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RAW Desserts


localherbavore
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I almost forgot, the owner cringed when I suggested bringing in an ice cream maker- she reminded me that frozen foods hurt digestion.... we never spoke of it again. I wish I was making this sh*t up.

Oh.My.God. Frozen foods hurt digestion. Please. I wish you were making that sh*t up too, but

I live in a town full of "raw people". I've heard it all. I think it's just another trend that will go away in a few years. I hope.

And you are truly living my "job from hell". I'd rather work as a lunch lady than a job like that. Good luck with it. Yeesh.

Edited to add: looking over those raw recipes, one can only think of the money you have to spend for all those nuts and specialty products (raw cocoa powder=$20 a lb)

Edited by chefpeon (log)
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Oranges with Rosemary Honey, from Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe cookbook. Even though the honey is heated slightly with the rosemary, this recipe might come under the wire. It is my understanding that it is possible to heat foods up to a certain temp, and they are still considered "raw." Not sure what that temp is, but the number 165 degrees F. sticks in my head.

http://www.melissas.com/Recipes/Recipes/Desserts/Oranges-with-Rosemary-Honey.aspx

Another dessert from the same cookbook that might help you out, Dates Stuffed with Mascarpone. I know, I know, no cheese. Find something else to stuff the dates (a nut butter?), place on a bed of sliced oranges, and sprinkle with Orange Flower Water. Or is orange flower water out because it has been distilled?

http://www.riverdogfarm.com/newsletters/12.05.07nl.pdf

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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One of the guys at work has some ultratex 3 http://www.le-sanctuaire.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=ls&Product_Code=4MUltratex3&Category_Code=Thickeners I haven't tried it myself but it thickens without heating.

I've got a feeling that a lot of these products have probably been heated somewhere in their production to make them what they are. Also they probably don't fit in with the 'spirit' of the raw food movement - but I could be wrong.

You're probably right.

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It is my understanding that it is possible to heat foods up to a certain temp, and they are still considered "raw." Not sure what that temp is, but the number 165 degrees F. sticks in my head...

That number is 115 degrees.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/04/17/FD211598.DTL

This topic has been thought-provoking for me. Raw vegan is basically Adam & Eve food, raw fruits and veggies. Animal proteins are out, but so are most (all?) grains like wheat and rice, which require cooking to be palatable. So the question in my mind is, if people have chosen this very restricted diet, why are we trying to present something closer to the normal idea of dessert? Their choices point to a platter of raw fruits for dessert, so why not give them that? Is that what they basically want and/or expect?

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Is that what they basically want and/or expect?

Nope. Not as a general rule. Not in a restaurant/catering situation anyway. Most people with dietary restrictions, even if they're restricted by choice, expect to eat similar to what the people sitting next to them are eating... but adjusted to fit within their boundaries. They expect all of the creativity, flair and flavor that everybody else gets. I was only mildly joking when I said that serving a fruit and vegetable tray was a surefire way to make sure you didn't have to cook for that person/group again.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Tri2Cook, thanks for the response to my last post. I've never been a chef, only a home cook, so I expect people to be reasonable.

Is there cooking involved in turning cassava root into tapioca starch and is it then entirely enzyme or chemical modified or is cooking involved in that process?

Cassava root is a source of natural cyanide, so it must be cooked (heat destroys the compound). Or to put it another way, serving raw cassava root is a surefire way to make sure you don't have to cook for that person/group again. :laugh:

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This topic has been thought-provoking for me. Raw vegan is basically Adam & Eve food, raw fruits and veggies. Animal proteins are out, but so are most (all?) grains like wheat and rice, which require cooking to be palatable. So the question in my mind is, if people have chosen this very restricted diet, why are we trying to present something closer to the normal idea of dessert? Their choices point to a platter of raw fruits for dessert, so why not give them that? Is that what they basically want and/or expect?

This is my thinking exactly. You made your choice so here it is. Tri2cook has a point in that even Raw Vegans want their food as interesting and exciting as people with "normal" diets. But it's like they want to have their cake and eat it too. I think the only venues that can make money by catering to Raw Vegans are venues that specialize in it. I don't think venues that cater to the common carnivore should be expected to come up with vegan options, although some are. It depends on if it's cost effective and worth the effort. I mean, I wouldn't go to Taco Bell and order a Filet-o-Fish sandwich.........

I live in a town that has a high percentage of these raw vegan types of people. The bakery I used to work in opened a retail outlet here and I KNEW I would start getting asked about dairy free, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan friendly items, and sure enough I did. But even the amount of requests I got didn't justify me ordering in those expensive ingredients and starting a vegan line of baked, or in the case of raw vegans, unbaked goods. That's not even counting in the extra labor. I told the owners that when they got requests for stuff like that, to refer them to our local food co-op which specializes in all that restrictive diet weirdness. There are a lot of companies out there that are getting their "free" products out there. I even saw gluten free bread at Safeway the other day.

