Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summertime Berry Coconut Dessert

The hot summer months call for light, refreshing desserts. In my opinion, that doesn't need to be limited to a plate of fruit, or a fruit pudding, or smoothie. 

Recently I've been playing with agar to create tasty desserts without the need for any or many nuts/oils. I've experimented with various ratios to get the desired texture and found that it can be tricky. Even a small amount of agar can make a difference. I've been left with everything from mixtures that are still too liquidy after chilling to an overly firm texture that just wasn't right. Back to the drawing board multiple times with the idea I'm presenting here today. 

Have you tried agar? What results did you get? 

Inspired by a recipe from this summers LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) Food and Drink magazine, I came up with the recipe I'm sharing today. I love this free magazine. It gives all kinds of great food and drink ideas that I can health-ify and the photography is stellar. Their Berry Tiramisu is made up of a macaroon cookie crust, and rum soaked lady fingers, a thick mascarpone cream filling, and lots of fresh berries on top. The picture drew me in (I tried to find it on the website but I guess it's not up yet), and I knew I could recreate my own version...  

My recipe combines a crumbly hemp and oat crust with a thick (nearly sliceable) coconut filling, topped with a berry puree instead of fresh berries. It's light on the nuts (only 1/4 cup in the whole recipe), low in sugar, and will hopefully leave you feeling refreshed as we did eating it. 

Summertime Coconut Berry Dessert

Hemp Oat Crumble Crust

There are only two tablespoons of seeds in the recipe, yet I find that the hemp flavor still comes through loud and clear. If you don't have hemp on hand, try it with sesame seeds or more coconut. 

1/2 cup oats*, ground in a food processor
1/4 cup almonds, ground
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons water

Process the oat flour, almond flour, coconut, dates, and vanilla in a food processor until broken down into crumbs. 
Add the hemp seeds and water. Process again briefly to incorporate. 
Press the mixture into the bottom of 4-6 ramekins (depending on the size of them and thickness of crust). Set aside. 

*Regular, gluten free, or raw oat groats

Coconut Filling

Here's where the agar fun begins. I used canned coconut milk (important to use full fat). You could use fresh by blending coconut pulp and water. Make sure it's thick. I don't have access to young coconuts at this time. 

1/2 cup water
Full 1 3/4 teaspoon agar powder
1 can coconut milk
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 drops stevia
1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Bring the water barely to a boil in a small saucepan. 
Sprinkle the agar over top and whisk it in thoroughly. 
Turn the heat to medium, making sure its a low boil and keep whisking until the agar dissolves (4-6 minutes). 
Add the coconut milk, vanilla bean, and maple to the blender. Add the agar mixture. Blend until completely smooth. Add stevia, to taste. 
Add the coconut oil and blend again. 
Pour the mixture over the crusts. 
Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or until set. 

Berry Topping

The magazine called for fresh berries on top, but I decided to do a puree in order to get "the perfect bite" - a balance of all the berries. In puree form it's easy to slice through all layers with your spoon. I didn't measure anything out for this part but here's what I did. 

About 2 cups of assorted berries
Chia Seed
Squirt of lemon juice
2-3 drops stevia

Blend the berries ON LOW in a blender, to keep some texture. Add some chia, lemon, and stevia. 
Blend on LOW a bit longer. 
Transfer to a bowl. The mixture will thicken up a little within 30 minutes. 
Spoon over the chilled coconut filling. 

I hope you'll play with some agar too! Always fun to try new ingredients. 

Check out the Raw White Chocolate I've been working on. It's yummy. 

Need more light and summery dessert ideas? 
Try out the recipes in my Raw Party Parfait eBook!

This recipe is part of Wellness Weekend and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


Karenluvslife said...

Another delicious treat. :) I love that it is low in sugar. We're not eating grains so I might try doing the base with ground dehydrated buckwheat or just use almonds.

Karenluvslife said...

I love that this is low in sugar and not so nutty! We are trying to avoid grains so I might try it with ground dehydrated buckwheat or just do it all almonds. The chocolate looks amazing, can't wait to see you you did that one and got it so white. :)

Debbie young said...

Heathy! I love all the fun things you are makning, that chocy pudding is calling to me! You look gorgeous as always, hope one day you come see us again!
auntie deb xoxoxox

Heather Pace said...

Yeah that would work Karen. Just might have to try it myself with the buckwheat.

Thanks Aunty Deb! Love you! Yes I need to visit again xo

Anna said...

Thanks for the great idea! I'm also trying to use less nuts in my baking now.

I'm experimenting with sprouted buckwheat in my baking. Haven't gotten the balance right yet, but it seems like making breads, crackers and raw puddings with it is easy peasy! Yesterday I made liquorice and carob balls using it. And today is the time for yet another bread experiment!

A blog called Spunky Coconut had a cake recipe with whipped coconut milk in it yesterday. Yet another idea to try!

Greetings from Finland,

Gabby @ the veggie nook said...

Oh I love how pretty this is! Ihave agar flakes, so maybe I will try those...because this looks to good not to make!

Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit said...

Very cool, Heather! I have agar in my pantry from when I was trying to make marshmallows. They were a major fail.. but this wouldn't be! Love the idea of using buckwheat, too!

Heather Pace said...

Gabby, not sure how it will be with agar flakes but try it and let me know :)

Heather Pace said...

Leanne, thats a cool idea the make marshmallows. The thought crossed my mind but not sure how I'd do it.

Michaela {au naturel design} said...

This looks amazing! A must-try. I have never used agar before...I might be experimenting. Thanks!

Nicole said...

I love playing with agar! It is a magical ingredient. I actually prefer flakes to powder, because I find it easier when figuring out the proper ratio. I'm super excited to try this dessert. It looks incredible!

Heather Pace said...

Nicole - good to know, maybe I should try the flakes. I miss your blog!

pureglow*16 said...

yumm heather it all looks so good especially the chocolate ;) it looks so nice and white!!!
im making your oat crunch cereal today!!!

Heather Pace said...

Oh yay girl, I hope you enjoy the cereal. I really like it!

nükhet kuzuoğlu said...

why to use chia seeds in summertime coconut berry dessert?

purelylori said...

looks incredible as always. your desserts are always so perfect looking :) Michelle and I never really used agar before, we might just have to try it out.

Sarina @ Earthgiven said...

Never used agar but this recipe looks so lovely I think I'll try it!

shannonmarie said...

I've used agar agar before. I definitely need to try this dessert. Love the white chocolate <3

Anonymous said...

Oh yum. Will you share the white chocolate recipe?