I adapted this from Nigella’s recipe that is far too sugary and based on dairy cream, which many people don’t tolerate very well. I’ve been working for some time on a dairy-free version of cream and now I think I’ve cracked it – the result has that lovely “mouth-feel” you get from cream and is really good for you too. Use the rosiest, pinkest rhubarb you can find. Alternatively you can use cochineal*, a natural non-toxic pink food colouring, to achieve a pink colour. Or not bother…
1 kg rhubarb, trimmed and coarsely sliced
4 heaped tbs xylitol* or 30 drops pure stevia (health shops)
2 teasp vanilla extract*
400g tub Coyo or Abbot Kinney’s Greek style plain coconut yoghurt, straight from the fridge*
400g tub natural unflavoured soya or almond based yoghurt, straight from the fridge*
Optional: cochineal food colouring or beetroot powder (health shops)*
Optional: 4 sprigs of mint to decorate
*Check out my “larder & shopping” section for where to buy all unusual ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 190C. Mix the rhubarb and the xylitol together in an ovenproof dish. Don’t add water. Cover with foil or a tight fitting lid and bake for 45-60 minutes until the fruit is completely soft. Allow to cool slightly before straining off the juice if there is a lot of it. [You can save this delicious juice for later to add to a glass of prosecco or champagne, or for drizzling over natural yoghurt or porridge].
- Puree the rhubarb with 1 tsp vanilla extract and process until smooth. Add more xylitol/stevia if needed, and, if you like, cochineal or beetroot powder colouring to make everything pink and blitz or beat again. I recently used green rhubarb and needed about 30 drops of cochineal to get the pink colour I wanted. If you don’t own a liquidiser or food processor you could simply beat the rhubarb with a spoon for a rustic effect. Chill this mixture.
- Now empty the 400g tub of Coyo, 8 rounded tbs of natural soya yoghurt and a teaspoon of vanilla extract into a bowl. Whisk until well mixed and lump-free – this only takes a minute. Fold in the rhubarb puree and pile into 4 glasses. If you have some fresh mint, place a sprig on each. Refrigerate until needed.
To make this recipe even healthier, use stevia drops instead of xylitol. This will vary depending on the rhubarb. Note: if you use stevia, take the dessert out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to eat. You will taste the stevia’s sweetness better if the food is not too cold.
Why this recipe is better for you
Coconut “yoghurt” contains vitality-boosting medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. MCTs are used directly by your body to make energy instead of being stored as fat – good news if you don’t want to gain too much weight. MCTs are also fantastic for brain function, especially for people experiencing cognitive decline. Using xylitol instead of sugar means you are not releasing vast amounts of sugar into your bloodstream by eating this dessert. Xylitol is safe for diabetics for this reason. Sugar increases oxidation, ageing and cognitive problems. So if you want a healthy body and mind, reducing sugar is one of the keys. Sugar depletes vitamins and minerals and lowers the immune-boosting activity of the thymus gland. If you decide to use stevia instead of xylitol, this naturally zero-calorie sweetener is even healthier. Food colourings of the chemical variety disable your ability to digest protein at the meal by disarming the digestive enzymes called proteases – not good news for overall health if you have them regularly. See “larder & shopping” for details of products.