Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fresh Fruit Vanilla Tart with Chocolate Brownie Crust

It's the weekend and Memorial Day is this upcoming Monday here in the states. I thought a tasty dessert would be in order. Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, this is a dessert worth getting to know. It's a favorite for any special occasion and really just too luscious not to share. Plus it's better to share so you don't eat it all by yourself. It's a raw dessert (shhhh!) I guarantee your non raw or even non health conscious friends and family will definitely appreciate this fresh fruit tart with a dark chocolatey brownie crust.

It's to live for! 

Plus it's just a beautiful dessert anyway you decorate it.

The Chocolate Brownie Crust

raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free


1 1/4 cup medjool dates, soaked about 20 minutes and pitted- soft not soggy
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup cacao or unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt

Process all the ingredients, except vanilla in a food processor until crumbly, scraping down sides as you go to keep it well mixed. Add the vanilla as it's processing. You want the mixture to stick together and hold when pinched between your fingers. Add a little water if necessary until it does. Be careful not to over process. You don't want chocolate almond butter.

When the crust is ready, lightly coat the bottom of a tart pan with a little coconut oil and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides.

By now you probably have noticed I love kitchen gadgets, even in my tiny kitchen. Just like in interior design and construction, the right tool makes for a better job and these are no exception.

When it comes to raw desserts, these are a couple of life savers:  A tart/quiche pan with a removable bottom. (just be careful- these edges are razor sharp!) Any shape is good. I even have little ones for individual tarts. Also this little wooden tart tamper for getting the crust pressed just right (believe me this little tool really saves your fingers.)

Set the crust pan into the freezer to firm up while making the creme.

Vanilla Creme Filling

raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free


1 cup cashews, soaked 1-2 hours and drained
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of vanilla

Blend well until nice and creamy.

Pour into crust and spread around in a nice even layer. Return to freezer until well set.  Maybe an hour or so. When set, lift up the bottom plate carefully from the middle center to free the shell from the mold. There will still be a plate underneath just not around the sides- the beauty of the tart pan makes for easy serving.

Then decorate with fresh berries of your choice. In a pattern or….

… randomly. It looks deliciously inviting either way.

You can decorate right before ready to serve but make sure it has thawed a bit. Or decorate ahead of time. If you do it ahead of time, let it thaw about a half hour or so before serving so berries are not frozen. (the thought of biting into frozen berries just makes my teeth hurt!) Keep in mind that coconut oil turns to liquid at around 75 degrees so it's better served slightly chilled and not left out in the sun.

Keep leftovers, if any, in the freezer.

I hope you try this one. It's pretty easy, always lovely, and better yet always enjoyed.

If in the states, I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend. If you are elsewhere, why not celebrate anyway and make yourself a delicious tart?

Special Note: 

You may have noticed the tags on the photos saying
This will be my last post on Getting RAW. I figured a great dessert was in order as a celebration of what has lead me to this point.

I have begun a new blog, Purely Nourished where the focus will include not only raw foods but also more health conscious cooked vegan plant based recipes. I am making the move away from salt, sugar and oils for health reasons and continuing my health journey by eating even cleaner.  A new start deserves a fresh new start with the blog as well. The health journey and growing continues. I have improved my camera skills with the help of a new camera, my computer skills and would like to think I've improved my knowledge of what it takes to regain health as well.  I hope you will follow me there.

Thanks for all your support!

Follow me at Purely Nourished the blog here, on Facebook here, and on Instagram here.
See you on the other side! ;-)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Getting Raw Kitchen

We didn't start off wanting to have a "raw" kitchen but once we started eating raw it became apparent that it was much easier to ditch the cooking and dish cleaning that comes with cooking and embrace the idea of a raw kitchen. Since we presently are residing in a small studio, space is at a premium so we had to get creative.

Here are some of the ways that we have upgraded our kitchen. Maybe there are some ideas here that could help you organize your kitchen, raw or cooked, as well.

It all started with an original model unit, circa 1972. This was the model. Can't you tell?

Yep! those are orange/ bronze fishnet drapes! Along with shag carpet throughout. Fantastic idea for a kitchen area by the way... not!

A major renovation was needed and we ended up here:

We had the single kitchen unit replaced and redesigned in stainless steel. A fridge/ freezer is under counter with a cooktop above in the top. A small bar sink with trash underneath and a row of drawers and some open shelving and we are a little more up to date. A pantry closet to the right holds a small microwave/ oven but that's it for kitchen space.

This was fine for a vacation condo but when we decided to move in full time, we quickly needed more space.

A quick trip to Ikea followed by a not so quick assembly time and we added a free standing island cabinet and a stainless steel storage cart for more counter and storage space. This helped with more counter top for the water filter system and the food processor and also for storage of bowls and other kitchen necessities. 

But we quickly filled up the little pantry. The spices alone took up a whole shelf.

So we took to the walls. 

A little indent behind the curtain gave me 4 inches, just enough for some shelves to hold the jars of raw staples, nuts, seeds, dried goodies. 

I LOVE this! It's so much better than a deeper shelf in my opinion as I can easily see everything. If necessary to de clutter, I can pull the curtain over it and my little"pantry" disappears.

Making a little board to cover the cooktop provided much more needed counter space. I just pulled off the knobs and drilled a couple of holes in the back of the board so the pegs for the knobs would have a place to go and the board could sit level. We have a BBQ outside (which we have not used in over 2 years now) in case we need to cook, plus an electric wok. Neither get much use but we are not without options.

For the spice rack, I purchased some plain steel straps at Home Depot and screwed them to the wall. The jars are from Ikea and about 4 ounces (but who can tell with Ikea?) I wanted to have room for a whole spice jar without needing back storage. I glued heavy duty magnets to the tops. 

NOTE: This is the one thing that needed modification. The jars had a foil top on plastic so the magnets eventually pulled off ( usually in the middle of the night. ) I have since replaced them with magnetic backed Ikea metal tins with the clear covers. I would prefer glass and this can be done with little Ball jelly jars with the metal lids- as long as they are good and clean before using epoxy to attach magnets.

What else? 

The fruit basket hung from the ceiling helps a lot! Especially with all the produce that comes into the house.

The pantry door painted as a chalk board helps with the question, "What is there to eat?"
We can see it from the sofa or anywhere in the room for that matter. With an under counter fridge it's sometime hard to know what's in there.

Oh Yea! The Aero Garden! 

We were given this Aero Garden Classic 7 pod unit with the herb packet as a sample from a business show and I loved it. So easy to grow things hydroponically from the little seed bundles they sell. It almost worked a little too well for us. 

We could not keep up with the herbs it produced. It was prolific! If we had a little more space, where I could dry and store the herbs or even freeze them, we would still have it. We finally had to give it away. The other draw back for us anyway was that it has it's growing times where the light needs to stay on, which in a studio is a little tough. Plus it was back to back on the counter with our water and it created an algae problem. ;-P

In a bigger place with a dedicated kitchen or place for it, I'd get it again for sure. I especially would love to try growing the lettuce greens.

So that's our little kitchen. I hope you liked the tour and perhaps you have ideas for how to add a little more space to your kitchen?

Bye for now,


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