So quickly Christmas is here again, many people will be saying to themselves that there is no point trying to be healthy at this time of the year. While I am a little lenient on my clients during the festive period, I really do encourage them to keep things on track enough that you won’t find it too hard to resume a healthy diet and lifestyle.
When the fresh produce that is available in Australia at Christmas it really is not impossible to still eat in a healthy nourishing yet indulgent food. We are spoilt for wonderful abundant produce that is bursting with nutrients.
Coeur de Crème with vanilla cherries
The fresh produce we have available during Christmas gives us some really simple and delicious solutions to offering a festive dessert. This simple version of the French classic Coeur de Crème is rich and decadent without completely going overboard. It is void of refined sugar, I used only a small amount of raw honey and the portion size is enough to be a satisfying Christmas treat.
I could not find the traditional heart shaped mold so I used a silicon domes, you could use panacotta molds if you wish.
450 grams of Quark or European cream cheese
250 grams of ricotta
2 tablespoons of raw honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
1 cup of sour cream
2 teaspoons of grass fed gelatin*
500 grams of fresh cherries
2 oranges juiced
1 tablespoon of Grand Manier (optional)
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
Place quark and ricotta in a fine sieve and allow to drain for about an hour. Remove the quark and ricotta from the sieve and put into a bowl with raw honey and vanilla. Stir grass fed gelatin in sour cream separately and mix well, then add to the mixture. Using a blender or food processor mix ingredients until smoothly combined. Pour into molds and refrigerate for 24 hours, additional time will result in a firmer crème.
Add cherries, orange juice and vanilla to a saucepan. Allow to simmer until cherries are soft but not reduced to a jam. Refrigerate until cold.
Take Coeur de cremes out of the molds and serve with the poached cherries.
Cherries are a true superfood and we are truly fortunate in Australia to have such an abundance during Christmas. Cherries offer some amazing health benefits and are truly delicious. These gorgeous fruits are rich in fibre, caroteinoids, vitamin C and potassium. Cherries are shown to increase our brains release of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins which is an antioxidant that has been linked to reducing the risk and progression of many common diseases. Other foods that are rich in anthocyanins are blueberries, blackberries, dark grapes, currants, eggplants, cranberries, dark plums and prunes. It is the dark pigments of these foods that make them characteristic of anthocyanins.
Health benefits of cherries
Cherries are often classified as sweet or tart. Tart cherries are often referred to be more nutritionally dense and used in traditional medicine for their therapeutic properties. Sweet cherries are also worthy of nutritional status for their rich antioxidant qualities. Studies on cherries used the consumption of sweet and tart cherries to assess their benefits.
Improves Memory: this may be attributed to the anti-inflammatory action of cherries. Anthocyanins are shown to protect the brain against cognitive decline.
Reduces symptoms of arthritis and inflammatory conditions: Cherries are shown in studies to reduce uric acid in gout and osteoarthritis.
Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease: Cherries were shown in studies to reduce systolic blood pressure. Cherries are rich in potassium, which regulates blood pressure. Cherries rich antioxidants may encourage the vessels to dilate.
Reduces risk of colon cancer: this could be simply due to the fibre content. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries may reduce the cancer markers.
Improves post exercise recovery: studies showed that athletes that consumed cherries or cherry juice post exercise had less muscle damage and soreness.
Improves sleep: in particular the sour variety of cherries are shown to increase melatonin production and increase sleep.