Strawberry Chocolate Torte – a Summer Treat!

It’s summer! – at least for us on the Southern half of this planet 🙂

That means an abundance of local, fresh, ripe fruit, especially berries! What better to do than to whip up a yummy chocolate torte with it?! Make sure you use organic or spray-free berries though, as the ‘conventionally’ grown ones can hold a lot of pesticides.

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Torte

Should you happen to not dwell on the strawberry side of the globe this torte is easily made with orange slices, bananas or even pears. For a more decadent crust feel free to replace the shredded coconut with macadamia nuts and make sure to sprinkle some bits over the top! B.T.W. the torte below was made in a spring form.

Orange Chocolate Torte

This recipe was introduced to me by my dear friend Matt Samuelson in 2004 and has been a staple in my dessert repertoire ever since.

And here we go!

Strawberry Chocolate Torte
Serves 8

For the crust:

  • 1.5c shredded coconut
  • 1.5c cashews
  • 4-6 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

For the filling:

  • 3 avocados, peeled, pit removed
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 5T organic cocoa powder, raw if you prefer
  • 1/2c Rapadura, raw cane sugar
  • a few drops lemon or lime juice
  • 1 punnet (500g) fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • To make the crust, in a food processor grind the shredded coconut into a fine powder. Add the cashews and cayenne pepper. Continue processing to a coarse meal.
  • Add the pitted dates and homogenize until the texture resembles a graham cracker crust. Mixture should be loose and crumbly, yet hold together when pressed tightly.
  • Press the crust into a 9 inch ungreased pie plate. Press firmly to get the crust to hold together. Place it in the freezer or refrigerator to set up while making the filling.
  • To make the filling: place the avocados, vanilla, cocoa and Rapadura in a food processor with the “S” blade and homogenize until completely smooth. Make sure to add a little splash of lemon or lime juice! It will nicely balance the flavours in your chocolate. (Just don’t tell anyone! ;-))
  • To assemble: Divide the filling into 3 equal parts. Spread a thin layer of filling on top of the crust. Next, place a layer of strawberries on the filling. Spread another layer of chocolate filling on top of the strawberries, and then layer more strawberries, another layer of filling and the remainder of the berries.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

Be sure to use a very sharp knife, yes VERY sharp!, when cutting this torte. The strawberries have a tendency to slide all over the place when cut with a dull knife.

Strawberry Chocolate Torte

Enjoy!

René
🙂

Raw Chocolate Bar Recipe – Finally!

After filling my Facebook page and ‘Timeline’ with tempting pictures of raw chocolate bars I received so many orders that I will have to move to a more empowering strategy. How about you make these beauties yourself and send me a sample?! 😉

Yumberry Chocolate Bear

“Give a man a chocolate bear and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach him…”

Although the recipe listed below has been working well for me over the months you might encounter problems when adding nut flours or fruit powders to your liquid chocolate mix. Sometimes the cacao butter separates when cooling down (especially when adding liquids). To avoid this from happening you can melt just 50% of it and shave the rest with a grater. That will keep the temperature of the whole mix down. That also means your chocolate will solidify quicker. I tried it today. Worked like a Charm! Also the surface of the finished bars seems to be much smoother.

Freeze dried Passionfruit chocolate bars

Be aware that when making raw chocolate you will leave the field of approximates and enter the Sacred Realm of Alchemy. So tread carefully and record your recipe trials and precise amounts!

And here we go with:

Raw Chocolate Bars

Makes enough chocolate to brighten a hairy day
(36 ice cube tray bars and 1-2 teddy bears)

  • 1 lb (454g) raw organic  cacao butter
  • 2 c cacao powder
  • 1.5 c cane sugar/xylitol, ground into a powder
  • 1 t + vanilla powder
  • 1-2 drops lime juice (Not more!)
  • 1-2 drops tamari sauce
  • ¼ c raw cacao nibs, optional
  • 1 t freeze dried fruit powder, optional
  1. Melt the cacao butter carefully in a bowl over hot water. Be careful not to overheat it. Stir continuously! That will yield about 2.25c of liquid.
  2. Transfer to a blender jar and add the remaining ingredients. Mix at high speed till everything is emulsified into a homogenous mixture.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into chocolate molds or small plastic wrapped tartlet shells. You can drizzle some fruit powder into the mold before pouring the liquid chocolate. Silicone ice cube trays are best.
    Silicone ice cube trays
  4. Drop the cacao nibs into the liquid chocolate. They will float. You can stir them in if you wish.
    Chocolate Buttons
  5. Chill. The quicker the chocolate solidifies the better.
  6. Serve on cold dishes or paper as the chocolate melts easily.

