Raw Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

Raw Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

Raw Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

 

This raw strawberry tart was inspired by some amazing extra large, juicy strawberries that were leftover from a birthday party. These strawberries were the really delicious sweet kind and were exactly what you’d imagine the perfect strawberry to look and taste like.

When I think of strawberries I naturally think of cream, or in the case of a tart, a vanilla custard cream. I decided to go one better and make this tart with a white chocolate custard cream. And by cream I really mean cashew cream as this is a gluten, dairy, egg & refined sugar free tart of goodness!

Fresh fruit flan used to be my mum’s go-to dessert when entertaining, and it would always receive many complements. What no one knew was it was a flan case made from store bought pastry that she filled with a vanilla “pastry cream” made from vanilla instant pudding with a bit of whipped cream folded through.

She topped her flans with fresh seasonal fruit (or occasionally tinned), and glazed it with apricot jam. The finished flan always looked spectacular and fooled many a guest into thinking that it was made from scratch. Mum was all about quick and easy desserts and this one never failed to please.

So for nostalgia sake, I have loosely based this raw strawberry tart recipe on those traditional fruit flan flavours. The base is reminiscent of a vanilla biscuit base and is made from almonds, brazils, cashews, coconut and dates. It’s very easy to prepare, simply blend it all in a food processor and then press it into your flan tin. I used a large 26cm flan tin but this recipe would work equally well with a standard springform tin or individual flan tins.

 

Raw Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

 

The white chocolate custard cream is made from soaked cashew nuts (I’ve added some notes on soaking below), as they create a lovely creamy base. I combined them with raw cacao butter which brings the white chocolate element, vanilla for flavour, pure maple syrup to sweeten, coconut oil for setting and coconut milk for consistency. This may sounds complicated, but once you’ve soaked the cashews it’s simply a case of blending all the ingredients in a high speed blender and pouring the white chocolate cream into your tart case to set.

Once the custard layer is set the tart is ready to for the strawberries. I kept the strawberry arrangement really simple by just standing them on top of the custard ensuring there were as little gaps as possible. But you could also slice the strawberries in half and arrange them lying down, or you could cut them into slices and arrange them in spikes to create a more art deco style flan.

Of course the decoration is entirely up to you, and if you’d prefer to use another type of fruit entirely, by all means do. Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries would all be amazing, and if you wanted to get really creative you could make a mixed fruit flan using all your favourite seasonal fruits.

This raw strawberry tart will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, although it’s best eaten fresh on the day it’s made. I think it would make a fabulous celebration dessert, and would be perfect for Christmas day!

I hope you give this recipe a try and if you post any photos to Instagram be sure to tag @swoon.food #swoonfood so I can come and admire them!

Any questions about this recipe? Do you have a favourite strawberry recipe? Leave your comments in the section below, I would love to hear from you!

 Raw Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

 

Raw Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

Makes: 1 x 26cm/10 inch tart or 6-8 individual tarts
Prep time: 1 hour Soaking time: 2-4 hours Chill time: 1 hour

Base

3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup raw brazil nuts (or cashews)
pinch sea salt
8 medjool dates, pitted
2 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)

White Chocolate Custard Cream

2 cups cashews, soaked (see note below)
1 cup coconut milk (I used Little Islands Original Coconut Drinking Milk)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence, or powder or 1 scraped vanilla pod
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup cacao butter, gently melted (see note below)
1/4 cup coconut oil,  gently melted (see note below)

2 extra large punnets of strawberries, washed and dried

Start by soaking the cashew nuts. Place 2 cups of raw cashew nuts in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 2-4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

To make the base, gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the coconut, almonds, brazil nuts and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until they are well combined. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Lightly grease the bottom of your flan tin with a wipe of coconut oil. Press the base mixture evenly into the tin and up the sides, then place in the fridge to set.

To make the white chocolate custard cream first gently melt your coconut oil and cacao butter using the method as above. Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the coconut milk, pure maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt, and blend until smooth. You may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. When the mixture is smooth, add the melted cacao butter gradually through the top of the blender while the motor is running, followed by the coconut oil. These should blend in completely and you should end up with a smooth thick cream. Pour the white chocolate cream into the tart base, smooth with a spatula and place in the freezer to set for approximately 30minutes to an hour depending on your freezer. You can also place the tart in the fridge to set, but it will take much longer.

