This weekend we went to visit my parents, and my mother gave us an enormous and wonderful array of fruit she’d dried to take home. We’ve got gallon size bags of raisins, bananas, cantaloupe, and pineapple, all of which are dried to just chewy, not firm/shelf-stable and will stay fresh indefinitely in the fridge.
I’m known to be a little bit kooky when it comes to finishing things; I’ll often ask Ace to slow down on eating something special so that we don’t run out too fast, and it’s been on more than one occasion that perishables have gone bad because I didn’t want them to be gone and so, didn’t finish them. It is in this frame of mind that I told Ace after we last were gifted dried cantaloupe to not go through it so quickly, only these days I am a wee bit forgetful… so I didn’t realize there was still a bag of dried cantaloupe left in until we brought home everything from our trip last night and I reorganized the fridge’s dried fruit area. Having no idea what to do with it, since now we have a lot more and there is only so much dried cantaloupe that people can eat, I decided this afternoon to reconstitute it and make it into a pudding. Thankfully, my experiment turned out quite nicely! You could follow this same process for any other mild-flavored dried fruit that you have an excess of.
Dried Cantaloupe Pudding:
3 cups sliced dried cantaloupe
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup soaking water
12 frozen raspberries
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbls lecithin powder
zest of 1/4 lemon
3/4 tsp lemon extract
a few drops of stevia, if needed
Soak dried melon in warm water for about half an hour until soft, then drain (reserve 1/4 cup soaking water). Add all ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until creamy and smooth. The raspberries were purely for color, as without them the pudding is rather beige; they help it obtain a more yellow tone. You could also add turmeric, which I didn’t because I have a new VitaMix pitcher and don’t want to discolor it.
Chessie was sitting in the fruit bowl while the melon soaked, and found it quite intriguing.
My cherry obsession continues, only now they are FINALLY briefly in season, so currently I’m getting my fill of actual live cherries, not frozen or dried ones. Though not a “pie person” per say, I greatly enjoy raw apple pie, where you partially dehydrate sliced apples then reconstitute them so they acquire a slightly smooshy baked quality. I decided to carry that technique over to fresh cherries and strawberries, and layer it with a raw food staple: cacao avocado mousse. If you have some time of your hands, this is the perfect summer recipe to try! I made the chocolate mousse/pudding a couple days ago (and we’ve been enjoying plenty of it on its own), dried the fruit yesterday, and made the crust/assembled the whole thing today. Having done it in parts, the actual crust-making and full pie assembly took less than a half hour.
Note that the cacao mousse recipe is for a full multi-serving yield… because really, if you are gonna dirty your blender, you might as well have a couple days worth of pudding to show for it! Also, you can make it without adding any fruit- I thought it’d be great for the chocolate layer to have notes of cherry.
Raw Vegan Fresh Cherry Berry Chocolate Cream Pie
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
5 dried figs
pinch Himalayan salt
Soak dates and figs in warm water for ten minutes. Pulse pecans in food processor, then add remaining ingredients and process until a sticky crumb is formed. Press into a pie tin and set aside.
Any other raw pie crust recipe could be subbed for this one, or any other nuts/fruit you prefer.
Cherry Berry Filling:
2 cups strawberries, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
4 cups cherries, pitted
1/4 cup coconut nectar
Place cherries and strawberries onto a dehydrator tray (fruit should nearly fill one tray) and dry at 108 degrees for about eight hours. Refrigerate until ready to use. To prep for pie, reconstitute by covering them in warm water for about ten minutes. Drain and squeeze gently, then mix in coconut nectar.
Cacao Avocado Mousse:
3 extra large avocados or 4-5 medium ones
1 heaping cup cherries, pitted
3/4 cup coconut nectar, buckwheat honey, or agave OR 2/3 cup water and 2 droppers liquid stevia
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
Blend in VitaMix or other high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Place a thin layer of cacao mousse along the bottom of the crust. Drain any excess liquid from fruit, and pour in. Add about two cups of cacao mousse on top, until fruit barely peeps through- more can be added if desired.
I used a pint of raspberries, and about 1/4 cup of cacao nibs for a topping. You can decorate any way you choose; I placed the raspberries around the edge, and made a sort of flower out of them by taking several berries and flattening them, then laying each around one main berry. I then put a small mint leaf in the center of the whole raspberry.