Raw Chocolate Tart

Raw Chocolate Tart

This is a favourite with my family and friends, and no one can ever believe what the main ingredient is… avocado! Don’t let that put you off – it is rich, creamy and delicious; everything you want from a chocolate tart. And it’s so simple and easy to make.

This year I made it for Pesach dinner (we don’t eat wheat during Pesach and our desserts always have to be dairy-free as we don’t mix meat and milk.)
Word of advice: don’t tell people that there’s avo in it until they’ve tried it!

Ingredients

Crust:
2 cups whole raw almonds
60ml raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
150g fresh medjool dates
2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

Filling:
500g ripe avo flesh (about 4 or 5 avos)
180ml raw cacao powder
60ml organic virgin coconut oil
40g raw cacao butter, gently melted
180ml organic maple syrup
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
1/4 tsp organic stevia leaf powder
1 tsp organic vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder

Method

Remove the pits from the dates and chop them up. Place all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and blend until you have a fine crumb that sticks together when pressed. If the mixture seems dry just keep processing until it’s sticky. Turn it out into a 23cm loose-bottom flan tin or glass serving dish. Press the crumb evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tin, making sure that the top edges are straight and even. Refrigerate.

Place all the ingredients for the filling in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth, but be careful not to blend for so long that the mixture heats up.
Pour into the set crust and use a spatula to make swirly patterns on top or just smooth it out, as you prefer. Refrigerate overnight or minimum 4 hours.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Homemade Coconut Yoghurt

Coconut Yoghurt

When I first started cutting out dairy, yoghurt was the hardest thing to give up… in fact I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do it! I’ve spent a lot of time working on my coconut yoghurt recipe and have finally come up with the perfect one. I normally make my own coconut milk from fresh coconut but you can also use an organic tinned coconut milk or cream. No dairy, sugar, artificial colours or flavours, but still thick, creamy and delicious 🙂 Need I say more?

Ingredients

160g fresh mature coconut flesh
350ml hot water (or replace the coconut and water with 420ml organic coconut milk or cream)
1/3 tsp agar agar powder (flakes require different measurements so make sure you are using powder)
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
1/4 tsp organic stevia leaf powder or 1 tbsp organic maple or raw honey
20ml baobab powder
1 tbsp of a high quality liquid probiotic, or the contents of 2 probiotic capsules
A glass jar, a piece of netting or breathable cloth, and an elastic

A note on making yoghurt

Two things are very important when making yoghurt: Firstly, the quality of the probiotic you use and secondly, hygiene. If you do not have a good quality probiotic it will not culture into yoghurt and you will merely have a nice tasting coconut cream. On the other hand, if you don’t sterilise the glass jar and wash your hands properly, you may end up culturing other bacteria. This won’t taste good and may even make you sick!

I’ve tried a few different probiotics and have found the best result with a liquid probiotic. I use Sambiotica or Nature’s Choice Ultimate Probiotic, available at Dischem.  Alternatively you can use Biogen Pre- & Probiotic capsules also available at Dischem. If you’re not in South Africa, you may need to experiment a bit to find the one that works best.

Probiotic Probiotic2 Probiotic3

Method

Firstly make sure you have a sterilised glass jar for fermenting the yoghurt. The easiest is to put it in a dishwasher, otherwise you can boil it for 2 minutes. Turn it upside down on a rack to dry. Also make sure that your hands are thoroughly clean!

Blend the coconut and hot water for 30 to 60 seconds in a high speed blender and then strain through a nut milk bag or muslin. Place the resulting cream in a saucepan. Sprinkle the agar over the cream and use a whisk to thoroughly combine. Bring up to a gentle simmer, and simmer for 3 minutes exactly. Agar needs to be heated to activate it, but over heating will destroy it and it will not thicken. Remove from the heat.

Once the coconut cream has cooled down to body temperature, whisk in the remaining ingredients. If you add the probiotic while it is too hot, you will kill the cultures. Remember that bacteria are living things so treat them as such… they like to be warm and fed 🙂 Cover the jar with a cloth that breathes and use an elastic to secure it.