As a pastry chef, I feel like getting asked to do raw vegan desserts is like being asked to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but you have no rabbit. And sometimes, no hat.

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I kind of agree, but also understand where they are coming from. As a vegetarian, I still enjoy things like burgers, takeaway "Chinese" food and so on... so if there are people who can cater to that, good on them! Raw foodies have chosen to eat like they do (most often for health, i think) but if they can get a dessert that's different to the usual fruit they eat, I imagine it could be very exciting for them, a nice treat.

I enjoy the challenge of trying to come up with tasty food for people with eating restrictions, but agree that when there is an EXPECTATION (perhaps like in this case) it seems a little demanding and unrealistic.

Actually, I just went back and read Tri2Cook's last comment on the previous page and I think he does a better job of saying what i'm trying to say :)

Annie, I like your last quote about the rabbit and hat, haha!

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*edit, saw that others already suggested fruit soups*

Mango soup is common in Hong Kong.

Could go with any number of fruit plates, but carved into shapes.

Mostly agree with chefpeon though - can't expect

it to be as imaginative as the regular menu when

you wipe out 95% of the ingredients and techniques.

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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In case anyone wondered what I ended up doing:

Raw, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Pecan "Cookies"

1C Medjool Dates 1C Pecans, 2T Ground Cinnamon, 1t Fresh Orange Juice, 1 small pinch orange zest

(1) Process pecans and cinnamon in robot coupe until fine

(2) Add OJ and zest while still running

(3) gradually add dates until incorporated (still running rc)

(4) roll into (8) 2 1/2" balls and chill for 1hr in freezer

(5) flatten with the palm of your hand on parchment-lined sheet tray and refridgerate for 1/2hr more.

Sorry, it's what I came up with... I also compromised with the owner and made a gluten-free vegan pumplkin pie and carmel pepita bars.

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Sorry, it's what I came up with... I also compromised with the owner and made a gluten-free vegan pumplkin pie and carmel pepita bars.

Why are you sorry? Thanks for the recipe too! I may not have the greatest attitude about Raw Vegans, but I may need that recipe some day. :wink:

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Sorry, it's what I came up with...

Sounds like a cool solution to a difficult task to me. Raw, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan... dessert. And you didn't polish an apple, toss it to 'em and say "dig in". I'd say you did great.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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In case anyone wondered what I ended up doing:

Raw, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Pecan "Cookies"

1C Medjool Dates 1C Pecans, 2T Ground Cinnamon, 1t Fresh Orange Juice, 1 small pinch orange zest

(1) Process pecans and cinnamon in robot coupe until fine

(2) Add OJ and zest while still running

(3) gradually add dates until incorporated (still running rc)

(4) roll into (8) 2 1/2" balls and chill for 1hr in freezer

(5) flatten with the palm of your hand on parchment-lined sheet tray and refridgerate for 1/2hr more.

Sorry, it's what I came up with... I also compromised with the owner and made a gluten-free vegan pumplkin pie and carmel pepita bars.

:huh: These sound delicious - but, 2 TABLESPOONS of cinnamon? Is this correct?

This reminds me of another dried fruit no-bake cookie that I love: Apricot Snowballs! If you would like that recipe, let me know. :wub:

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  • 1 year later...

It is a challenge if you aren't 'in the raw'. Having been very inspired at one time by the lifestyle - I did a lot with the raw dessert concept for several years. Looking back its all the same ingredients rearranged. The best site to lead to other chefs of past and present(if anyone is still reading this thread in 2011) is Gliving.com under Greenchefs. A lot of it is ammature - but there are plenty of recipes that could be played up if they land in professional hands.

On a compassionate note - raw is at it's essence a 'healing' diet - the gourmet take gets old (been there, done that, craved for more to play with in less concentrations. in that I mean a cup of cashews never goes down well). If you happen to be a classically trained chef of any sort are are asked to work the concept - and aren't in the zone, pass it on to someone who is and offer the owner your expertise on the business end - for which I gaurentee rawbies do not have (costing/sourcing/kitchen management/expediting....etc). There are people out there who need it for a variety of health reasons (physical/emotional...) - and they can be challenging to deal with if you aren't.

I'll leave this post in case anyone needs leads or links for home or commercial use- I'm happy to share and have styled some very tasteful books if you need visual inspiration on the sweeter side of raw.

Edited by chocolatieresse (log)
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Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Ginger Chocolate Mousse (raw)

Makes 4 cakes

For the Base:

1/4 Cup Oat Flour*

1/2 Cup Cashew Flour**

2 TB Cacao Powder

2 TB Maple Syrup

1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

3 TB Water

1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Pinch Salt

1 Small pack of Raspberries for the centre of the cake.

*Oat flour is simply raw oats that have been turned to flour in a coffee grinder or Vita-Mix.