Tip: Variations can be made with different essential oils and essences. Use your imagination! Citrus oils work well, Geranium goes, and even Basil rocks!

Great New Zealand made freeze dried fruit powders and whole fruit here: Fresh As!

Yumberry and Cacao nib bars

Enjoy and Happy Birthday!
René
🙂

PS: While we are on it… To further your raw chocolatier education please do yourself a favour and visit my dear friend Amy Levin’s website www.ooosha.co.uk! She is the ‘Master of Raw Chocolate’ and has a bunch of her best recipes listed on that website. Make sure you try the Textured Mocha Truffles!

Raw Food Survival Class – The Art of Raw Chocolate

…with samples, of course!

Raw Chocolate Buttons

Believe it! We are announcing a raw chocolate class.

This will be the ultimate in making delectable desserts, snacks, cakes and presents using raw cacao in all its various guises – right on time for Easter.

Mark this date in your calendar:

Wednesday, March 28th, 7 – 9.30pm,
Wise Cicada Cafe, 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

You will learn:

  • How to make a variety of simple, yet stunning chocolate cakes, cookies, drinks and desserts.
  • How to make delicious shakes, using raw cacao and other superfoods.
  • How to entertain friends and family with your own sweet chocolate treats, pralines and chocolate bars.
  • Which flavours enhance or combine well with chocolate.
  • What ratios are required for a rounded flavour and also consistency.
  • What secret ingredients will make any of your creations a hit with your audience.

As always, a complete recipe booklet and samples are included.

Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets

Your investment: $60.-/person

Space is limited to 20 people. Book yours today by ringing René on 0275551622 or contacting us here.

Oh, upon frequent request at our previous classes we will actually have some of the presented sweets for sale after the class. Bring your piggy bank!

See you there!

René

🙂

Chocolate Cheesecake

Super Hero Bliss Balls – Superfoods kicking butt

These ones were the hit at the Prana New Year Festival 2012 ‘Chocolate Bar’ at the Barn. Having arrived here you might have been looking around on the web for a decent Bliss Ball recipe that didn’t just sport some nuts and dates rolled into a ball. I’ve been in your position and couldn’t find any either that deserved the ‘Bliss’ with the Balls.

So here is a proven recipe that has some serious ‘Bliss Potential’. They are a great treat, last a while in the fridge and can be altered to have a different dusting (try Mesquite or Lucuma), the goji berries replaced with Acai, etc. Just make a few batches of this recipe and then start playing. I would love to hear from you. And while you are on it, please take a few pictures, as I haven’t any good ones of these yet 🙂

Super Hero Bliss Balls with Müsli Slice

Super Heroes as supporting act to Müsli slices

Super Hero Bliss Balls

A lunchbox treat for Super Heroes!

Makes a few

  • 2c dried shredded coconut
  • 2c Cashews, dry, ground into flour
  • 2T Chia seeds
  • 1/2c Goji berries, soaked
  • 1/3 c date paste (dates blended into a paste with just enough water)
  • 1T Maca powder
  • 3T raw cacao powder
  • ½ t Vanilla extract
  • 2T raw cacao nibs
  •  1-2 T raw cacao powder for dusting
  1. Combine the coconut, cashew flour, chia seeds, maca powder, 3 T of raw cacao powder and the cacao nibs in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a food processor pulse the goji berries then add to the date paste. Now add the moist ingredients, incl. Vanilla extract, to the dry mix in the bowl. With your hands mix everything well.
  3. With a 1 T measuring spoon scoop even amounts of bliss ball mix into your hand and roll into evenly round balls.
  4. Dust each ball individually by loosely rolling it in raw cacao powder in a separate bowl. Let it gently roll around in your hand to apply the cacao powder firmly to it and to shake off any excess powder.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour then place on a platter and serve – or hide in the Super Hero’s lunch box.