Once the white chocolate cream is set, remove the tart from the freezer and pop it out of the tart tin onto a serving plate. Prepare the strawberries by washing thoroughly, removing the greens and patting dry. Arrange the strawberries on top of the tart with as few gaps as possible. Return the finished tart to the fridge until ready to serve. This raw strawberry start will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Raw Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

How to activate nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in the cheesecake filling of this recipe are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the cashews and almonds in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 41ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 41ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw.

How to melt raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 41º. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 41ºC.

How to choose a good coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it is easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

How to choose a good maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal! There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which contains none. Maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of coconut milk.

 

Vanilla and Cardamon Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

Vanilla and Cardamon Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

Vanilla & Cardamom Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

 

These layered plum crumbles were inspired by a stand of delicious looking organic plums I found in the supermarket and a recipe I saw in a recent Cuisine Magazine. This is a slightly healthier twist on Cuisine’s recipe, and it’s also dairy, gluten and refined sugar free.

I’ve served these little desserts at a couple of dinners over the last few weeks and we’ve also been enjoying them as a quick week night after dinner treat. They’re a great throw together dessert that you can prep well ahead of time and have on hand for those unexpected occasions.

The vanilla and cardamom roasted plums are simply baked in the oven. I love this cooking method as apart from being quick and easy, the plums hold their shape nicely and you get a lovely syrup from their juices. All you need to do is halve the plums, remove the stones and place in a baking dish with a little water, vanilla, cardamom pods and sweetener if desired. While the plums are baking you can prepare the crumble.

The nut crumble is a healthier version of a traditional crumble topping. I used nuts and seeds, a little coconut oil, a little sweetener and some spices. The baked nut crumble keeps well in a sealed container in the pantry so if you have any left over it’s delicious with yoghurt or sprinkled over any other type of stone fruit.

To assemble the plum crumbles simply layer up the plums and nut crumble in serving glasses, dollop a little yoghurt on top and drizzle with a spoonful of fresh passionfruit.

Enjoy!

 

Vanilla & Cardamom Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

 

Vanilla and Cardamom Roasted Plums

12 red flesh plums (omega or black doris are great)
2 Tbsp rice syrup or raw honey (optional)
1 tsp vanilla powder
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Wash the plums, cut in half and remove the stones. Place the plums in a large baking dish and sprinkle over the sweetener if using, vanilla and cardamom pods. Pour the water over and place the dish in the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes. The plums should be soft but still holding their shape and the liquid will have turned red. Remove the plums from the oven and set aside to cool.

Nut Crumble

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup coconut sugar, rice syrup or raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 pinches of himalayan pink salt

Place all the ingredients except the coconut oil in a food processor and blend until the nuts are broken down into large chunks. Unless you like a really fine crumble aim to keep the nuts reasonably chunky so the crumble has a good texture. Pour the melted coconut oil in and pulse until just mixed. Spread the nut crumble onto a lined baking tray and bake at 160ºC for approximately 20 minutes. The crumble is ready when the nuts just start to colour. Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

To Assemble:

Place two plum halves and a little syrup into the bottom of each serving glass. Follow with a couple of spoonfuls of the nut crumble. Then repeat – spoon two more plum halves into each glass and finish with a layer of nut crumble. If you are not serving them straight away these could be covered and placed in the fridge for a couple of hours at this stage. Otherwise dollop a spoonful of yoghurt on top (I love vanilla buffalo yoghurt for this!) and drizzle with fresh passion fruit.

 

Vanilla & Cardamom Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

Plum and Orange Ginger Cake with Thyme Syrup

Plum and Orange Ginger Cake with Thyme Syrup

 

Plum and Orange Ginger Cake with Thyme Syrup - swoonfood.com

This plum and orange syrup cake was inspired by a delicious looking cake a friend on the other side of the world posted to Facebook. It turned out to be one of those cakes that uses cooked whole oranges instead of butter or oil to create a lovely, moist (virtually fat free) cake. There are quite a few variations on this recipe, but essentially it has a base of oranges, ground almonds, eggs and sugar, and from there you can add whatever flavouring you like.

