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I love inspiration… it comes in so many different forms. This particular recipe was inspired by agar. I have made several batches of vegan cheese for Bob this week and one of the ingredients I use in it is agar. So, it got me thinking, “What else can I do with it?” Agar mystifies me but then so many things do…. :) Anyway, I always enjoy making the vegan cheeses because it takes a matter of minutes for something in a liquid state to turn to a jello-like, firm structure. It’s like a school science project that can captivate the mind of a 7-year-old or in this case a 42-year-old. Sorry, I am getting off track, I was transported… 42 minus 7 equals…. holy-mother-of-maca-smoothies! That was 35 years ago. I feel old when I can say, “35 years ago, I……..”
Turkish delight is a confection based on a gel of starch and sugar. There are many varieties but in short you will find nuts inside that are suspended by a gel. It is eaten in small cubes which have been dusted with icing sugar or powdered cream of Tartar to prevent clinging.
So this is were all this talk about agar comes into play. To create this gel-like texture, I used agar. This so not a raw product but it does come with pretty good health benefits and it is something I occasionally consume so I feel just fine having it in my pantry. A person might be able to use Irish moss or kelp paste in place of it, but I haven’t tried (yet)… so I can’t say for sure.
I hope that you don’t mind me sharing my experience with you. I just want you to know what to expect when using agar. When agar is in its powder or flake form, it is “boring” meaning, it just sits there. But once you heat it up in a liquid (I use water), it turns “boring” into exciting. After the agar dissolves in hot liquid and starts to cool, it starts to gel. Now, if you are in the middle of this recipe, you got the agar in boiling water, it has dissolved and you are about to pour it into your blender with the other ingredients and… the phone rings, your spouse just hollers for you, your daughter or son is yelling from the bathroom that “WE ARE OUT OF TOILET PAPER!!!!”…. and suddenly you realize that your agar started to gel up. No worries! Take a deep breath, answer the phone, see what your spouse wants, throw a roll of paper towels in front of the bathroom door, return the pan to the stove top and heat it again. It will soften right back up. Shew! I don’t know about you, but that tuckered me out!
You could use just about any fruit in this recipe but I used peaches. This was the last of my peach harvest pickings and it is always a sad moment when I know I have to wait another year to drown in o-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-do-with-all-these-peach moments. When it comes to making the peach puree, it will depend on the size of your peaches how many it will take to create 2 cups of puree. I used 6 peaches. If you end up with more than 2 cups of puree, just keep the excess in a jar and throw in your next morning smoothie.
After you go through the process of making the Turkish Delights, you have two options. Chill overnight, cut them into bite-sized pieces… and eat. Or pop them in the dehydrator which will give you a completely different texture. Better yet, chill one half and dehydrate the other half and see which way you prefer.
I will say this… you will have great fun just de-panning the darn things. I could have said, “removing them from the pan” but de-panning is the word for the night. :) I used a 8×8 baking pan that has a removable bottom. I lifted the mass of gel out of the pan and pulled the bottom disc off and there in my hand was a sheet of jiggling magic. It was sort of slimy but it wasn’t wet with liquid. It felt like it should break apart but it didn’t. It was like you wanted to turn it over and just spank it. lol
I want to apologize for being so darn chatty throughout this recipe but I am not going to… I am just excited and I want it to become contagious. After cutting into small squares I decided to coat them with something. They were great as is, and that is an option. Bob suggested that I use raw coconut crystals. So I tried that, the granules added a nice crunch factor to it but it wasn’t visually what I was after. So, I ground the crystals to a fine powder. More in line of what I was aiming for but after coating a few and they sat there, the raw sugar started to turn into a liquid and left a caramely puddle of sweetness around them. Scrumptious… beautiful …. but not the easiest to eat. I decided on lucuma. Perfect! And that my friends, is a good note to end on. Perfect! :)
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.