Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peach Raspberry Almond Parfait

 As you may be able to tell, we've had peaches galore around here. 

Five years ago, we put in a peach tree, crossing our fingers--and happily, the harvests have been amazing! It seems to go in cycles of every other year, and this year was a good year.  We have over a whopping 250 peaches (fresh! home-grown! pesticide-free!) from our tree that we just picked on Sunday.  (Throughout Monday, I ate ten peaches.  Ten! Fresh! Peaches!)

So, I've been dreaming up some peach recipes! This is a nice snack between lunch and dinner, having layers of both peach almond cream and raspberry lime sauce, with sliced peaches in between.  It's also pretty easy to prep.  So, without further ado, Peach Raspberry Almond Parfait!

 Peach Raspberry Almond Parfait (makes 4 decent-sized parfaits)

Peach Almond Cream:
3 peaches, pitted, peeled, and sliced into pieces (must be fresh)
1 1/4 c. almonds

That's it! Put the peaches and then the almonds into a blender and blend until creamy.  If it's too thin, add more almonds; if too thick, add another peach slice or two. 

Raspberry Lime Sauce:
1.5 c. raspberries (measure before thawing)
 Juice of 1.5 large limes (or 2 small)
2 tbsp. agave
Pinch of sea salt

Let the raspberries thaw for a while and then blend together.  It will be a thick sauce (in the picture, I let it sit too long, so it got thinner). 

To assemble:
Peach Almond Cream
Raspberry Lime Sauce
Sliced peaches

Dollop a bit of Peach Almond Cream in the bottom of a parfait glass.  Throw in some sliced fresh peaches and cover with a layer of raspberry sauce.  (My raspberry sauce had thawed too much, and got too thin, so I only did one big layer of it with more cream on top.  If it's assembled immediately, you can layer the cream and sauce a few times.) Keep layering this way until you reach your desired height in the parfait glass! Enjoy!

This is a nice, sweet treat in the summer, but still light and fresh. 

With any luck, this post will be part of 'Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,' over at the Simply Sugar and Gluten Free blog.  This will also be a part of Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs. 

Hope that all of you have a good week!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chocolate and caramel, veganized? Heck yes!

Hey everyone! Summer's been busy, and I've been whipping up lots of treats and such in the kitchen that I'll be posting soon! A few days ago, I saw that Sweetly Raw was having an ice cream sundae challenge. (http://www.sweetlyraw.com/2012/07/summer-dessert-challenge.html)
I haven't commented on her blog, but I've always enjoyed her recipes, and she's been an inspiration for me on my raw/cooked vegan health journey. 
So, what flavor did I choose?? Well, I was thinking about some sort of fruity concoction, but alas, the fresh fruit (besides blackberries) is far gone from our local farmer's market.  So, I decided to go with some tried-and-true, classic flavors: chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and pecan. 
Vegan caramel, you ask? Well, it sure as heck wasn't easy, but through perseverence (and after one burned batch) I came up with something I...wait for it...liked more than traditional caramel.  Finding the right texture is tricky, as it thickens while it cools--but this caramel is sweet, a little salty, and absolutely decadent combined with chocolate and pecans. 
The recipe has a few components: chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate caramel cups (which have a few steps themselves).  I topped this baby off with dried cranberries, which gave a fantastic texture and a nice, tarter snap to the otherwise sweet sundae. 
So, without further ado: Chocarmel Pecan Sunade!

Chocarmel Pecan Sundae

Chocolate Ice Cream Ingredients:
2 1/4 c. cashews, NOT soaked
1 1/2 c. vanilla almond milk (I used the Silk brand)
1/3 c. agave
1/2 cup cacao/cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp. lecithin (soy or sunflower works)

Blend all ingredients except the coconut oil and lecithin until extremely smooth.  If it needs more liquid, add a splash of almond milk.  Then blend in the coconut oil and lecithin, stirring inside the blender container if necessary.  If the mixture isn't sweet enough, add a bit more agave.  (Keep in mind the vanilla ice cream is sweeter, so a more bittersweet chocolate ice cream balances out.) Pour the mixture into a container and freeze until solid. 

Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients:
2 c. cashews
1 1/4 c. vanilla almond milk
1/3 c. agave
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp. lecithin

Blend all ingredients except the coconut oil and lecithin until extremely smooth.  When that's done, blend in the last two ingredients until incorporated.  (It's okay if it's a little bit sweeter, as the chocolate ice cream is more bittersweet.) Pour the mixture into a container and freeze solid. 

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cups: (made 12 in a mini-muffin pan for me)

First off, stick 3 pecan halves into the bottom of each space in a mini-muffin pan (or whatever you're using to shape the cups in; preferably a metal pan).  Stick it in the freezer.  Then, you can get to work on the chocolate. 

Chocolate Ingredients:
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. heaping c. cocoa/cacao powder
2 tbsp. brown rice syrup
3 tbsp. maple syrup
Sprinkle of salt

Blend all together and put in a piping bag.  Since hopefully your pan will be sufficently frozen by now, you can take it out and pipe the chocolate around the sides, making sure it coats the entire inside of each cup space (spreading over the pecans).  This is so the sticky caramel will stay on the insides, making the cups easier to work with.  This should only use about 1/2 to 2/3 of the chocolate.  Once you're done with your wall of chocolate on each cup, stick it back in the freezer until your caramel is ready. 

Caramel Ingredients:
1/3 c. brown rice syrup
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
1/4 c. almond milk
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp. arrowroot powder

Stir all ingredients except the arrowroot powder together (in a metal saucepan) over heat.  Whisk in the arrowroot powder and bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil (it will bubble a LOT) until it has slightly thickened. (This is important, because the caramel thickens as it cools.  You have to make sure not to boil it too long--or it will burn.  Sigh. --but also to boil it enough so it's a thick sauce.) When it has, remove it from heat and let the caramel cool, stirring occasionally. 

Assembly of cups: Once the caramel is cooled, take the pan out of the freezer and fill the cups most of the way full with caramel.  Spoon the remaining chocolate sauce over the top.  Do this to each cup and then put back in the freezer to set.  Once they have, you can pop them out and cut each cup into pieces (I did quarters) for the sundae. 

Assembly of the sundae:
Chocolate ice cream (thawed)
Vanilla ice cream (thawed)
Chocolate Caramel Pecan cups
Dried cranberries
Pecan pieces

Put a scoop of chocolate ice cream in the bottom of your serving glass (like above; of course, if you want to put vanilla in the bottom instead, I won't stop you ;) ).  Add a vanilla scoop and a chocolate scoop to the top.  Scatter 3-4 pieces of the chocolate caramel pecan cups over the sundae.  Take a small handful of dried cranberries and put them over the sundae as well.  Lastly, take some pecan pieces and scatter them around as well. 

Hope you guys enjoy! This sundae is delicious, and I'll keep the recipe for sure.  The chocolate caramel pecan cups are an especially good treat on their own--the chewy, sweet caramel is heaven with crunchy pecans and chocolate! Thanks to Heather Pace from Sweetly Raw for her contest, and good luck to all the other competitors! (I'll be posting more recipes soon; keep your eyes peeled!)

Over and out!
-Megan S.