Plum and Orange Ginger Cake with Thyme Syrup - swoonfood.com

 

 

In my interpretation of this recipe I have decreased the amount of sugar in the cake as I think the syrup more than makes up for this. I have added fresh plums to the top for a burst of colour and they work really well with the oranges and almonds. I have also added fresh ginger, mainly because I love it and think it goes really well with oranges and plums. However, if you don’t like ginger simply leave it out. The syrup is made from orange juice and just a little raw sugar as orange juice has heaps of natural sugar to start with. I have also added thyme to my syrup as although an unlikely combination, plums and thyme go really well! Again though, if you don’t like thyme or can’t get any then feel free to leave it out.

 

Plum and Orange Ginger Cake with Thyme Syrup - swoonfood.com

I hope you give this lovely cake a try. It’s so moist and citrusy and not too sweet at all making it a lovely dessert or daytime treat. I’s also delicious heated and served with a dollop of (coconut) yoghurt. Enjoy!

 

Plum and Orange Ginger Cake with Orange Thyme Syrup

For the cake:
2 whole oranges
6 eggs
2 cups/200g ground almonds
1 cup/125g coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
8 fresh plums, cut in half stones removed

Preheat the oven to 160ºC and line the sides and bottom of an 8″/22cm springform cake tin.

Either place the two whole oranges in a large pan of water and simmer for approximately 2 hours OR place the oranges in a covered bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 3-6 minutes. You are looking for the oranges to be very soft with a little liquid coming out.

Allow the oranges to cool, then place in a food processor and blend until you have a fine pulp. Add the sugar and eggs and process to combine. Lastly add the ground almonds, baking powder and ginger and process until just combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and smooth the surface. Carefully arrange the halved plums on top and then place the cake in the centre of the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour. The cake is ready when the top has formed a nice golden crust between the plums and a skewer comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Transfer the cake a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile make the syrup.

For the syrup:
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup raw sugar
handful of fresh thyme (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the orange juice starts to caramelise and looks syrupy. Add the thyme leaves, remove from heat and allow to infuse.

To serve, strain the syrup to remove the thyme and any orange pips etc. Place the cake on a large serving plate and pour the syrup over. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week.

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Plum and Orange Ginger Cake with Thyme Syrup - swoonfood.com

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

This maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola is what I eat for breakfast most mornings and is essentially the oat and banana free version of the crunchy maple banana granola (what Nick eats most mornings!). I couldn’t find a really delicious muesli or granola that was completely gluten free or not full of weird corn flakey things or added sugar, so I started making my own.

Buckwheat groats are a great oat substitute, especially for a granola style muesli. They’re completely gluten free and are packed full of plant protein and dietary fibre. From there I’ll usually add whatever nuts I have in the pantry, such as almonds, brazils and pecans. Pumpkin seeds and whole flaxseed are great protein and fibre sources, and add to the granola crunch. For flavour I use ground cinnamon, ginger, coconut and vanilla powder, with a little pure maple syrup for sweetness although this can be left out. After baking I’ll throw in some dried fruits like cherries, blueberries and cranberries (ideally sugar free if you can find them).

This granola is super easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for it to come out of the oven as it smells so good! When stored in an airtight container this granola will last for weeks, however, you’ll probably eat it way before then! It’s also great as a snack eaten straight from the jar or sprinkled over the top of a smoothie bowl or chia pudding. Enjoy!

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Makes: 1 large jar

2 cups of buckwheat groats, soaked 2-4 hours
1 cup raw almonds (dried & activated if you have time – see note below)
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup whole flaxseed
1 cup desiccated coconut
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (see note below)
100g dried super fruits such as cherries, cranberries & blueberries

Soak the buckwheat for 2-4 hours. This part isn’t optional as the buckwheat groats need to absorb some water so that they don’t go crazy hard after cooking and break your teeth! The soaking also makes them easier to digest so it’s win win. After soaking the groats wash them very thoroughly as they let off a mucilaginous substance which you want to remove completely.

