A Very Vegan Christmas – Vegan Mango Slice
Can you believe it’s only 3 sleeps until Christmas?
I’d scraped through and bought all my gifts with a few days to spare, my tree looked amazing, and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then I remembered I promised you all another Christmas blog special. Well, I thought to myself….crap.
You may remember that I’ve posted in the past about sweet Christmas treats, starting a couple of years ago featuring how to make Choc-Rum Truffles, and again continuing the trend last year with a recipe for gorgeous Christmas Fruit Mince Pies. I wanted to continue the tradition, creating a yummy dessert to share with your friends and family around the table this Christmas day.
Cutting out the meat, meat and more meat on Christmas day was a little bit of a challenge last year, but luckily the desserts remained deliciously unchanged. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t really miss meat at all (although I did have a moment today when someone’s BBQ smells wafted over the backyard). If you’ve read last week’s post on Vegan Nut Roast, you would know that this year I have set myself the challenge of constructing a delicious vegan Christmas feast. Now I would have to find something dairy, egg, and honey free in an effort to make an entirely vegan friendly dessert – easy, right!?
So I searched and googled and pondered and turned the page of many a cookbook, and came up with nothing that I found remotely interesting/easy enough for me to do on short notice. I was a little stressed. I wanted to give all you lovely people enough time before Christmas to go out, buy the ingredients, and have a chance to make this recipe at your leisure. You know…because…of course, you’re going to make it. Because it’s amazing. Every recipe I post is, so why wouldn’t you want to?
Ryan came to the rescue in the nick of time, reminding me of a great dessert that he’d made once or twice a couple of years ago. I remembered how delicious it was, and from what he’d said, easy peasy to make. He even emailed me the original recipe (which, of course, I tweaked a bit!) – perfect!
This recipe is incredibly easy, and the tart sweetness of the lemons, along with the mango and dates come together in a way that is so ridiculously refreshing – perfect on these 30°+ days. I prepared it throughout the day, as it needs time for each layer to sit in the freezer. Each step takes only a few minutes tops, and you can pop in and out of the kitchen as you please, fitting it around meditating, colour-by-numbers, or whatever your relaxing, pre-Christmas calm-filled days are allowing you to do (I’ll try not to gloat too much). It’s almost a little bit, dare I say, cheesecake-like? Without, you know. Cheese.
Let’s get to it shall we?
Vegan Mango Slice
For the crust:
1/2 cup of fresh dates, pitted
2 cups raw unsalted macadamia nuts
For the middle:
3 cups raw unsalted cashews
3 lemons, peeled
1 cup maple syrup (or agave nectar, or date honey (bee’s honey can be used for non-vegans)
1 tsp vanilla essence
For the top:
500g frozen mango
Put the cashews in a bowl of water to soak for at least an hour. De-pit the dates (super easy, just slice them up the middle and pull out the pit). Process the dates and macadamia nuts in a food processor until it forms a fine, crumbly and sticky mixture. Pat down evenly into the base of a pie or slice dish. Place into the freezer until the cashew nuts have finished soaking.
When the cashews are ready, drain them and blend them together with the maple syrup (or other), vanilla essence and peeled lemons until a thick purée is formed. This part of the slice has a real lemon tartness so if you prefer less tang, use less lemons (though don’t be too afraid when you taste it if it’s really sour, it goes really well when eaten alongside the other layers).
Spread the cashew mixture over the crumbly base in the pie dish, and pop it back in the freezer to set. Now, if you’re using honey it will set a lot more quickly than maple syrup. I had mine in for a good couple of hours and it was pretty well done, not too sloppy but not frozen solid.
Once the cashew mixture has set, take the mango out of the freezer to thaw slightly. Puree the mango in a processor, and spread evenly over the top. Place back in the freezer for an hour or so, until the top layer has set.
And you’re good to go! When I took it out of the freezer to slice and serve it started to melt super quickly because of the heat and because it wasn’t frozen all the way through – this is really personal preference. If you want it to be more ‘cheesecake’ style, then by all means allow it to thaw a bit. If, however, you’re like me and your house is a sauna, it makes the perfect frozen treat!
I put some sliced fresh mango on top to make it a bit fancy and served mine with some coconut yogurt (vegan of course!) to add a real creamy element and help balance out the tartness of the cashew layer.
I’d love to know if you try it yourself!