The Gift of Summer (+ figs)

So it is officially summer and although Seattle welcomed this season of hope and sunshine with rain on Thursday (and lots of it) I still can feel the pulse of anticipation and excitement in the air as people look forward to long (sunshine-filled) days ahead.  The Summer Soltice, which occured Thursday at approximately 11:04PM MDT, is the longest day of the year and believed by many to be a time to re-focus on what you want to bring more of into your life. The seasons are such a gift from mother nature - a reminder that everything in life is cyclical. We have all heard, and in my opinion, it is true - we must endure the winter before the summer, the darkness before the light, the pain before the joy, etc. etc.   This time of year is not only a time to embrace the sun in a physical sense, but also metaphorically as well - it is a time to welcome lightness, peace and harmony into our own lives. Of course with summer also comes an abundance of fresh fruit so I figured what better way to celebrate this wondrous season than with one of my favorites - figs!  Oh how I love (i mean LOVE) me some figs.  Figs, in my humble opinion, are nature's gift to us - delicate and luscious with a soft sweetness and, in many ancient cultures, revered as sacred and a symbol of abundance, fertility and unity.  Not only are figs DELICIOUS though, they also are toted as one of the world's healthiest foods as they are high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin B6 and minerals like potassium and manganese.  So I mean, really what is there not to love about this sweet morsel of goodness?  If you haven't tried a fresh fig before I urge you to go out to the market tomorrow and snatch a little basket before it's too late (fig season is short-lived!) and of course, make this pie and decide for yourself if figs are worth the hype :)

RAW FIG CHEESECAKE

I made this faux cheesecake totally sans dairy, grains, eggs, sugar (OF ANY KIND) - it is delicious and full of all sorts of wholesome goodness like nuts, coconut oil, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and simply sweetened by nothing more than figs and raisins - enjoy!

Crust

1 cup raw walnuts 1 cup raw pecans 1 cup raw almonds 24 dried mission figs ¼ cup soaked raisins ½ tsp salt 1 tsp ginger 2 tsp cinnamon 2 Tbsp flaked coconut 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Filling

1 ½ cups raw cashews (soaked) ½ cup raw hemp milk or water (any nut milk – raw or from a box would do) 5-6 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice 2 Tbsp beet juice (optional: for the pretty color!) 3 tsp organic Vanilla extract 1 cup raisin soak water 1 tsp coconut oil 15 dried calimyrna figs 1/8 cup soaked raisins

Topping

¼ cup chopped raw nuts 4-6 fresh figs

Instructions

1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with water; let soak overnight, or for at least 4 hours (the longer you soak them, the better – especially if you don’t have a high powered blender). 2. Place raisins in bowl of water and soak 30 minutes or longer. 3. Line the bottom of a round 8-9″ spring form pan with parchment paper; set aside. 4. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the walnuts, pecans and almonds separately until each reaches a coarse meal. (You can process them all together but I like to do them separate to avoid over processing as each nut takes a different amount of time). Combine all three ground nuts, salt, ginger, cinnamon and coconut flakes and pulse just until combined. Add dried mission figs, ¼ cup soaked raisins (do not add the water or remaining soaked raisins as you’ll use those in the filling) and coconut oil; pulse until combined. You’ll know crust is ready when it starts to form a wall around the food processor container and you can pick up a nice-sized piece of the mixture and form it into a little disc without it crumbling too much. Press crust mixture into the prepared pan then cover with plastic and freeze until ready to use. 5. Once the cashews have soaked, discard the soaking water and rinse the cashews in a colander. 6. Add the cashews, dried calimyrna figs, 1/8 cup raisins, nut milk, beet juice, lemon juice, raisin soak water, coconut oil and vanilla bean to the container of a Vitamix or other high speed blender the; blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. You will have to stir about every 30 seconds or so and if the filling is too thin, add more cashews; the mixture should be the consistency of a greek yogurt or sour cream. 7. Pour the filling over crust and freeze overnight, or until solid. 8. When ready to serve, allow the tart to thaw for 15 minutes, then top with chopped nuts and fresh figs.

Yield: 12-16 servings

Note: After I made this I thought the pie would be even prettier if you made it layered with a white and pink layer! Just blend all filling ingredients except the beet juice until smooth; pour half the mixture over the crust and place in freezer for 15-30 minutes. Then blend the remaining filling with the beet juice and pour the pink layer over the white layer!

Recipe adapted from ohladycakes.com

 

~Wonderful words from Char Sundust,  a Shamanic healer I had the honor of learning from in her writer's circle

Do we trust the Mystery? The invisible world that supports us all…the miracle of oxygen and gravity…everything is working as it should. The sun rises and all become a part of it, because the sun is responsible for everything that rises in the morning…all life emerges. There are invisible hands at work…loving the world, loving us…bringing every miracle into its fullness.

Are we patient? Do we allow the blossoming of our lives, our desires, our goals? Do we give ourselves and others the space, the time… to learn, to grow; to blossom in our own ways, and in their own ways? Or do we watch over the tiniest bud, urging it to bloom faster…to open at our whim and will? When really, we could allow and become mesmerized at its great unfolding…in its own way, and in its own time.

Do we trust the miracle that brought us here? Trust reflects an absolute presence; an acceptance that everything is unfolding in the perfect way for us to become our best selves… Will we continue to open to our best selves; to be part of the small and great miracles of life?

What are we grateful for? Am I truly grateful for everything that brought me to this miracle of now? Or am I scrounging for the miracles directed by my will and my ego? Or do I recognize that I am the miracle… that I am the great blessing way… and the miracle is in my trust in the present to carry me to the gifts of tomorrow, through my appreciation of today.

May you love and appreciate every miracle that brought you here…in the perfect place, in the perfect time, with all of the perfect teachers around us…to lead us to the miracles that lie waiting, just beyond what we can see.

RecipesJamie Wagener