While eating at a raw vegan restaurant on a road trip a few weeks ago, I indulged in dehydrated blueberry pancakes topped with a generous dollop of cashew cream. This rich, slightly sweet topping was so decadent and satisfying, it was hard to believe it contained no saturated fat or dairy products. I mentally took note of the flavors and mouth feel and tried my hand at it when I got home. After a few tries, I got it just right and thought to combine other favorite, seasonal flavors such as fresh figs (mmm... can't get enough of these when they're in the market for their short window!), toasted coconut and of course, a smidgen of dark chocolate.
I love figs, but if you prefer a different fruit, this preparation works nicely with plums, peaches or even pears — any sweet, slightly soft fruit marries nicely with the subtle cashew cream and toasted coconut shreds. This dessert works well any time of day, in fact it's a lovely, healthful alternative to cookies with with afternoon tea. I even squished a little bit of leftovers onto a piece of toast for a sublime morning tartine.
Fresh Figs with Cashew Cream serves 6-8 1 1/2 cups raw, unsalted cashews scant one cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup agave syrup 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil 10 fresh figs, cut in half 1/3 cup unsweetened, large coconut shreds, lightly toasted 1 tablespoon shaved dark chocolate (for garnish) Cover cashews in water and soak for 6 hours or overnight. When ready to make dessert, strain the soaked cashews. In a blender place cashews, scant one cup water, vanilla, salt, agave and coconut oil into the vessel. Blend for about 2 minutes at high speed, until completely smooth. Taste and add more sweetness or salt, if desired. Set aside. Meanwhile, slice figs and toast coconut shreds in a medium, un–greased pan for about 4 minutes, until coconut is slightly brown and fragrant. Shave a chocolate bar or cut chocolate into very small pieces to garnish dish. When serving, spread cashew cream onto base of a pretty platter, arrange fruit on top of cashew cream and finish with toasted coconut and chocolate. Serve chilled or room temperature.
• Related: Sweet, Easy and Raw Recipe: Avocado Cacao Mousse (Images: Leela Cyd Ross)