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
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.
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
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?