This dessert is inspired by a celery special we ran recently at the restaurant. The dessert was the hardest thing to come up with until one of my chefs suggested a play on “ants on a log.” The roasted cashew caramel is the peanut butter element, and we wove the celery into the beignet using the seeds. The raisins are in the gelato, which has a kick of spiced rum. The beignet dough turns out soft and delicious, warm out of the oil. Just in time for Mardi Gras….
For the beignets:
For the wet mix:
5/8 cup cashew milk (but any vegan milk can be used-we think almond or coconut would be delicious), luke warm
1/2 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
For the dry mix:
2 cups organic all purpose flour
1/4 cup organic, raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon celery seed (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Organic powdered sugar for dusting
Add the yeast to the vegan milk and 1 Tablespoon of sugar and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
Then mix in the coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add this to the the dry mix and mix well until a dough is formed. Allow to sit in the refrigerator 4-6 hours until the dough doubles in size. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into rounds or squares as desired, about 2 inches in diameter. Allow these to rest again until they double in size, or about an hour.
In a sauce pan or deep fryer, heat 1 inch of safflower oil to 350 degrees. Fry the beignets on both sides until golden brown.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving. These are best served immediately.
For the rum raisin gelato:
1 cup cashews
1 cup water
1 1/2 oz. spiced rum
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 cup agave or maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
Blend everything, except the raisins, together until smooth. If you have a high speed blender, you will have the best results, but if you have a less powerful blender you may want to strain the mixture to make sure it is absolutely smooth before putting it in your ice cream maker. After everything is smooth put the mixture into your ice cream maker and proceed with the manufacturer’s instructions. Fold in the raisins by hand and put in an airtight container in your freezer. This recipe will set up overnight, but I like it best right out of the ice cream maker while it is still “soft serve.”
For the roasted cashew sauce:
1 cup roasted cashews
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water (or more as needed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
You can buy roasted cashews or make your own by putting dry, raw cashews on a baking sheet and roasting in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
Blend everything together in a high speed blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.