Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Cuckoo for Coconuts

Not only do coconuts remind me of my most favourite place in the world (Hawai'i), but they are very versatile.  Think of its many forms: young fresh coconut, mature fresh coconut, coconut oil, light and premium coconut milk, coconut cream, shredded and flaked coconut.... the list goes on!  Now consider the many ways to USE coconut: in dairy-free ice cream; in curries and some stews; as a replacement for cow's milk and butter in many recipes; in making sweetened condensed coconut milk and coconut whipped cream (thanks Detoxinista for all the wonderful ideas); and making delicious Tropical Oat Bars .  So today's post is a tribute to the mighty coconut, as a further reminder of just how much fun coconut can be for a person with dairy allergies.

My coworker introduced me to Detoxinista's site not long after I was first diagnosed with all my allergies.  She told me that the site was filled with recipes that even my homeopath would approve of and she was so right.  Especially to appease my sweet tooth, her recipes have never steered me wrong.  Above is my results when I made her Easy Coconut Macaroons.  As the name implies it really was easy.  The only prep work required is the time-consuming yet still easy Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk.  Knowing what I know now it's easy for me to make random batches as well because I just combine the three ingredients until I get the desired consistency and flavour.  HIGHLY recommend.

I've also recently purchased the app from Hippie Lane, an Australian based company run by a fantastic group of people who cater toward certain intolerances.  Their goodies, *SWEETS*, are mostly raw and it started me off on trying some raw vegan desserts.  Even though I made some heavy alterations to the recipes to make it friendly to my diet, it's great inspiration!  Below is my adaption of their Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake.  It's dense and delicious, rich and with a fresh cherry flavour!

Cherry Choco Layer Cake
Adapted from the Hippie Lane App

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup carob (or less of cocoa) powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 medjool dates, pitted
Pinch of salt

Filling (make sure all ingredients are room temp or ever so slightly warm for them to combine properly):
1 1/2 cups fresh young coconut flesh (sold in my grocer's freezer section so it must thaw first before use)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, barely warm
5 tbsp full fat/premium coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup carob powder 
1 cup cherries (if frozen, needs to be fully thawed and at room temp)
Up to 2 extra tbsp of full fat/premium coconut milk

'Chocolate Glaze'
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp carob powder
1 tbsp maple syrup

For the crust, in a food processor, process the pumpkin seeds until they're in small pieces, but not powdery. Turn off the processor and pile in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until sticky. It won't gather together but you should be able to press it firmly into an 8" round cake pan. Place in freezer while you make the filling.

For the filling, process the coconut flesh, syrup, oil and 5 tbsp milk, extract and salt together until smooth and creamy. Take 1/2 of the mixture and in a bowl, add the carob powder, once mixed spread it onto the base and place in the freezer while you make the cherry filling. 

Use the other 1/2 of the mixture, place in a blender or back in the food processor with the cherries and the extra coconut milk. Blend until mostly combined and smooth, though there will probably be bits of cherry left. Spread on top of your choco layer and place in freezer again. Freeze for 3-4 hrs.

For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave at a power level 2-3 (out of 10) for about a minute until the coconut oil is just barely melted. Drizzle over the finished cake and place back in the freezer for 10 minutes. To serve, heat a large knife under very warm or hot water. Keep doing it with every slice for clean cuts and enjoy!

There's always more recipes out there with coconut, so if you can eat it, enjoy it and the many wonderful things that you can do with it! 

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