter days….simple, healthy and full of energy from Chia seeds, coconut and fruit.
This version is vegan, dairy free and gluten free. You could use honey instead of coconut nectar and real grass fed creamy milk if you like. The gelatin is also a vegetarian brand.
I use Chia seeds in smoothies, oatmeal and desserts abundantly. In the category of superfoods now these are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, dietary fiber, and other nutrients.
I added a layer of saffron which happen to be my favorite spice purchased directly from the saffron fields of Kashmir.
The pudding consistency can be managed by adding extra milk or reducing chia seeds. You can adjust both ingredients based on the thickness and consistency you want. Mine got too thick at first so I had to add more coconut milk to soften. You want to stir the pudding a couple of times while it refrigerates to get the creaminess.
Fresh sweet mangoes would be delightful but frozen are fine too. I also found the canned mango pulp to work really well. Just ensure that there is no added sugar.
1 tbsp gelatin ( you can use the vegetarian version)
1 tbsp coconut nectar
Pinch of saffron flakes
Berries ( or you could use Mango slices)
Putting it together:
Whisk the coconut milk, chia seeds, and nectar together in a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then whisk again . Cover and chill in the fridge for 2.5-3 hours until nice and thick.
Puree the Mango and heat in a pan with 1/4 cup water. Turn off the heat and add the gelatin. Mix well and refrigerate along with the pudding for 2-3 hours until set. You could also use the pureed mango that is readily available and sweeten to taste. I just had some mango chunks in the freezer that I used.
Portion the pudding into bowls, top with a layer of mango and then the toppings . You can add another layer of syrup over the topping if you desire more sweetness.
Sweet and savory dance on the senses and such beautiful raw ingredients. I made this as one of the thanksgiving deserts and it was so well received. I could say that it is healthful ( depending on how many slices you eat:) with the use of coconut nectar and honey. The dates also as a sensory sweetness and chewiness. I soaked the dates in orange zest and orange juice for a few hours to add another layer of flavor. You can omit this step if you want.
Enough said…let’s try it
1/2 cup almonds (soaked overnight and skin removed)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup mehjool dates (pitted and soaked in orange zest and the juice to moisten)
1/2 cup dry crushed coconut flakes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons organic raw honey
Blend this mixture together and layer in a lined square pan. Press down until you get a flat this layer and put in the freezer for 30 mins
Layer 2 (Caramel)
1 cup medjool dates (pitted and soaked in orange zest and the juice to moisten
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
3 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons organic raw honey
1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
Blend dates, coconut oil, tahini, vanilla and raw honey in the food processor. Add the walnut and pulse lightly so you still have the pieces.
Pour this on top of layer 1, smooth and return to freezer to set.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1/4 cup raw cacao
Coconut Flakes for dusting
Blend together the melted coconut oil, raw cacao and coconut nectar until smooth.
Add this as the third layer. Top with coconut flakes. Return to the freezer.
Slice while still frozen and serve.
This will stay in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
I still had coconut left over from when I made the Coconut Almond Butter Clusters. Burfi is a true Indian sweet make with reducing milk (and products) thereby intensifying the taste and flavor. I still remember standing in narrow side streets in India waiting for the fresh Khoya Burfi plates which would easily be devoured in minutes…this was of course a teenage appetite which has now changed to moderation 🙂
This recipe is made with sweetened condensed milk so no added sugar is needed. The trick is to cook it down to a lumpy consistency so it can set properly.
The rose petals are optional but I had bought a batch of organic edible dried petals so getting some use out of them.
I also kept the coconut a little crushed and not ground to a fine powder…..just the way I like it so I can taste the coconut pieces. I soaked the coconut for an hour in Almond Milk but you could go regular milk.
Grind the coconut in a processor and then soak in Almond Milk for a hour
Grind/Crush the Almonds
Soak the Saffron strands in 1 tbsp of warm water
Crush about 9 green cardamom pods to get the powder
Add 2 tbsp of Ghee to a heavy bottomed pan, add almonds and fry for a minute
Add soaked coconutand cardamom powder and cook down for about 2-3 minutes.
Add about 6-7 tablespoons of condensed milk, rose water, 1/2 tsp rose petals and start to cook and medium heat.
In a couple of minutes reduce the heat to low, add 1 tbsp of ghee, saffron and continue to cook until then mixture in lumpy and separated from the oil. This requires stirring and making sure the mixture is not sticking to the bottom of the pan about 5-10 mins.
Pour in a ghee greased pan ( I used silicone) and sprinkle with crushed rose petals and let it cool down. You can slice now and put in the fridge for 30 mins.
The pieces can be stored in a air tight container in the fridge for a few days.
The bag of organic coconut flakes went through many a recipe experiments last week….some flops and others a success. This one was a winner and decidedly easy to make. The Almond Butter and Coconut oil make it vegan. Use a good quality dark chocolate to dip in and you will not be disappointed. I used just a tad of coconut palm sugar but you can adjust to your taste. Basically the measurements can be adjusted and are here for reference.
Mix the first 6 ingredients together well. Spoon with a tablespoon and drop clusters on a parchment paper lined tray. Freeze for 30 mins. Take them out and dip halves in metled chocolate and put back in the freezer.
Use as you need during the day for energy. They would also go really well topped on homemade ice cream 🙂