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I was invited to a pot luck lunch at a friends place on the weekend, and I love a get together that revolves around food! My biggest problem when asked to events like these is what on earth to make – So many choices!
Sadly not everyone shares my passion for raw desserts, and my last suggestion that I would bring a raw lemon tart was met with less enthusiasm than I’d hoped. (It seems the term ‘raw dessert’ is automatically associated with something that mustn’t be very tasty, when in fact so many raw desserts are incredibly delicious, so much so that even my husband, the constructively critical foodie, prefers them over a regular dessert!)
It meant this time I had to put a spin on it that would entice the crowd – so I dropped the ‘raw’ and brought a simple apple tart – the twist being it was vegan and free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar! That means no butter, no eggs, and no white sugar – 3 ingredients you would normally think essential for the base of any tart – until now.
It’s safe to say this was a crowd pleaser – even if I did over-process the nuts which made the base a bit too soft – but just means next time it will be even better with more of a crunch!
What’s nutritionally good about this?
– Apples – contain: polyphenols, including quercetin, which are effective antioxidants and benefit many body systems, namly the cardiovascular and respiratory systems; pectin – a source of soluble fibre that helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels; and apples are one of the few foods containing malic acid known for its effectiveness of reducing muscular pain. It is important to note that most of the nutrients in apples are contained in the peels – so always eat them with their skin!
– Cashews – contain: various minerals including potassium, phosphoros, magnesium; amino acids leucine, glycine, arginine; essential fatty acid linoleic acid; and are a good source of protein, containing about 20% by weight.
– Macadamias – contain: various minerals including potassium, selenium, zinc; vitamins B1, B2 and B3; and are high (22% by weight in fact) in monounsaturated fatty acid omega-7 palmitoleic acid which has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity.
1 cup cashews
1 cup macadamias
10 dates – soaked in water and drained
2 tbs EV coconut oil, melted
Himalayan salt- generous ‘pinch’
10 green apples, sliced finely with the peel left on
2 tbs EV coconut oil
2 tbs pure dark maple syrup, or sweetener of choice*
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Coconut sugar, desiccated coconut and mint for decoration
*Please do not use maple ‘flavoured’ syrup which is loaded with refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup – spend a little extra and get the real stuff which contains antioxidants, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese, and has a lower GI rating – it’s well worth it!
For the filling, melt the coconut oil together with maple syrup and spices in a medium pot. Add to this 2/3 of the sliced apples, stir, and allow to cook until the apples soften on low to medium heat.
While you wait for the apples to soften place all ingredients for the base into a food processor and process until nuts are broken down and ingredients well combined. Note: do not over process as you may end up with a nut butter like consistency – you want the base to stick together and still have some crunch to it.
Press this into the base of a flan tin with a removable base, or into a regular pie or slice tin lined with baking paper for ease of removal later. Refrigerate.
When the apples have cooked to soft add the remaining 1/3 of apples and stir through off the heat. The reason for doing this is to keep some of the fresh crispness of the uncooked apple in the final product. They will still soften a little from the heat of the cooked apples.
When the apple mixture has cooled layer over the base, pressing down to ensure it’s well compacted.
Sprinkle the top with coconut sugar, the edge with desiccated coconut, and place a sprig of mint in the middle.
Refrigerate until ready to serve, and enjoy!