Here's another bumper sticker that probably won't get me into trouble - Life is short - eat dessert first. I think an easy, wonderful dessert is a great place for us to start here, so here we go!
My version of Figs and Cashew Cream is meant for a party. I turned it into an easy finger food that's so delectable it makes people come in search of me at parties to tell me how much they love it. The best part is, it's super easy, plus vegan, raw (mostly) and healthy.
As with many "raw" recipes, you have to plan ahead a little bit. For the cashew cream you'll need to soak 1 1/2 cups of raw, unsalted cashews in water for 2-6 hours. They can go overnight if you get a late start in the evening. I've even heard that 20 minutes is long enough to soak cashews, so if you're in a pinch, give it a try. You really can't mess this up. The longer the soak, the creamier the cream. Either way, it will taste wonderful.
Start with some fresh figs, washed, but not peeled, and cut in half lengthwise. They're so beautiful! Eat a couple plain while you make the rest of this.
Next, lightly toast a bit of unsweetened coconut in a small skillet, for garnish. Pour it into a bowl to stop the cooking, and set it aside. Then grate, chop, or shave some good dark chocolate, also to be used as garnish. I like a "generous garnish" on these, so don't be stingy.
For the cashew cream, place the soaked, drained, rinsed cashews in the food processor with 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup, and 2 T Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur. Pulse to blend, gradually adding water until you have a smooth, creamy paste, similar to cake frosting. (In fact, this would make a great cake frosting, which I plan to use the next time I make cupcakes!)
Place the halved figs artfully on a plate, and put a little dollop of cashew cream on top of each. Sprinkle the coconut and chocolate over the top of everything, and you're done. Try your own variations with flavorings and fruits. I can see a lot of good possibilities for this simple, amazing recipe!