So, right after I wrote my injury post, the sweet Kelli at Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen contacted me and offered to send me some yoga DVD’s from her practice to enable me to get some healing exercises into my regimen. Being the ratbag that I am, I kind of ignored the message then later tried to tell her I had plenty of other things I was trying to incorporate into my recovery (I have a hard time accepting help, even when I need it). Thankfully she eventually got through to me, mostly because she wouldn’t take no for an answer. At that time I was doing a restorative yoga class at my local gym and some pool running for cardio. I found that even though restorative yoga was good for my soul, it wasn’t really giving me a workout, plus the pool running became more and more difficult when I found I would be in pain for several days after each session. When I tried the yoga class that was the next level up from restorative at my gym, I couldn’t do most of the poses or keep up with the fast pace of the class because of my injury. I ended up leaving after 10 minutes, humiliated and down trodden.
Enter Kelli’s miraculous TriYoga DVD’s. I finally decided to give them a go since I figured I had nothing left to lose. Well ladies and gentlemen, they are absolutely perfect for my level of fitness at the moment. Gentle, but challenging. They actually make me feel like I’m getting a workout without hurting myself. And, I can preserve my novice yoga dignity and do them in the privacy of my own home. A couple of weeks ago, I had ladies in my family lined up on our family reunion vacation doing these yoga exercises with me. Yeah, my mom ended up ordering the DVD’s too.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that sometimes people come into your life for the right reason at the right time and that sometimes you find help, healing and inspiration where you think you’d be least likely to find it.
Be open to it.
Stay tuned at the end of this post to see some of the delicious offerings on Kelli’s site. Now, here’s Kelli with these amazing Cannoli!
Hey Vedged Out readers! I’m thrilled that Somer has invited me to join you all today and share a new recipe. I’ve long been an admirer of hers, and her creativity in the kitchen continually inspires me to new heights. I’m so honored to be in such talented company here.
One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t often actually plan out recipes. Sometimes they’re triggered by a memory, or a meal that I’ve loved, and sometimes they just appear in my mind fully formed. Amazing how that happens…. This particular one came from remembering long-ago desserts.
When I was young, my father was a news photographer for a local tv station. And like fathers do, he brought me souvenirs from the stories that he filmed – from huge Jimmy Carter presidential convention posters, to autographs from every famous person who came into town, to (my favorite) the video he filmed of an open-heart surgery that I brought in to show my sixth-grade class. (It was 1981, and things like that weren’t seen much). And every year around the holidays, he always managed to do a story at a local Italian bakery and brought home the most amazing desserts – what kid doesn’t love a pile of fried dough balls covered with sugar syrup and colored sprinkles? And the cannoli – the most incredible things I’ve ever had. I was recently thinking of those yummy desserts….
But sadly, I’d not had cannoli since becoming vegan, so I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to create the ideal late-summer version: sweet whole grain shells filled with tangy cashew cream and perfectly ripe peaches, all drizzled with chocolate. And it was so much easier than I’d ever expected!
Now before we get to the recipe, I have 2 variations, just so no one gets scared off :)
– If you want the delicious cannoli flavors without the bother challenge of rolling the shells, press the baked dough into mini-muffin tins, let cool and then fill, to make mini cannoli cups.
– These are best served right away so the shells stay crunchy, but if they do get soft, put them in the freezer for an AMAZING frozen dessert. They taste just like ice-cream cake rolls!
Chocolate-Drizzled Vegan Cannoli with Fresh Peaches
For the filling:
- 1 cup cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours if you don’t have a high speed blender)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- 1-2 tablespoons agave
- ½ cup diced fresh peaches
For the shells:
- 3 teaspoons egg replacer, mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water
- 4 tablespoons Earth Balance (coconut oil may also work, but I haven’t tried it)
- 1/3 cup organic sugar/coconut sugar/sucanat
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup spelt flour
For the chocolate drizzle:
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
Make the filling first by blending together all of the filling ingredients except the peaches. I made mine more tangy than sweet, so I used 4 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of agave. If you prefer your filling sweeter, you can add more agave and reduce the water accordingly. Stir in the diced peaches. Place in the fridge to chill while baking the shells. The filling can also be made a couple of days in advance.
For the shells, begin by creaming the Earth Balance and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg replacer and mix well. Blend in the vanilla, balsamic vinegar and flour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, make thin flat circles of batter 3-4 inches in diameter (I drew circles on the parchment to make sure I had the right size and shape). Do only about 3 at a time. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, until the edges are brown and the dough is cooked through. Let cool for a minute or so, and then while the dough is still pliable, roll it around something about 1” in diameter. I used cannoli forms for this, but you can also use a bottle neck or the handle from your mortar & pestle. Let it stay wrapped until it starts to cool and holds its shape. Place on a cooling rack until completely cool.
Melt the chocolate chips and non-dairy milk together in the microwave or on the stovetop. Whisk together to make a smooth, drippable chocolate.
Once the shells are completely cooled, pipe the cashew filling into them using a pastry bag or plastic bag with a hole cut in the corner (make sure it’s big enough for the peaches to go through!). Drizzle with chocolate and a dusting of powdered sugar if desired. Serve immediately.
This amount makes about 10 cannoli.
I’ve always thought of cannoli as a special occasion dessert, but why wait? It’s a delicious way to do something special for someone you love. Thanks again, Somer, for having me over today!
Kelli Roberts is a skilled Vegan Chef with a certificate in plant-based diet from Cornell University, and is a certified health & nutrition counselor from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has been vegetarian for nearly 20 years and vegan for 11, and has spent hundreds of hours learning about the benefits of a vegan diet and healthful cooking techniques. Kelli teaches vegan cooking classes and programs to transition to a plant-based diet (online and in person), and offers individualized nutrition and lifestyle counseling. She is also a Level 3-certified TriYoga teacher. With this training, she leads vegan yoga retreats that offer a complete package of wellness, including yoga classes, group meal preparation, health and nutrition information, and techniques to bring this knowledge actively into our daily lives.
To see some of Kelli’s most recent incredible creations on her site, click on any of the following links.
Clockwise: Carrot Cake Waffles, Mostly Raw Blackberry Lavender Ice Cream, Rosemary Olive Potpie Turnovers, Raw Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Sundaes, Vegan Pasta Carbonara, Raw Strawberry Ginger Pudding, The Best Avocado Toast Ever and Green Warrior-Goddess Soup.