Next combine the well drained buckwheat groats in a large mixing bowl with everything except the pure maple syrup and dried fruit. Stir well to combine and then add the maple syrup, again stirring well to ensure it’s evenly mixed.

Spoon the granola mix onto two lined oven trays and fan bake at 100ºC for approximately 30-45 minutes. You are aiming for enough moisture to evaporate from the buckwheat groats so that they just become crunchy and will be able to be stored in the cupboard. They will still be a little soft when they come out of the oven but you will know they are ready when they harden up on standing. If they are still a bit chewy, return the granola to the oven for a bit longer. Once out of the oven, add the dried super fruits to the granola and leave to cool on the trays.

Store this maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola in a large air-tight jar or container in your pantry.

 

Activating almonds: Simply place the almonds in a bowl and cover with filtered tap water. Leave to soak for 10-12 hours. Drain the water off and rinse well. This removes the natural enzyme inhibitors on the outside of the almonds that make them difficult for our bodies to breakdown and digest. Place the drained nuts on a lined oven tray and place in oven at the lowest fan bake temperature possible with the door slightly ajar – I use a wooden spoon shut in the door as this allows just enough gap for moisture to escape (or use a dehydrator if you have one). Dry the nuts this way for until they are dry to touch and easy to crack apart. The rest of the drying will happen with the granola. Again, this part is optional. The granola will still taste just as good without activating and drying the nuts.

Pure maple syrup: Make sure you get the real deal. There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are actually just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. The real deal only lists “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water then filtering to remove impurities. While it is still a form of sugar it has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar and contains some minerals and antioxidants unlike refined sugar. Pure maple syrup is therefore a better choice of sweetener, alongside honey and coconut sugar, if you need to use a sweetener. However, it is still best used in moderation.

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Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

 

This crunchy maple banana granola has fast become a pantry staple in our house. Up until recently we mainly ate store bought granola or gluten free muesli, as I’d finally found two brands that had little or no added unrefined sugar, were super tasty, and of course very convenient.

Whilst browsing various health food blogs one day however, I came across quite a few recipes for granola sweetened predominantly with banana. The idea of a crunchy, lightly spiced, banana granola sounded super delicious, yet refreshingly healthy at the same time. Plus what also appealed was all the recipes were very quick and easy to make by simply combining all the ingredients and baking them in the oven.

 Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

 

After trying out a couple of these recipes I found they tasted amazing straight out of the oven, but went soft as soon as they cooled. I concluded this could either be due to the method of cooking or a combination of too much moisture from the banana and coconut. Perhaps these recipes intended to produce soft style granolas, but to me the definition of a good granola is that it should stay crunchy right until you spoon it into your mouth.

So never one to turn away a cooking challenge, I decided to come up with my own version that still had a lovely banana flavour but stayed crunchy for as long as it’s shelf life.

 

 

 Crunchy Maple Banana Granola 

 

The recipe below is my winning version and produces a granola that has a lovely mild banana flavour, a little bit of spice and a lot of crunch. It bakes at a lower temperature for about an hour as this allows the moisture from the banana to be released while still retaining the flavour. The maple syrup caramelises without burning and you are left with a nice crunchy texture.

Feel free to play around with the amount of spice, and substitute whatever nuts and seeds you prefer. One thing to note is this granola is made with oats so it’s not gluten free, if you are looking for a gluten free granola check out this oat free maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola recipe instead. Hope you enjoy this granola recipe and even better if it becomes a party staple of yours too!

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

Makes: 1 large jar
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour

3 cups of oats
1 cup of coconut thread
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of almonds
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 very ripe banana
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

 

Preheat the oven to 140ºC fan bake and line two baking trays with baking paper or sheets.

Combine the oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mash the banana well and combine with the maple syrup. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well, with either a spoon or your hands. Spread the mixture evenly over both trays and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly toasted and the mixture is an even caramelised colour.

Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool on the trays. When cold store in airtight containers in the pantry. To serve, combine with your choice of milk or nut milk and whatever fresh fruit you have in season.

This is also a great breakfast on the run, just pop it into a jar, top with milk, fruit and yoghurt and you’re ready to go!

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola