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Archive for the ‘Raw Desserts’ Category

Strawberry Delight, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

This is one of our very favorite desserts. It meets all the criteria we look for in making a dessert. It is generally loved by young and old alike.  It doesn’t require baking, there are no gluten free flour ratios to balance out, no added sugar,  free of lengthy preparation and complicated steps, and most importantly so delicious. In our globally connected world, you can now find strawberries almost year round. We generally prefer to eat foods as they are available seasonally, and locally grown if at all possible. But that is just not always practical when you live in a high desert environment, where so much of our food gets trucked in. Nearly all our local stores carry quite an assortment of berries throughout the year, which makes this dessert such a nice treat, especially during the winter months.

Strawberry Delight, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Looking out at the garden beds,  my own strawberry plants looks rather sad right now, holding a mere promise of a harvest still several months away. I found these organic strawberries in our local store and couldn’t resist making this dessert. Like I said, it is extremely easy to make, using the following ingredients:

  • 15 strawberries
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 4 oz. white chocolate chips

Wash the strawberries and allow them to dry completely, leaving the stems on.

Strawberry Delight, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

In a double boiler, combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the coconut oil and melt over very low heat. The added oil makes the end result just a little smoother. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off. Place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat the process until all the strawberries are covered. Place them into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, allowing the chocolate to set and harden.

Strawberry Delight, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate chips. Pour the melted white chocolate into a pastry bag, fitted with a small writing tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can also fill a zip-lock bag and cut a very small hole in one of the corners.

Strawberry Delight, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Remove the refrigerated strawberries and “draw” lines across the dark chocolate.  When finished, again place the tray with the strawberries back in the refrigerator for another 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator when fully set, and serve. They easily store in the refrigerator for a couple of days, if necessary.

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Persimmons, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com All rights reserved

Many of you landing on this page today are probably looking for our gluten free version of the Finnish Pulla. Time just did not allow us to develop yet another yeast-based bread recipe. We hope to deliver this sometime in the new year. After reading about this recipe, we thought it was somewhat similar to a traditional challah bread, which is doable gluten free, but probably not in a ring shape. Braiding anything gluten free, without the excess use of starch, while still having it turn out light and fluffy, can prove to be very challenging. But enough said. No baked recipe today from us, but if you are so inclined, please stop by Erin’s beautiful site The Daily Morsel, who is the host for this recipe and has done a truly beautiful job with the regular gluten version of this recipe found in Baking with Julia on page 106-107. You can also check out all the beautiful creations by the rest of the TWD bakers at this site.

Persimmon Pudding, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Instead, we are treating you to one of our favorite pudding recipes, which, by the way, does not require any cooking, or baking. That is a true bonus, especially around this time of year, with an over-abundance of cookies and pies everywhere.  At this point, it should be noted that we love persimmons. Fuyu persimmons to be exact, since they are sweet, not at all astringent, and can therefore be eaten raw. Though they somehow resemble a yellow/orange tomato, their flavor is mild, sweet and rather exotic. We wish we could grow one right in our own yard. But our cold winter temperatures are just too extreme. To us the high enzyme profile of fresh persimmon, is an added bonus, especially since we adore raw fruits and vegetables.  Persimmons were more readily found back in the days when we lived in the Pacific Northwest and always signaled the onset of winter, since that is when they are generally available. Many people there are actually able to grow them in their own gardens. We were first introduced to persimmons at a local food co-op in the greater Seattle area, at a time, when the co-ops were still relatively small, and everybody knew everybody. Today that same “quaint” little co-op has morphed into a chain with stores the size of a Whole Foods – still offering great service, but due to size, much more impersonal.

Persimmons, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

This recipe is incredibly easy to make, and sets by itself, when chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you want to make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients, which make 6-8 servings:

  •  6 ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled, and quartered
  •  1 can of whole organic coconut milk, or 2 young coconuts (coconut water and meat)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp. raw honey
  • shredded unsulphured coconut, for garnish, and/or white chocolate chips, coconut cream, or whipped cream (optional)

Place the peeled and quartered persimmons into a blender, add the coconut milk, vanilla extract and honey. Blend well, until creamy.

Persimmon Pudding, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Fill into your favorite dessert glasses or cups, and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours, ideally overnight. It will gel up beautifully.  If desired, before serving, garnish with a little shredded coconut, white chocolate chips, whipped coconut cream, or, if tolerated, regular whipped cream.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

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Acai Bowls

Açai is a family favorite throughout the year, but is especially welcome during the scorchingly hot summer days. It has become quite popular over the last couple of years and has been credited with many health and anti-aging benefits. We value it as a high anti-oxidant fruit that is adding nutritional value to our diet and also tastes delicious. One of the main plant chemicals in açai getting all the attention is a compound called anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid lending a red to purple color to fruits like grapes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and, of cource, açai berries.

Unlike locally grown berries, it is highly unlikely that you would find fresh açai berries in your local health food store. They don’t keep very well fresh, and have to be processed into juice, or frozen, very shortly after harvesting them to retain their nutritional value.

Processing of Acai Berries into Juice Pulp

Açai palm trees (Euterpe oleracea and Euterpe badiocarpa) grow primarily in the tropical flood plains and riverbank regions of the Amazon basin in Brazil.

Acai Palm Trees in the Amazon Region

These trees grow anywhere from 50-80 feet tall and four or more trees are said to grow from a single seed. Açai berries are round and have a bright blue-purple color. They are about the size of a large blueberry, or a medium-sized grape, and each contains a large seed (about 0.25-0.40 inches in diameter).

Acai Berries, by Cellcom

In Brazil, the açai fruit is an especially important food for the Native population of the Brazilian Amazon. It makes up roughly 40% of their total food intake and is of great importance economically to the region. In the Northern State of Pará, Brazil, açai pulp is traditionally served in gourds, called “cuias” together with tapioca, and is either served sweet with honey, rapadura (sugar cane juice), or salty.

If you find yourself living in one of the tropical regions on our planet, you might find this website (begin-organic-gardening.com) to be very useful – they teach you how to grow your own açai palms, among other things. How about that!? Unfortunately, that would never work here in the high desert of the Southwest – not enough humidity throughout the year and waaaaaay too cold in the winter.

This brings us to our recipe for the day and our favorite açai product – Sambazon. You can find it in your local health food store in the frozen section.

Sambazon Acai Smoothie Packs

We like Sambazon’s philosophy, in general, and for making this incredible food available to all of us, and, most importantly, for being a powerful ally for the rain forest and its native people. In giving the local population a fair trade wage in the harvesting of açai, alternatives are being offered to the cutting down of the vast Amazon forest. The growing and harvesting of açai has offered a healthy and economically viable alternative to the local people, and is helping to preserve the rain forest. The beautiful people at Sambazon have put together an interesting video about their company and products and you can watch their ‘you tube’ video here.

We were first introduced to the açai bowl out in San Diego, California, at a place called Swami’s in Encinitas (learn more about it under our Restaurant tab above). We never did get the recipe, but have perfected our own version of it over the years. It is a very simple recipe to make and will become a quick favorite amongst your family and friends. We have adapted this recipe from the one found in our book “A Celebration of Gluten Free Baking.”

This recipe will serve three people and you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Sambazon Açai Smoothie, unsweetened
  • 3 cups frozen, organic mixed berries
  • 3 organic bananas
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 3/4 cup of organic fresh berries of your choice
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Bee pollen (optional), about 1/2 tsp. per person
  • gluten free granola (we used Udi’s)
This recipe is best prepared in a food processor or powerful blender.
Add the frozen berries and content of the lightly defrosted açai packets into your processor. Peel 2 bananas, break them into smaller pieces and add them to the processor together with the honey. Process until everything is smooth and creamy. Divide this puree into three equal portions. Cut the remaining banana into slices and add to the bowls.
Top with fresh berries, coconut, bee pollen and your favorite granola. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Acai Bowl

Are you familiar with açai? What is your favorite way of preparing it? Let us know by posting below.

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For many people, pudding is a favorite dessert and invokes fond childhood memories. The traditional version, however, is laced with gluten, white sugar, and also generally requires the addition of milk and eggs. That is why we are especially fond of this variety, since it is made with fresh raw ingredients,  and (drum roll, please!) does not require any flour, eggs or dairy, and even more importantly, does not entail heating up the kitchen on a very hot day.

The quickest and easiest way is to make this in a food processor, or blender. You will need the following ingredients (to serve 3-4 people):

8 fully ripe, organic bananas

3 Tbsp. raw cacao

4 Tbsp. raw honey

Organic raspberries for decoration

Peel the bananas and place them in your food processor, then add the cacao and honey. Because of the natural sweetness of bananas, this pudding does not require the addition of sugar, but because we used raw cacao, we have added a little extra honey to suit most  taste buds. If you use regular chocolate powder, you may want to decrease the amount of honey. Feel free and adapt the recipe to suit your taste. Blend until smooth. Fill your favorite dessert bowls and top with raspberries, or any other berry or fruit of your choice. You can enjoy this dessert immediately, or chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, and enjoy it cold.

Gluten Free Banana-Chocolate Pudding

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Hello again. Thanks for all of your patience, we have been meaning to post for the last few days, but sadly have been without internet access. No blog, no e-mail, complete  and utter abandonment. :(  But okay, enough said, drama over, moving on. . .

We were inspired to experiment with the creation of yet another raw dessert (Inge’s forte).  :)  Below are  the results.

So far most of our raw desserts have called  for the use of almonds, or cashews to create a crust. While it is very easy to create a raw dough made from sprouted nuts,  and it is definitely very easy to shape and mold it  into something that actually resembles a pie crust, some are allergic to various seeds, or nuts. So I experimented with whole buckwheat groats and sprouted them. The sprouting was done by first washing 2 cups of whole buckwheat groats and rinsing them several times. I then covered them with purified water, and let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. I rinsed them again, placed them in a glass dish and again covered them with purified water. This time the buckwheat was moved to the refrigerator. Twice a day, for the next two days, I continued to rinse the buckwheat carefully, each time replacing the purified water, and again storing it in the fridge.

Washed and Rinsed Buckwheat, First Sprouting Cycle

Sprouted Buckwheat

At the end of the second day the buckwheat was rinsed one last time, and as you can see, had swelled significantly, its texture now soft, and no longer tough and grainy. By this point, you could almost mash it with your fingers.

Closeup, Sprouted Buckwheat

The original amount of 2 cups buckwheat groats had expanded to 3 cups sprouted.

I used  2 cups sprouted buckwheat and placed it in a food processor and added 6 dates (which had been allowed to soak for about 1 hour), 1 Tbsp. agave syrup and 2 tsps. gluten free vanilla extract, and processed everything until smooth and creamy.  It is almost the consistency of whipped cream. For the next step one can use a glass pie dish or any regular spring form. I used the spring form because if was readily available and spread the buckwheat dough evenly over the bottom of the dish, drawing the mixture up along the sides of the dish (about 3/4 inch).

Buckwheat Crust Prep.

If your oven can be set at a very low temperature (below 108 degrees F) you can place this in the oven for at least 2-3 hours (which is what I did),  ideally it is best placed in a dehydrator for the most consistent temperature control. But like I said, an oven will do. This “crust” will not set completely, in fact, it will remain quite soft. I removed it from the oven after about 4-1/2 hours and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, while I prepared the filling.

Using the food processor, I blended 3 whole, sliced Fuji apples, with 2 tsps. cinnamon powder, 1 Tbsp. organic agave syrup, 1 tsp. gluten free vanilla extract and 2 tsps. Agar-agar (which had been dissolved in 2 Tbsp. of very warm water). The agar-agar helps to solidify the processed apples, once chilled.

Preparation of Apples with Spices

Meanwhile, cut another Fuji apple into very, very thin slices, sqeezing the juice of half a lemon over them to prevent browning, and set aside.

Apple Slices with Lemon

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of shredded coconut over the prepared “pie crust”,

Dehydrated Pie Crust, Sprinkled with Coconut

and fill with the processed apples, placing the thin slices in a rosette-type pattern on top.

Raw Apple Dessert

Set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. This dessert will not create perfect slices; it is more the consistency of apple crumble, than apple pie. The flavor, however, is absolutely delicious, and only gets better after a day or so.

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