Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops
The most amazing generosity happens at this time of year in the Valley. Orchards and veggie patches kindly offer their wares in brown paper bags, handed over with the care and reverence homegrown produce deserves, accompanied by a simple ‘thought you’d like these’ or ‘our peach tree’s having a good year’. Sometimes it’s just a smile as the package gets put down and conversation continues on easily because both parties are fully aware of the exchange – equal parts kindness and gratitude. I can’t tell you how much I love this unspoken, old school, country practise.
In the last fortnight we have had gifts of homegrown cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and asian greens (thanks Pete and Beck), just picked figs (thanks Ilona), peaches and plums from gnarly old trees that know exactly what flavour is (thanks Janelle and Paul) and the most beautiful little bean flowers (thanks Jenny). Any gardener knows the preciousness of bearing witness to food being created in amongst leaves and tendrils, which is probably the reason that any gardener also completely understands the joy in sharing it. It’s far from just a bag of peaches that gets placed in your hands.
So, this is the state of mind I was in when I received a handpicked bounty of lovely dark plums the other day and the shrine of plum appreciation began its construction. That’s my romantic take on ‘these-raw-plum-and-raisin-choctops-take-a-while-to-make’. Not as long as the tree took to create them though. The deal’s still well in our favour here.
Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops
makes 4 – 6
1 cup organic raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours
1 fresh organic drinking coconut
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
1 tablespoon organic raw maca powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons organic coconut nectar
1 vanilla bean, stripped
8-10 organic dark red plums
1/2 cup organic raisins
batch of raw chocolate, for dipping
paddlepops sticks or similar for ‘handles’
bee pollen ‘sprinkles’
Start this ice cream the day before by dehydrating the plums until semi dried to really intensify the flavour. You can soak the cashews the day before too if that helps the flow of things.
To make the ice cream, crack open the young coconut and scoop out the flesh being carefully not to bring any husky bits with you. Put into a food processor or Vitamix, along with the coconut oil, maca, 1 tbsp coconut nectar and vanilla seeds. Blitz until really smooth. Drink the coconut water while you wait.
Once the mixture is thick and creamy, stir in the raisins and put aside in a jug ready to pour into the moulds or cups that you have chosen to set the ice creams in.
To make the raw plum ripple, simply blitz the semi dry plums, cinnamon, cloves and remaining coconut nectar in the processor until smooth.
Have your sticks and ice cream moulds ready. I used vine cuttings because I didn’t have paddlepop sticks and I think I’ll do this every time now because they looked pretty cute. Just make sure if you head into nature for your sticks that they haven’t been sprayed.
To assemble the ice creams, fill about 1/6 of the mould with the raisin/coconut ice cream mix, then add a dollop of plum jam, and continue layering like this until the mould is full. Push your ice cream stick into the mix and stir it around no more than twice before positioning it in the middle of the mould. Repeat with all moulds until full and place into the freezer to set.
When the ice cream is really solid, you’re ready to dip into the raw chocolate. Remove the ice creams from the moulds by setting the moulds into hot water for a few seconds and then slide the ice creams out by gently pulling on the sticks. Set the ice creams on a piece of baking paper back into the freezer to harden again while you make the raw chocolate.
While the chocolate is still runny, dip each ice cream into it to coat and sprinkle bee pollen over the chocolate as you turn the ice cream round in your fingers. Place back into the freezer to harden once the chocolate has lost its shine and you know it has set.
You will probably need to take these out of the freezer for 5 minutes before you want to eat them as they are solid ice cream. But so creamy. And good for you. Done and done.