What I’m about to say might sound a bit weird, especially coming for someone in her mid-twenties who lives relatively close to the sea, but, I do not like going to the beach. I don’t like walking on sand and lying down in a beach towel with the sun hitting my back. I’m also not a fan of swimming (nor I do know how to swim well), particularly when the sea is packed with people (and, this time of the year, it is most of the time). Having said that, summer isn’t the season I’ve been anxiously waiting for the whole year.
But, even thought warm weather (particularly when it’s above the 30 degrees) and salty water aren’t my cup of tea, I do love summer’s produce. Watermelon and peaches are amongst my favourite fruits and I seem not to get enough of them these days. Early in the week, I went to the market and those good looking peaches definitely caught my eye. I was probably too enthusiastic about them, having bought way more than I could realistically eat before they start to over ripe. Not wanting to turn on the oven to bake a peach tart (my original plan), a raw pudding was in order.
Now, everyone who’s into whole foods have probably already used chia seeds to make puddings – it’s quick, almost effortless, and fits into the healthy-guilt-free-dessert category. I kind of regret having arrived late at the chia pudding party, because I definitely didn’t expect this treat to taste so good. It’s the perfect summer dessert – light, fresh and fruity. Did I say it’s also ridiculously easy to make? All you have to do is to peel and cut a couple of peaches and mix them in a food processor with chia seeds and dates. Pulse a few minutes, refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours – so that the chia start doing their magic (aka absorbing the moisture and thickening things up) – and that’s about it. Next time around I’ll be using apricots instead of peaches, and maybe trying out a different version with frozen watermelon, for an even fresher and almost sorbet-like dessert. Wish you guys a great weekend! (:
Summer Peach Pudding
3 large peaches or nectarines / 700 grams, peeled, cored, and cubed
2 medjol dates, finely chopped
55 g / 1/3 cup chia seeds
1 vanilla bean, open lengthwise and seeds scraped (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blend for a few moments or until smooth. Have a taste and, if it’s not as sweet as you’d like, add a few more medjol dates and blend again. Transfer the pudding to small bowls or jars, refrigerate for 2 hours, and serve. Garnish with extra chopped peaches if you like.
Avocado is one of those fruits I always keep handy. I used to use it strictly for making guacamole, but then I started incorporating it into salads and, more recently, smoothies and desserts. Fruit desserts and salads are something I’m particular fond of, and today’s recipe was born out of the need to use a great part of the huge bag of kiwi fruit my aunt gave us (she grew and picked it herself). Don’t be skeptical about the use of avocado in here: its primary function is to give creaminess, and you’ll barely feel its taste. On the other hand, if you’re planning on doing this, it’s key to use ripe kiwi fruit, otherwise it’ll taste bitter and give you this weird feeling in the mouth (at least that’s what happens to me when I eat it underripe). Also, and I know this comes with a bit of a delay, but I wish you all a great 2012, full of exciting projects and recipes (I made this list where I wrote down recipes I want to have on my repertoire, and Socca is the first in line, so I guess this is a hint of what might come up next in here).
*Another reason to convince you to try out the avocado-kiwi fruit combo: Jennifer and Jaclyn’s version of a similar pudding.
Avocado and Kiwifruit Pudding with Lime
for the pudding:
2 avocados (I used one large and one medium sized), (320 g)
7 kiwis (310 g)
½ banana (50 g)
¼ cup (60 ml) agave nectar
zest of two limes
juice of one lime
a few banana slices
2 to 3 kiwis, cut into cubes
fresh mint leaves
1. Put all the ingredients for the pudding in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
2. Divide the pudding among four small bowls and add a few banana and kiwi fruit slices on top, as well as some mint leaves. Serve and enjoy!
I do think that, in terms of palate, there are two kinds of people: the sweet and the savory ones. I’m definitely part of the second category. Since I was a kid, I never got particularly excited about desserts and sweets in general; everytime I’d crave something, that would be some sort of savory food. I also think that this “tendency” (or whatever it is named) for savory goods really defined my way of cooking: I do feel more comfortable cooking grains, salads, legumes and soups, rather than baking or making puddings or anything sweet. The techniques for cooking savory or sweet goods are also different and, in my case, the fact that desserts (specially baked ones) call for a lot of measuring in order to achieve the desired result, goes a bit against my intuitive and spontaneous way of approaching cooking.
But anyway, if there’s someone who really has a natural tendency for sweet stuff, that person is certainly my mother. At first, she was a bit reluctant about this dessert, as it calls for avocado on it (an ingredient that she doesn’t appreciate that much), but after the first taste, there was no way back for her: the rich flavour of the carob as well as the slight hint of orange, rapidly converted her sweet tooth. The pudding was inspired by the recipe for Carob Pudding from the gorgeous Lucid Food, by Louisa Shafia, and my take on it goes with the inclusion of the orange zest and juice, as well as the crunch topping (that is also based on a crunch topping recipe of that very same book, although in the book it’s served over a different dessert) , that contrasts well with the creaminess of the pudding. Serve it cold, in small ramekins, and bare in mind that the taste of the carob is quite distinct from that of the chocolate, but by no means less rich and intense.
2 ripe avocados
6 tablespoons carob powder
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
for the crunch topping:
1/2 cup roalled oats
1/2 cup almonds
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.
1. In a blender or food processor, puree the ingredients for the pudding until smooth. Pour into 4 small ramekins and chill in the refrigerator while you make the topping.
3. Combine all the ingredients for the topping in a bowl. Spread evenly on a baking dish, lined with parchment paper, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring ocasionally to prevent from burning, or until the topping is dry and golden brown.
4. To serve, scatter 1 tablespoon of the crunch topping over each serving of pudding. The topping can be kept, stored in the refrigerator and in an airtight container, for up to one week. Served over yoghurt or added to a bowl with cold milk, makes an excellent breakfast.
Adapted from Lucid Food, By Louisa Shafia, published by Ten Speed Press