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Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 14

raw vegan baklava

Here is the recap for Day 14 of Advanced Raw Cuisine! We are well into the desserts and pastries, and also working toward our finished advanced cheese plates!

The first task of the day was to put our fermented nut cheeses into the dehydrator to develop a nice rind if we wanted to. Yes, please! That is one of my favorite things to do with raw cheeses! It just seems to give them so much more texture and make them more cheese-like. They are a bit more firm and have a nice professional finish on the outside. Into the dehydrator my cheeses went!

We also started soaking some more oats to prepare flour for additional recipes that we will be working on later in the course. 

The next task of the day was to make the baklava filling and syrup, and then to plate it. It was a delicious blend of pistachio, apricot, and spices. The syrup was infused with citrus. The whole dish was quite a treat for me because… I’VE NEVER EATEN BAKLAVA BEFORE IN MY LIFE.

It’s not that I’ve been living under a rock. I’ve just had problems with wheat and gluten for most of my life, so there are a lot of things I never had the chance to try. Anyway, here are some lovely pictures of the assembled raw vegan baklava. 

raw vegan baklava raw vegan baklava raw vegan baklava

Next… CHOCOLATE! Yes, they taught us how to tempter chocolate! By using ingredients which are raw to begin with, the chocolate stays raw because the tempering process does not take it over 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Tempering chocolate is the process of heating and cooling it to specific temperatures in order to leave in tact only those fat crystals which leave the chocolate hard and shiny. This is the process that gives bon bons, filled chocolates, chocolate bars, etc. their familiar “crunch” and glossy appearance. It also keeps chocolate from melting at room temperature!

One of my favorite parts of this exercise was playing with my new infrared thermometer! I have always wanted an excuse to play with one of these. It’s so much easier than using a candy thermometer because there is nothing to clip on or clean up afterward. Just point and shoot occasionally. It’s also great for making sure your water temperature is perfect for tea. 😉

Check out my bon bons below. The first photo is the initial coating of the Polycarbonate Candy Mold (the text links to the actual mold I purchased) and the second photo shows a green tea and honey filling that I made for them. After setting up in the fridge to harden the filling, I added a final layer of chocolate on the top (which would actually become the bottom of the candy) and let them set in the fridge for about an hour. 

raw vegan chocolate raw vegan chocolate

Finished bon bon photos coming on day 15! 😉

If you’d like to learn more about raw food and chocolate, Matthew Kenney has a great book about it, aptly called, “Raw Chocolate“.

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 12

Pastry week continues in Advanced Raw Cuisine! Today, we worked on prep recipes for a number of items that will be completed in the next few days of the curriculum.

We started the day with some almond flour for a linzer cookie dough, checked on our bread from yesterday, and started another fermented nut cheese that will become a mozzarella for a caprese salad. I can’t wait to try it! I formed it into rustic looking rounds in preparation for the final plating before putting it into the dehydrator. 

raw vegan mozzarella cheeseraw vegan mozzarella cheeseraw vegan mozzarella cheese

The first “finished” recipe for today was a jam that will go into our linzer cookies. We were given a base recipe and allowed to pick any fruit, preferably a berry, that we wanted. My local grocery store had raspberries on sale, and I hadn’t had them in so long because they are rather expensive, so I picked some up and made the wonderful raw jam that you see in the photo below: 

raw vegan raspberry jam

 

The next task was to make the dough for the linzer cookies. I’ve never had a traditional baked linzer cookie because of my gluten intolerance and allergies. This was a really fun project that allowed me to have something similar, which was much healthier. I used a traditional linzer cookie cutter to give them an authentic look, and it worked like a charm with the dough recipe that we were taught to make. Aren’t they professional looking? I was thrilled with the way they came out. 

raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies

Once the linzer cookies were rolled out and cut, they went into the dehydrator and it was time to work on the next project, which was to start on a phyllo dough for baklava! This was also something I never had the opportunity to try, so it was a very exciting recipe for me to work on. It’s not airy and flaky like a traditional phyllo dough, but it does hold up well to stacking and it has a wonderful flavor. I thought it was a wonderful raw translation of a phyllo dough for the purpose of stacking ingredients in layers. 

raw vegan phyllo dough raw vegan phyllo dough raw vegan phyllo dough

That’s if for day 12! Looking forward to tomorrow’s projects where we will start preparing some sauces and crackers for our cheese plates!