I hope you had a lovely Easter break ! I was so happy when the clocks jumped forward last weekend, being a day light addict it just changed my world. Spring also seems to have truly arrived with all its beauty, warmth, scents and sounds – nature’s reward to us all for hanging in there throughout the cold and darkness of the winter months. Taking on that reward theme I thought a chia cherry & almond crumble is just what the world needed this week.
As you might have noticed I use chia a lot, these tiny seeds are antioxidant powerhouses and for all the goodness they carry compared to their size and the amount of liquid they can bind- up to 7 times of their own weight- they should really be called something more like the incredible hulk- shame they are not green.
Originating from South America and having been one of the staple foods for the Aztecs, chia seeds are rich in omega 3, protein, vitamin E , minerals including potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium and on top of that they are an excellent source of insoluble fiber, good to keep things moving.
Their ability to bind liquid makes them a perfect part of breakfast cereals, porridge, puddings, cakes, breads, bakes, smoothies and crackers. Chia seeds, whole or ground, are also used as an egg replacement in vegan baking ( 1 tbsp of chia seeds + 3 tbsp of water = 1 egg). Clever seeds aren’t they?
Puddings, like the chia cherry crumble are easily made with nut milks, especially cashew, coconut or almond milk. Adding vanilla or cinnamon and some fresh fruit and nuts make them a delicious and quick breakfast or desert.
As much as I love them, like every food or drink chia seeds should be consumed in moderation. Just look at them as a great addition to the world of seeds available to make our dishes more tasty and interesting and they are definitely fun to experiment with.
Chia cherry & almond crumble ( per serving)
1/2 cup of nut milk ( almond, cashew, coconut, etc)
3 tbsp of chia seeds
1cm vanilla pod (scored lengthways to retrieve seeds ) or a couple of drops of extract
1/2 tsp of honey or maple syrup ( optional)
Cherry compote ( enough for 4 servings )
2 cups of frozen cherries ( or fresh when in season)
2 cups of fresh filtered water
1/2 stick or 1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 vanilla pod -scored lengthways to retrieve seeds
1 tbsp of honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar
Almond crumble ( enough for 4 servings)
1/2 cup of finely chopped dates
1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tbsp of organic barley malt extract or maple syrup
2 cups of ground almonds
For the chia pudding combine nut milk, honey, vanilla pod & seeds, stir until all the honey have dissolved completely. I usually use a little bottle with a lid to mix the milk , it’s very easy and saves time. Next place chia seeds in desert bowls, pour the milk on top, stir well, cover and leave to set in the fridge. Stir well a couple of times more over the next two hours, so all the seeds are distributed well to soak up the milk. Repeat the process for each desert bowl.
For the cherry compote, place cherries , water, cinnamon, honey, vanilla pod and seeds into a sauce pan , bring to the boil and simmer until liquid is reduced to half. This will take about 20-30 minutes. Once reduced taste for sweetness and leave to cool down a little.
Whilst the cherry compote is simmering away, start preparing the almond crumble. Pre-heat the oven at 135C, line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, best to use your hands. It will be sticky to start with but keep kneading until you get a nice dough like texture and all coconut oil has been completely combined with the rest of the ingredients.
Now crumble out on the baking paper getting a nice and even layer, approx 1/2 inch thick. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown. This process can go rather fast , so keep an eye as to not to burn the crumble.
Leave to cool before cutting out the crumble top for each bowl. I used a round cookie cutter- super easy- you can also go free style and use a knife or just crumble the crumble quite literally on top later on.
To serve: get the chia bowls out of the fridge, scoop a few table spoons of cherry compote on top and finish off with placing the crumble on top-it’s best when cherry compote and crumble are still slightly warm but you can prepare everything and warm it up before serving – the perfect desert. The cherry compote and crumble also work a treat on yogurt or ice cream.