Do any of you have the experience of reverting back to your childhood self when you go back home? Well, I do. Something about being around my parents in my old house brings out the most juvenile side of me, and I find myself called to run through the sprinkler, catch fireflies, and eat things like creamsicles. Yea, the kid in me won’t ever grow tired of those.
This summer has been spent mostly at my family’s cottage where I participated in all of the aforementioned activities, as well as the making of some seriously amazing, and kid-friendly desserts. Perhaps it’s this little babe in my belly that has inspired me to create healthy versions of my old favorites, or just a raging sweet tooth, but either way, the adults in my life have been very happy about it. My latest and greatest makeover has been creamsicles, where I have put a healthy and sophisticated twist on the classic.
Instead of the traditional orange flavour, I decided to use fresh peaches since they are probably my favorite fruit of all time and in their absolute glory at the moment. And instead of dairy, I whipped up a quick cashew-vanilla cream to swirl into the lush, sweet fruityness – a gorgeous combination! This is an incredibly fast and simple dessert that even brought out the little girl’s spirit in my 91-year-old grandmother.
Late Beta-Carotene Bloomers
Perhaps it’s just the delicious anticipation, but having to wait all year for that extraordinary, bright first bite of a ripe peach is like an epiphany. It is on those occasions when I feel pretty stoked that peaches are actually healthy, because I eat them like, well, they are going out of season. The orange colour of peaches is thanks to beta-carotene, the same phytonutrient responsible for giving carrots their pigment, as well as sweet potatoes, and winter squash. Beta-carotene protects your cells from free radical damage, which causes cancer, heart diseases, arthritis and other diseases related to aging. It is also responsible for good eyesight and formation of the mucous membrane of the urinary, digestive and respiratory tracts.
Beta-carotene is fat-soluble, meaning that it requires the presence of dietary fat in order for your body to absorb it. Bonus! The cashews in this tasty treat deliver the healthy-fats your body needs take in all that beautiful beta carotene and your cells can bathe in orange, healing goodness – at least that is what I picture going on.
If peaches aren’t your thing, any fruit here would do – raspberries, blackberries, plums, bananas, mango etc. You could even make a combination of fruits for a beautiful rainbow effect. Ask your kids (or your inner child) which fruits they would like best and customize to suit your tastes. And if you want to go sweeter, add a tablespoon of sweetener to the fruit puree. I found that the peaches were perfect just on their own, but I like to taste the fruit itself. If you are using tart berries, like blackberries, you’ll likely want to balance with a little honey or maple syrup. You may also want to strain the puree to remove seeds for a smoother texture.
Peachy Keen Creamsicles
Makes 10, 3oz. popsicles
4 large / 800g peaches (nectarines would also work)
½ cup / 70g cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
2-3 Tbsp. liquid sweetener (raw honey, maple syrup, agave)
2 Tbsp. water
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1. Place cashews in a container and cover with fresh, filtered water. Let soak for at least four hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse well.
2. Peel peaches and roughly chop. Place in a blender or high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid sweetener if desired. Pour contents into a container with a spout and set aside.
3. Give your blender a quick rinse and add the cashews, along with the vanilla bean, 2 tablespoons of sweetener and water. Blend on high until completely smooth (if using a regular blender, this may take 60 seconds or longer).
4. Into each popsicle mold, pour a small amount of either the peach puree or cashew puree, then alternate between the two until you’ve reached capacity. Using a popsicle stick or skewer, stir the liquids together slightly to create a marble effect. Place a popsicle stick in each mold and place in the freezer until completely frozen. To remove, run the mold under warm water until the popsicle easily slides out. Enjoy!
Just a reminder that the My New Roots Potluck Picnic in the Park is tomorrow evening and you’re all invited! I am so excited to meet you and taste your beautiful creations (no pressure). Please note that if it is pouring rain at 6pm, I’ll have to cancel the event and postpone it until next year, so all you Torontonians send your positive good-weather vibes please!
See you there…