Enjoy, and try keeping up with the demand!

Rene

🙂

Prana, Raw Cheese Cakes and a word on Raw Food Blenders

Yep, the Prana New Year 2012 Festival is over. It was stunning! Despite the rain we had a Blast supplying the ‘One World Café’ with raw desserts. Jack and René arrived well ahead of the crowds and went straight to work making raw granola, our vegan chocolate müsli slice, chocolate walnuts, and raw cheese cakes. Jack truly refined the art of crust making during the festival. In the end we counted a total of 18 raw cheese cakes made and sold. By the time the festival started we had 16 in the freezer waiting to be served and just topped it up with two more in the end. The selection of flavours we had were: lemon, lemon vanilla, lime vanilla, goji apricot, chocolate peppermint, chocolate chai, spicy chai, passionfruit vanilla, goji chocolate, maple chocolate and layered as well as swirled combinations of the above.

Antioxidant powerLydia joined us a day later and put her loving energy into our Super Hero Bliss Balls as well as tied up all the loose ends around our raw food operation in the back kitchen as well as lovingly tending the front dessert counter.

We had an AMAZING crew volunteeOne World Caféring in the kitchen and helping us occasionally. The groovy music in our part of the kitchen seemed to help a bit 😉

raw chocolate

from top clockwise: peppermint choc, ginger cashew, goji cashew, plain choc and cashew, pure choc orange

Once the festival was under way we also supplied the nightly chocolate bar with a selection of our raw chocolate buttons in various flavours. Jack became great at making a vibrant-looking strawberry chocolate torte (which was a mission to cut :-)) and we also sent out the occasional Orgasmic Blueberry Pie.

Avocado Chocolate at its BEST!Overall we had a splendid time in the kitchen and at the festival. Having prepared so much in advance we had enough time to attend a few concerts and music happenings when the rain stopped 🙂 Jack was out networking and jamming with great enthusiasm. Lydia and I enjoyed ourselves at Caitlin and Sika‘s concerts, laughter yoga and a late night drumming circle in the large tipi – which was out of this world!!!

Yes, the Raw Food Blenders!

We had three different models in our prep zone: Jack’s late model Vitamix, Maya’s LexSun (replaced by OmniBlend brand nowadays – see below) and our trusted BlendTec Total Blender.

The LexSun full of cheese cake fillingThey all performed extremely well. Yet making raw cheese cakes in series production really showed the different models’ strengths. Guess, which one tolerated the most ‘abuse’/hard work?! Maya it was your darling LexSun blender! After the VitaMix and BlendTec had both requested a holiday in the freezer to reset their over heat fuse the LexSun completed the job without complaint. Very impressive!

The strategy René followed in the end to make the raw cheese cake filling was to blend the whole batch in the LexSun – somewhere between 1.2-1.5 liter of thick cashew mix. After everything had mixed well and the cashews were kind of finely broken down I split the batch and finished it in two parts in the BlendTec – which definitely achieved the smoothest texture – 750ml as optimum fill level.

Lively Swirls

The cool thing about this strategy was that it allowed for colourful swirly cakes with different flavours combined in one crust. The most popular one was the spicy chai and chocolate one.

These days the LexSun is replaced in New Zealand by the identical OmniBlend machines at a more reasonable price. Make sure you get the new jar with it – which is a larger copy of the BlendTec jar. Perfect combination! This on here.

For a generous 15% off the listed prices on the OmniBlend website with free shipping in NZ apply this discount code: RAFS2014

Oh, did I mention that we will be teaching a Raw Cheese Cake class?

See you there!

René

🙂

Chocolate Haystacks – a quick and easy crowd pleaser for the holidays

This recipe was inspired by our dear friend Elaina Love of Pure Joy Planet.

