Anyway, Renee is a professional runner with one of the biggest races of her life coming up. I know she's trying extra hard to eat well, get enough sleep, recover, etc. etc. So, instead of making her a more refined, sugary treat, I decided to make her a birthday torte that would match her goals for nutrition and performance.
This was my first time making a recipe like this. While it's pretty darn good, I think it could use some more texture for the next round. But, as I mentioned, my primary goal with this torte was to make something that nourishes the body and mind. Success!
To begin, I wanted to use ingredients that contain some other nutrients. What I mean by that are foods that contain vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. So, although the energy (calories) in this treat might be similar to a cupcake bought at the store, the other "stuff" inside will give additional benefits to the body. And when you are trying to make every food count, there isn't room for junk. Here are some of the ingredients I used and why I think they rock in this torte:
- Cashews: full of healthy fats and protein, along with copper, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. Also blend up really smooth, leading to a creamy finished product.
- Pomegranate: In season right now! Contain many antioxidants (polyphenols and flavonoids) and produce a festive red color.
- Local honey: made in Central Oregon. It's also best to buy local if you can. Honey is sugar. So any recipe that claims to be "sugar free" and uses dates, maple syrup, honey, agave, fruit puree, etc. contains sugar. Don't be fooled.
- Dates: Instead of just using brown sugar in the crust I used dates because they are more sticky, holding the crust together. And dates, since they are not processed still contain some fiber.
- Cacao: I used cacao powder in the crust to make it chocolate-y. Cacao is essentially cocoa (chocolate), but raw. Cacao (and chocolate for that matter) contains antioxidants, mainly flavonoids and healthy fats.
- Almonds: Healthy fats, vitamin E, and some of the B-complex vitamins. I used these in the crust, but any other nut would work. I think hazelnuts would be really tasty in this recipe.
Scoop into a pie plate or springform pan (or a single serving baking dish in my case), and pack down. I used my fingers to make sure it was well packed into the bottom of the pan.
Next, to make the filling I blended the soaked cashews, coconut milk, and honey until smooth.
I poured about 2/3 of the mixture into the pan and smoothed it around.
To solidify I put the torte in the freezer for a couple hours until it was firm. Then in the fridge until I was ready to serve it. Before serving, I topped the torte with pomegranate seeds.
Happy Birthday Renee!
Pomegranate Torte with Cacao-Almond Crust
Keywords: raw dessert nuts Birthday cake winter
- 2.5 cups almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts (or a mix)
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 10 pitted dates
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 2.5 cups cashews, soaked overnight
- 1.5 cups coconut milk (more or less for desired texture)
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1T lemon juice
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
Soak the cashews in water overnight so they are soft and easy to blend. If short on time, you can soak them in hot water for a couple hours.For the Crust
Blended nuts of choice: almonds, hazelnuts, and/or walnuts (or a mix) on high speed until they are crumbly. Add dates, cacao, and vanilla extract, coconut oil and blend until well combined. Once the mixture resembles a thick, wet texture it's done. Scoop into a pie plate or springform pan and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to pack down.For the Filling
Blend soaked cashews, coconut milk, honey, and lemon juice until smooth. Adjust to taste and desired consistency. Pour 2/3 of the filling into the pie pan. Add pomegranate (reserve about 1/4 c for garnish) to remaining filling and blend until well combined. You should have a pink/red colored filling. Pour the pomegranate filling on top of the pie and use a knife to swirl. Freeze for a couple hours to solidify and then store in the fridge until serving.
To serve, top with remaining pomegranate seeds. Yum!
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