"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
It was my birthday yesterday. Yes, thank you all for the good wishes. Decided it was time to try the holy grail of raw dessert cookbooks, Matthew Rogers and Tiziana Alipo Tamborra’s Sweet Gratitude, A New World of Raw Desserts. Figured a special day called for a special dessert and my husband and I chose to make the Strawberry Shortcake.
Due to some timing issues with making the treat (raw foods can be challenging) – soaking the almonds, making the almond milk (blending and straining), mashing the date paste, melting the coconut oil and soaking cashews, etc – and it being a work day, we decided to do a halved and somewhat simplified recipe, using the basic methodology for creating the treat.
I must admit that I’m not a big one for following recipes. That is, I like to fiddle my way though and assess the flavorings, etc. When it came to conventional baking, I knew that the combination of leavening and flavorings had a rhythm and chemistry that experimentation didn’t always favor. Raw desserts please me as they offer me more play which I’ve enjoyed over the past years of making them.
I followed the directions here, figuring I’d do the recipe fairly closely to what was in the book. It was a partial success. That is, the cakey texture of the layer is quite soft and lovely and has the feel of a moist cake – nice. The creamy icing, had we done it with more coconut oil, would have had a nice stiff feel. Even as a sauce, it was still rich and creamy.
BUT. It was all too sweet and too rich. Each section had at least a 1/2 cup of coconut oil, not to mention all the nuts as well. The amount of date paste rendered the dish too sweet to eat for me and the cashew cream icing really needed (in my opinion) to be cut more with lemon juice – even just a bit of juice and rind.
I love many of the raw food blogs and recipes that I’ve found over the past 2 years including, Rawmazing, The Sunny Raw Kitchen and Sweetly Raw and Ani Phyo. I’m grateful to these writers and others for sharing their ideas, their lives and their recipes. They’ve helped me in my adjustment to a grain and sugar free diet as well as consider my relationship to sweets.
But I’m not looking to replace what I’ve worked hard on resolving, my need for sweet. We all eat to much sugar. 24oz of date paste and 1/2 cup of agave in a recipe, along with sweet strawberries is just too much sweet. For anyone. Desserts are a wonderful thing but they can be enjoyed more modestly and ultimately, more healthfully. And lets not forget affordable as well. I make rich, creamy, nut-based cheesecakes. They are calorie dense but not excessively so. And they are satisfying and tasty to all who eat them.
Do you like faux foods that make you feel better about what you’ve given up or not? Curious to hear your thoughts about this.