Picture yourself in a field outside a forest on a mid-summer’s warm afternoon. Work is far away and not important right now. You’ve just had a game with your dog or little one, or you’ve been frolicking in amongst the tall grass. The sun warms your face and you feel energised. The games and frolicking lead you to beautiful flowers, that you pick, and fruits, that you taste, and insects, that you marvel at. You feel light and free, and run and leap with abandon. Sigh.
This is the feeling you get as you bite into this spectacular raw, vegan and gluten free: avocado, mango and lime mousse tart. It’s light and summery, creamy and silky, zesty and fresh, and vegan, gluten-free and raw — so you can eat with abandon! You won’t believe it is raw, even after making it yourself. Just look at that beautiful colour, will ya— lovely shades of green that keep changing with the sun!
Mid-summer signals the end of the mango season and the beginning of the avocado season, and is the perfect time to make this tart. Your food processor, knife and pie/tart pans are all the equipment you’ll need. The ingredients are simple, and the method not at all laborious (when compared to making a pastry dough), instead easy as pie. When you make up your mind to make a raw dessert, let this avocado, mango and lime mousse tart be your first. Also, it makes for a great dessert that you can show off when if you’re entertaining.
Raw food is not new — it’s been around for ages in every culture. We’ve just forgotten how to, I guess. Think of all the food you can eat raw — there are fruits and vegetables, even egg (yes!), milk, certain oils, sugars and syrups, and more. Now, imagine if you could combine a bit of this and that — no, stop before you picture a salad — and end up with a great looking and tasting dessert. It is possible. And unlike baking, making a raw dessert gives so much room to experiment and add a little of this and a little of that. You can rescue a raw dessert easily.
I stumbled into the world of raw desserts with this book: Raw Cake by Daisy Kristiansen and Leah Garwood-Gowers. It’s a treasure trove of information on beautiful and nutritious treats, along with their recipes. You may not find all the ingredients in your larder, but the beauty of these raw desserts is that you can modify them according to what you do have. My recipe for the raw, vegan and gluten free: avocado, mango and lime mousse tart is inspired by the one in their book. As I didn’t have all of the ingredients they listed out, I turned to a few others instead. I kept combining and tasting them as I went along and ended up with a beautiful crust.
- 1 cup (140 g) hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup (70 g) pistachios
- 1/2 cup (70 g) sliced blanched almonds (or almonds soaked overnight and de-skinned and sliced)
- 1 cup 125 g soft pitted dates (or soaked for 30 minutes until soft)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or the seeds from half a pod)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups (368 g) avocado pulp (from 1 large or 3 small avocados)
- 1 and 1/4 cups (312 g) mango pulp (from 1 large or 2 medium mangoes)
- 1/2 cup (170 g) any natural sweetener in a syrup form like coconut or maple syrup, or honey or barley or rice malt syrup
- 1/2 cup (110 g) coconut oil (between 2/3s and the full 1/2 cup will do just fine)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- A pinch of salt
For the crust, place the nuts and in a processor and pulse for a few seconds at a time until you get a coarse mixture.
To this, add the soft dates, vanilla and salt, and once more, pulse for a few seconds at a time till you see it all sticking together and the mixture is evenly combined.
Press the mixture into your pie/tart mould(s) and let it rest in the fridge while you make your mousse.
You’ll need to use your food processor again, so clean out those bits of the crust. Add to the food processor the mango pulp and avocado pulp and blend until smooth.
Then, add the lime juice and zest and salt, and the coconut oil and maple syrup and blend further until it is all smooth.
Put this smooth filling into the mould(s) over the crust(s) and place it in the fridge for 3 hours, till it sets.
Serving: Enjoy it cold or coldish or at room temperature — just like you’d enjoy any fruit. You could serve it with some lime zest sprinkled on top, or rose petals, or chopped pistachios, if you wish.
Equipment: Food processor and pie/tart dishes (one 20-cm or 8-inch pan will do). Storage: It stays fresh for 4-5 days in the fridge.