Coconut Yoghurt 2

Leave the jar in a warm place for about 24 hours. If it is particularly hot, 18 hours may be enough. If it’s very cold, gently warm your oven, turn it OFF and then place the jar inside. After a day the cream will have cultured into yoghurt and you can refrigerate it. In the fridge it may culture and thicken further. You should eat it within about a 10 days, if it lasts that long!

Health & happiness.

Love,
Raine

Lemon & Basil Truffles

Lemon & Basil Truffles

I love to use savoury flavours in desserts, and in these truffles the basil compliments the lemon really well. They are perfect to finish off a dinner or to give as a gift. Put them in a pretty glass jar and tie a ribbon around the neck… people always appreciate something that you have made yourself!

Ingredients

200g creamed coconut (or coconut butter, not coconut oil)
zest of 3 lemons
30ml lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder
pinch of organic vanilla powder or 2 drops vanilla extract
1 tbsp baobab powder
pinch of himalayan salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
about 40g cacao butter
an empty egg carton and toothpicks

Method

Place all the ingredients except the basil and cacao butter into a food processor. Process until well combined. Then add the chopped basil and pulse to combine. If the mixture is very soft you can refrigerate it until it firms up. Take about a heaped teaspoon of mixture at a time and use your palms to roll it into a neat ball. Place on a plate as you go. You should get about 21 truffles. Place them in the freezer to harden.

In a small saucepan, gently melt the cacao butter (don’t be alarmed that it turns brown as it melts, this is normal.) You will need to melt more cacao butter than what you actually end up using – simply allow the remainder to set again and return to the packet. Spear a truffle onto a toothpick and then dip it into the melted cacao butter, swirling to remove any excess and ensure an even coating.

Lemon & Basil Truffles 2

Then stick the other end of the toothpick into an empty egg carton, allowing the cacao butter to set.

Lemon & Basil Truffles 3

Repeat with all the truffles. Once they have set you can give them a second coating if you like, and then keep them refrigerated. This is actually the first time I’ve made truffles in years and I really enjoyed the process, but if this seems like too much hard work for you, you can omit the last step of coating them in cacao butter!

Health & happiness 🙂

Love,
Raine

No-fry Chocolate and Maca Pancakes

Choc Maca Pancakes

I can’t think of anything better for Sunday breakfast than a stack of pancakes! And with this recipe they’re completely guilt-free.

This is basically a variant of the Plain Buckwheat Pancakes – I’ve added raw cacao and maca for a delicious malted chocolate flavour. Maca gives you increased energy and is said to help relieve the symptoms of PMS. It has a malted flavour which pairs very well with raw cacao.

Both maca and cacao are aphrodisiacs, so why not start practicing this recipe now for Valentine’s Day?  😉

I find it tedious to stand in front of the stove frying up batches of pancakes, so I decided to try baking them and it worked really well! Of course you also have the added benefit of not having fried them in oil – while coconut oil is the best choice for frying, oils are always healthiest in their raw state.

In this version I used almond flour simply because I have so much (as a by-product of all the almond milk I make) but you could substitute it with buckwheat flour, as in the original recipe.

Ingredients (this makes enough for my husband, my toddler and I – about 12 pancakes)

4 tbsp flax seeds, ground in a coffee grinder (you could also use chia seeds)
150ml water
1 cup almond flour
1 heaped tsp aluminium-free baking powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp maca powder
1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder (or 1 tbsp organic maple syrup or raw honey)
1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork to a puree
1 cup almond milk or other dairy-free milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Combine the ground flax and water to make your flax “eggs.” Refrigerate for 15 minutes while you make the rest of the batter.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cacao powder, maca powder and stevia. Add the banana and almond milk and use a whisk to combine well. Add the flax “eggs” and whisk again. The flax is quite gluey so make sure you get it mixed in really well.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place a heaped tablespoon of the batter onto the paper and use the spoon to spread it out into a neat circle, about 1 – 2cm thick. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes until they have risen, browned and are cooked through.

I served these with fresh raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, pomegranate and my Raw Caramel.

Health and happiness!

Love,
Raine