**Cashew flour is made by grinding cashews in a food processor .....

for more... (credit to Russell James)

http://gliving.com/chocolate-raspberry-cake-with-ginger-chocolate-mousse/

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Right now there's a fig "pudding" that is turkish figs processed with bannana, agave and garnished with blackberries, mint, and then lightly sprinkled with cinnamon. YES! dehydrators we have, we make "chips" and "bread" in it all the time, we also make our own almond flour. I almost forgot, the owner cringed when I suggested bringing in an ice cream maker- she reminded me that frozen foods hurt digestion.... we never spoke of it again. I wish I was making this sh*t up.

Your employer is quite clearly mad.

I'd suggest some sort of chilled fruit soup of melon and citrus juice.

Honey is decidedly un-vegan. I'd use agave instead.

You do realize the agave has been very heavily cooked in order to modify the sugars into more palatable forms? It's about as raw as scrambled eggs.

In fact, the same applies to the following ingredients:

1. Cocoa powder. By the time you receive it, cocoa has been ground, chemically separated, recombined, and in general had someone process the bejeezus out of it. You can get cacao nibs at Whole Foods, but even these are roasted.

2. Carob powder. For much the same reasons as the cocoa powder.

3. Vanilla extract. Aside from the obvious presence of alcohol, vanilla must be heated a great deal during processing.

4. Cashews and cashew flour. I'm not a botanist, but if I'm not mistaken, cashews are a member of the urishol family, which includes mangoes and the Rengas tree famous for sap that can melt your face off. Cashews aren't quite as bad, but failure to denature the enzymes will make you really, really ill.

EDIT:

It seems you can buy unprocessed carob and chocolate. Vanilla and cashews are definitely denatured, though.

Edited by jrshaul (log)
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Apologies for double-posting, but I just found out that carrageenan can be used to make a pudding without getting particularly hot. This "raw" recipe seems to contain a fair few non-raw ingredients, but it could no doubt be tweaked to your employers' specifications.

http://gliving.com/cinnamon-marshmallow-mousse-and-an-adelaide-dessert-class-by-greenchef-heather-pace/

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You do realize the agave has been very heavily cooked in order to modify the sugars into more palatable forms? It's about as raw as scrambled eggs.

Maple syrup as well. According to the University of Maine extension, it takes about 10 gallons of sap boiled down to make a quart of syrup. Unless someone has been doing some serious low-temp dehydrating? (Anything's possible!)

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4. Cashews and cashew flour. I'm not a botanist, but if I'm not mistaken, cashews are a member of the urishol family, which includes mangoes and the Rengas tree famous for sap that can melt your face off. Cashews aren't quite as bad, but failure to denature the enzymes will make you really, really ill.

You are correct. Cashews, yes even the "raw" ones, undergo an initial roasting (whilst still in the shell I believe) to denature the irritating resin that is present in the shell. It is of course entirely possible that someone has found a way to denature this resin without heat but your average supermarket cashews will have gone through the usual method. In addition, I might be nervous about trying a truly "raw" cashew, even if it is claimed to be safe to eat.

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I worked somewhere where we did a pineapple carpaccio - basically slice pineapple on a mandolin, marinate it in a sugar water solution (agave syrup if you cant use sugar maybe) with pink peppercorns, then served with a fennel granite. I saw you cant use frozen produce so maybe just top with an interesting tropical fruit salad?

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Agave is a very sketchy product indeed - as is the 'raw' chocolate industry. I've been told in my research that as there are no certified third bodies to regulate - many items are sold 'in the spirit of raw'.

There are a number of raw companies putting out mostly (there's that disclaimer again) transparent integrity projects sharing info from source to production to plate - however - having close colleagues that have visited a main 'raw' agave production facility in Mexico - they weren't convinced (and really, like I give a @#$ - there are very good reasons to heat things up - and agave is similar to maple syrup in that it releases beneficial minerals when cooked - and dark is better than light....like most sweeteners)

On the topic of raw chocolate - here is a *great* link :http://chocolatealchemy.com/the-truth-about-raw-chocolate

There are 3 companies claiming that it can be done (in Grenada, Ecuador, Bali) - and temperature can most certainly be taken down - but the concerns regarding the high levels of pathogens and microorganisms on the shell (and bean when cracked) are quite valid in turn. The Indonesian company claims they have patented technology (though - are currently looking at flash sterilizing) the Ecuadorian claims that grinding at high altitudes maintains low temps....anyways...I digress, but will add>> Anyone who has had artisanal farmers market raw cacao can attest to the shakey high that comes with it - which I've been told is 'theobromine and caffeine' by some, and 'toxic overload playing with your adrenals' by others.

Where I've come to is this. Raw food at its peek is about sourcing the best ingredients and exploring these ingredients at their peek. Making itself an extremist diet is sadly the death of itself and overshadows just this. Desserts are an excellent gate opener to displaying that 'healthy' sweets can (and they can) be quite delicious. Maple syrup is included because it is highly beneficial nutritionally - but I also suspect - higher-end creations needed a palatable lift/alterative - as agave is a bit acrid and does 'burn'- not to mention its level of sweetness seems to alter with age.

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