It’s one of those things you make once and then just keep doing until they become so familiar that you don’t even require the recipe. After a while you replace the thread coconut with soaked, dehydrated and coarsely ground pecans, add some cocoa nibs and cinnamon to the mixture… you know how it goes 😉

At the Wise Cicada Café we produce them in big batches on over-sized baking trays, pressed firmly, chilled…

Chocolate haystacks/-sticks before cutting…and then cut into 128 individual pieces. Our guests just love them with their coffee or tea. What you see here is only half a tray (cutting board too small :-))

the final result: chocolate "biscotti"And here we go:

Chocolate Haystacks

Makes about 30 piece

  • 3 c or 250g thread coconut (or soaked, dehydrated and then coarsely ground pecan nuts)
  • ¾ c organic virgin coconut oil, liquefied
  • ½ c organic cocoa powder (Equagold is offering great stuff too – non-organic though)
  • ¾ c Rapadura® dehydrated cane juice or organic raw sugar
    or ½ c agave nectar/maple syrup (the latter goes well with pecans!)
  • Zest from 1 organic orange or a few drops of high-quality organic essential citrus oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ¼ t lemon juice
  • 2 T Cocoa nibs, optional
  • 1/2 t organic cinnamon, ground, optional
Method
  1. If you are using organic raw sugar or Rapadura, blend it in a dry blender jar into a powder.
  2. In a bowl whisk all the ingredients except the thread coconut together until the batter emulsifies.
  3. Now, with a spatula or your hand, mix the batter in with the shredded coconut.
  4. With a teaspoon and the fingers of your other hand shape into small haystacks and place on a tray.
  5. Place the tray in the refrigerator or freezer to cool down and solidify the haystacks. They will become soft at temperatures over 26°C so serve them cold!

a true crowd pleaserVoila! Enjoy and happy holidays!

Lydia and I will be in the Cocomandel – ah Coromandel 🙂 catering the raw dessert side of the Prana Festival. We might see you there!

René

🙂

 

Prana New Year Festival 2012 – see you over New Year on the Coromandel!

Yes, take your darling and the kids and join us at the Prana New Year Festival 2012 from December 30th, 2011 to January 3rd, 2012!

Just go to: http://prana.co.nz and check it out!

We will be part of the residential kitchen crew at “The Barn” and René will be the chef in charge of the daily dessert selection and raw chocolate creations. Should you have missed us at the 2006 Fresh Festival in the UK – here is your chance to enjoy some seriously yummy raw festival desserts right near you (if you live in NZ).

Divine dessertsTo top it all off you camp in one of New Zealand’s most scenic areas, have some top notch artists and entertainers perform and an amazing beach just steps away. Only a few weeks ago we happened to be on the Coromandel and stopped by to say ‘Hello!’ to Maya and Dan at Prana. We were blown away by the setting of the festival land – an old-grown coastal pine forest right behind the most serene beach. Heaven!

All right, at the festival we will share that beach with about 1500 other attendants – trusting they won’t show up all at the same time when we go swimming 😉

Here is a little teaser from Cathedral Cove, further North on the Peninsula.

Cathredal Cove BeachSo we are looking forward to seeing you at Prana over New Year!

René
🙂

Psst! René’s cakes and desserts are available for sale at the Wise Cicada Café in Newmarket too.

Raw Snack Recipe – Chocolate Walnuts

With our “Dry it, you will like it!” class coming up here a little teaser and one of my favourite raw snack recipes. Should you prefer pecans over walnuts use them! For a different twist try sunflower seeds. They have a lighter yet nutty base flavour and dry in handy clusters. See the yummy picture below!

Raw snack - chocolate walnutsChocolate Walnuts

Makes 1+ dehydrator tray

  • 3 c soaked walnut halves
  • 4 T date paste
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 6 T organic whole fat cocoa powder, raw if you choose
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 3 drops butterscotch flavour or maple essence
  • pinch natural sea salt
  • ¼ t lime juice (I always add a few drops of citrus juice to chocolate – as it balances the flavours nicely)
Method
  1. Mix everything thoroughly in a big bowl.
  2. Spread on Teflex sheet.
  3. Dehydrate at 105F for 12 hours. Turn over and remove Teflex sheet. Dehydrate for another 12 hours or until crisp. Turn trays by 90° periodically.
  4. Store in sealed glass jars (what’s leftover from snacking during dehydrating :-))

Enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Sunnies

René