As a culinary and health enthusiast, exotic and nutrient-packed ingredients always excite me. Recently, local artisanal food company Poppy and Co kindly shared a sample of their frozen, organic acai pulp and some amazing insights on this super food.
Their acai berries are harvested from wild acai palm trees in the Amazon rainforest. The berries are ground into pulp and frozen within the same day to maintain maximum nutrients. Due to the labourious process required to harvest acai and the highly perishable characteristics of the fruit, acai is more expensive than other fruits. You can see a detailed process of the making here.
Acai: Exactly how “Super”?
Most people know acai is a superfood, but exactly how is it better than regular food? Here’s USDA’s data on this fruit compared with our other favourite berries.
Compared to regular berries, acai has
- much higher antioxidant and vitamin levels
- Acai has omega fatty acids, which is very rare in fruits (the other being avocado)
- It has high protein – again, that’s very rare among fruits!
- 50+ minerals and electrolytes including iron, zinc and potassium, making it a perfect post-workout fuel.
- Surprise – it is slightly cheaper compared to regular berries available in Singapore! More value for money considering the higher health benefits.
The only one downside I can think of is taste-wise, it pales in comparison with sweet, juicy berries. Acai is bland on its own – not sweet, slightly creamy with a light earthy flavour. Luckily, that makes it much more versatile than other superfoods (like kale and spirulina) with strong flavours and easily made delicious by mixing with any flavour-giving ingredient.
This no-bake cake recipe uses the refreshing tartness of lemons with the creaminess of soaked cashews and coconut oil to help you enjoy this superfood. A protein and nutrient packed cold sweet treat for a hot day!
Acai Lemon no-bake cake
Prepare one day in advance prior to serving. Makes one 9″ cake.
For the crust:
- 4-5 tbsp peanut butter (unsweeted preferred)
- ½ cup of any roasted nuts/seeds (I used sunflower seeds)
- ½ cup of almond meal (Or same amount of instant/rolled oats)
- 3 tbsp syrup (I used gula melaka as it’s cheap)
- 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste
- 1 tsp sea salt
Mix or blend in food processor until it holds together well when pressed or shaped. Grease your pan/mold with oil and press crust firmly into the base.
For the filling:
- 1 bar of frozen acai pulp
- 2/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 and ½ cup dry cashews, soaked overnight
- ½ cup lemon juice
- Zest from 1 medium sized lemon
- ½ cup syrup (I used gula melaka)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder (optional, for colour)
- Desiccated coconut (for topping)
Blend everything except the acai pulp together to a smooth yellowish paste. Pour on top of crust into the pan/mold.
Using the back of a spoon, push indents into the filling. Spoon the melted acai pulp into the indents. Mix with the yellow filling gently in circles with a fork to create dark purple swirls. Flatten the filling with a spatula or back of a spoon. Add toppings and place into the freezer. Freeze overnight, or for at least about 5 hours.
- To quickly remove lemon skin, cut a lemon into half and slice off the skin with a knife like such. Avoid cutting too much into the white area.
- If you want to skip the swirl effect, simply blend the acai together with everything to get a brownish – purple filling (skip the turmeric if this is the case).
- Use a pan with either a removable base (like a springform pan) or a soft mold (like silicon pans or aluminum cups). A piece of greased baking paper can also be used to make removal easy. Very important to grease with a neutral flavoured oil like grapeseed or canola. Don’t use coconut oil as it will be solid in the freezer, making the cake hard to remove.
- Best eaten frozen – does not hold well in our weather! Simply take out of freezer 2-5 mins before serving, depending on size.
- If cutting is needed, use a heated metal knife. Heat it by immersing in hot water for 5 mins or holding the metal blade over a low-heat stove for around 10 seconds.
Poppy and Co’s organic acai pulp is available from NTUC finest at $12.90 for 400g.