I didn’t know about this Vegan Iron Chef challenge until very recently, too late to submit anything for the first challenge (apples and ginger). With the huge amounts of VeganMoFo posts in my Google Reader, it must have gotten lost in there. And I’m cutting it very very close with this challenge deadline anyway, as I just read about the secret ingredients this afternoon: pears and nuts. Lucky for me, I had some pears lying around the house.
I’ve got two inspirations for this recipe. The first, obviously, being the roasted pear dessert I made for the La Dolce Vegan challenge last week, which had me dreaming about a date-sweetened, masala-spiced raw sauce for fresh fruit or desserts. The second came from the beautiful submission at the Tofu Queen blog of a raw pear tartlet with an almond crust. Since I’d already had the idea of making a raw (or at least mostly raw) sauce, seeing that photo made me think of what kind of raw base I could use for the purposes of the post, since looking at a bowl of pear and nut sauce isn’t very exciting.
I’ve been on a carob kick lately. I know a lot of people hate it, but you can pretend it’s chocolate when you look at the pictures if you want, coz I made me a rich and delicious raw carob brownie (walnuts, dates, carob, vanilla, and water is all that’s in it, then topped with pecans). The sauce was so nice on top of this (albeit rather nut-heavy and fattening, but you know, YUMMY), although I can definitely see it on top of non-raw desserts or bread, or with fresh fruit and dare I say it, even on top of fresh pear slices (I did it and it was good)! Here is a closeup shot of the brownie, slathered in the Masala Almond Pear Cream:
Raw Masala Almond Pear Cream (makes about 2 cups):
1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked and drained
2 pears, cored and chopped (peeled too if you can’t handle it)
5 dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4-1 cup (or more) water
Place the almonds in a food processor or blender and process into a powder. Add the pears, dates, masala, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of the water, and blend for several minutes until smooth, adding additional water until desired consistency is reached.
If you’re more awesome than me and have a Vita-Mix, you could probably get an ultra smooth cream out of this. I just used our mediocre food processor and it worked fine, it’s just has a few small pieces of date and almond in it. Still, so delicious! I could eat it like a pudding, even. This is some versatile yum.