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This past week marked the official start of Summer, which happens to be my favorite time of year. I'm trying to soak up as much sun as I can and embrace everything that makes summer so special- the long days, beautiful weather, and of course the bounty of seasonal produce available at the markets. These days it is possible to find just about any fruit or vegetable any time of the year. That said, there is one fruit that I dreamed about all spring and simply cannot be found until it is in season: The fig. As soon as I saw fresh figs at the farmers market I brought them home and started experimenting in the kitchen.
In my mind, figs have an elevated status compared with other fruits. The limited availability and short shelf life give them an ephemeral quality I find alluring. They are delicate yet earthy and their distinct flavor enhances any dish they are added to.
Aside from being delicious, figs have an impressive nutritional profile. They are a great source of fiber and calcium and contain immune boosting antioxidants. They also are a way to sweeten your dish without adding processed and refined sugars.
With all this in mind, I give you my first offering on this site:
Raw Vanilla Avocado Tart + Coconut Whipped Cream + Figs
If you've never made a dessert with avocado, this may sound crazy to you. But take my word for it. Avocado when sweetened makes an amazing dessert. I've made Avocado chocolate mousse plenty of times, but for this I decided rather than mask the avocado flavor to let it shine through. I added vanilla bean and maca root powder to give it a hint of butterscotch flavor. Plus maca is known for helping to balance hormones, increase energy, and even stimulate libido. To top it all off I like to add a not-so-raw coconut whipped cream. If you've never used coconut milk to make whipped cream you will be blown away at how easy it is. It also tastes remarkably like dairy whipped cream but from a plant source rather than from animal fat. Give it a shot and you may never go back.
Raw Avocado Tart:
1/2 cup raw walnuts
4 moist dates chopped
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp maca powder
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tbsp raw honey
2 figs, sliced
To make the tart shells pulse walnuts, dates, and sea salt in food processor until slightly sticky. You can make this as smooth or chunky as you like. I like to just pulse a little so that the tart shell has some crunchy texture to contrast with the creamy avocado mousse. If the mixture is too dry, add water one teaspoon at a time until it becomes somewhat sticky like dough. Divide the crust into four parts and use a spoon (or your fingers) to form mini crusts in a muffin tin. Place the tin in the refrigerator and rinse out the food processor.
Combine avocado, maca, honey, and vanilla bean scrapings in the food processor. Pulse until smooth and completely uniform. Using a spoon, gently pry your tart shells out of the muffin tin. Don't worry too much about keeping them perfect. They should be a little sticky so if they break you can stick them back together. Top the crusts with the avocado mousse and sliced figs. Add coconut whipped cream and a drizzle of honey and enjoy!
Coconut Whipped Cream (not raw):
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tsp raw honey (optional)
Refrigerate can of coconut milk overnight. It is important that you use full fat coconut milk or this will not work. Open the can and scoop the solidified coconut cream out and into a mixing bowl. There will be a more watery layer of coconut milk at the bottom of the can. You can save this to use in smoothies, but you will not need it for the whipped cream. Use a hand mixer to whip the coconut cream until it is the texture of dairy whipped cream. If you like your whipped cream sweetened, feel free to add some honey or another sweetener before mixing. Easy, right?