I think I definitely have ‘looked over the edge of my plate’ and discovered new places, ingredients and even met so many lovely people through this blog. Online and offline.
I love challenging myself and that was exactly what I set out to do. A year on, I seem to get more adventurous and try things I wouldn’t have tried a year ago. Avocado-chocolate mousse?? Really? It’s actually really yummy and so much better for you than the real deal. (And don’t worry, there is still chocolate it in!).
Our friends SJ & Pete invited us to their house last weekend for a non-Christmas in July dinner party. I offered to bring a dessert and got the brief something lactose free would be great. I’m doing the IQS-8Week-Program at the moment, so I’m cutting out most processed sugars. And I also wanted a showstopper of a dessert for my Blogiversary. I googled and looked through cookbooks and finally came across this one. Choc-Caramel-Chunk and Peanut Butter Cheesecake. Sounds divine but is actually lactose-free, processed sugar free and you have to admit, it looks amazing, right? I didn’t want to tell everyone that this was actually a ‘healthy’ dessert, so I just served it to them. Obviously it doesn’t taste like a sugar-laden chocolate caramel ice-cream cake but has a subtle nuttiness to it. After everybody had tried it and liked it, I told them. And no one guessed there was avo in it!
It’s not the cheapest of all cakes, but it serves 12-14 people and for a cheaper version, substitute the pecans with walnuts.
Choc-Caramel-Chunk and Peanut Butter ‘Cheesecake’
4 1/2 cups pecans
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
100g butter, chopped
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
2/3 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1 cup peanuts or macadamia nuts, or both, roughly chopped
3 cups raw unsalted cashews
1 1/4 cups coconut cream
2 large or 3 small avocados
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated stevia
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups natural, sugar-free and salt-free crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter (I couldn’t get mine to work with coconut oil)
1 1/2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
small pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon coconut cream
Line the bottom of a 23-cm spring-form tin with baking paper then start by making the crust. Pulse the pecans in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture has a moist, crumbly consistency. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly around the base and 5cm up the sides. Place in fridge or freezer to set.
To make the caramel sauce, melt the butter with the syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium so the mixture keeps bubbling – do not stir or the caramel will split. Cook for a further few minutes until the caramel has turned golden and appears gooey when dripping off the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and add the coconut cream, stirring gently. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
To make the praline, preheat the grill to high and line a baking tray with baking paper. Warm the rice malt syrup gently in a pot on the stove or in the microwave. Mix the syrup with the nuts and transfer to the prepared tray. Grill for five minutes or until most of the water has evaporated and the syrup has turned golden and crystallised around the nuts. Remove from the grill and cool, then smash the praline into small pieces. Reserve 1/2 cup for the topping, and keep the rest for the ice-cream filling.
To make the ice-cream filling, pulse the cashews with 1/3 cup of the coconut cream in a food processor until the mixture is fairly smooth and buttery. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Again using the food processor, pulse the avocados with the remaining coconut cream, cacao, salt and stevia until smooth. Add to the cashew mixture, then add the cinnamon, peanut butter, cacao nibs and praline. Stir well to combine.
Spoon about half of the ice-cream mixture over the crust in the spring-form tin and spread right to the edges of the crust. Free for about 5-10 minutes, then drizzle over half the caramel sauce. Freeze for another 5-10 minutes, then add the remaining ice-cream mixture. Freeze for 5-10 minutes, then add the remaining caramel sauce and freeze the assembled cake for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Now, a word of warning, it took me three attempts to get the chocolate sauce right. I have never had so much trouble with anything like I did with this sauce (and I cook a lot!). The mixture kept clogging up after I had added the cacao and seemed to split, so that I ended up with a big lump of rice malt syrup/ cacao mixture and the coconut oil on the side. The rice malt syrup/ cacao mixture is very tasty, but just didn’t have the right consistency to drizzle over the cake at the end. I tried switching pots, I let it cool more, I stirred it slower. NOTHING WORKED! L suggested I use butter instead of coconut oil. And for a moment it looked like it would split again, but it didn’t! It was the perfect consistency!
To make the chocolate sauce, melt together over low heat the coconut oil or butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk through the cacao powder and salt until thoroughly combined, with no lumps. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then whisk through coconut cream until smooth. (This sauce will thicken as it cools and can be reheated to make it runnier.)
To serve, remove the cake from the freezer and the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Arrange the reserved praline around the edge of the plate and drizzle over the chocolate sauce. Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar For Life’.