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Vegan for the Holidays


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For a dessert that's sprightly enough for celebrating the holidays, yet sufficiently versatile to serve throughout the chilly winter season, this treat is unequaled in its zesty flavor and eye-appealing molded form.

Not a cake, pie, or torte, this pudding-like dessert stands alone as a proud little island, rich with pleasing aroma, spiciness, moistness, sweetness, visual appeal, and delectable fruity flavor. Prepare it ahead along with the special Treasure Sauce and serve it during the holiday season when sugar and spice are such an integral part of festive gatherings.

Spiced Treasure Island is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.


SPICED TREASURE ISLAND

4 cups (1 liter) regular soymilk
1 cup (240 ml) evaporated cane juice
1 tablespoon organic canola oil

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (240 ml) barley flakes (pressed barley)
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded
3/4 cup (180 ml) black raisins
3/4 cup (180 ml) golden raisins
1/4 cup (60 ml) pine nuts

1/2 cup (120 ml) whole almonds, toasted

  1. Line a deep 5-cup (1.25 liters) mold with clear plastic wrap, leaving plenty of excess to drape over the sides. Set aside.
  2. Combine the soymilk, evaporated cane juice, canola oil, cardamom, cloves, and salt in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Watch closely so the mixture doesn't boil-over.
  3. Immediately add the barley flakes, carrot, raisins, and pine nuts. Return the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cover and steam for 40 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture becomes thick and pudding-like. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon into the prepared mold, packing it firmly. Allow to cool, uncovered. Then, drape the plastic wrap over the pudding and refrigerate it for 8 to 12 hours, until thoroughly chilled.
  5. To serve, unmold onto an attractive serving platter and poke the toasted almonds part-way into the pudding so they stand up like porcupine quills. Serve with Treasure Sauce on the side, if desired. Serves 6.

Treasure Sauce (optional)

2 cups (480 ml) regular soymilk (See note)
1/4 cup (60 ml) evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash salt

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

  1. Combine the soymilk, evaporated cane juice, vanilla extract, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Watch carefully so the mixture doesn't boil over.
  2. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small cup or bowl and stir to make a thin paste. Add to the bubbling soymilk, stirring continuously with a wire whip for about 1 minute, until thickened.

NOTE: Rich soymilk is recommended for this recipe. It contains about 3.5 to 4 grams of fat, and will make the sauce creamy and luxurious.Though the sauce is optional, it does add a touch of elegance and eye appeal when serving the dessert.



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