Frozen Hazelnut Saffron Lemon Yogurt Cake with Honey Drizzled Figs

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Quite a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?

With the small peak season of figs now leaving us, I wanted to make this beauty before it was too late. This lovely and healthy dessert recipe is from Green Kitchen Stories, a wonderful vegetarian recipe curator and food photographer. I’ve really been into using saffron in everything lately, and this was an absolute must. At first sight, I thought it was a raw recipe, but not quite. No dehydrating or cashew soaking or anything of that sort. It’s relatively very easy and simple and tastes like nothing I’ve ever had before.

The filling isn’t as sweet as you may expect, although it is mostly found biting into the dates within the hazelnut crust. I added in some lemon zest to give it a refreshing cheesecake type of flavor to compliment the saffron. The coconut milk and Greek yogurt could fool any cheesecake lover into loving this frozen faux version. The saffron was a bit powerful, I have to say, but I’m not complaining. I couldn’t find saffron powder anywhere so I just ground up the saffron strands as fine as possible. They were noticeable in the filling and the color wasn’t as yellowy and vibrant as I hoped it to be, but it’s all good. It shouldn’t change the taste at all. Also, the original recipe suggested roasting the hazelnuts first, but I didn’t bother to do so. It probably would have brought out the flavor a bit more, but I’ve had non-roasted nut-date crusts before and loved them just the same.

Make this ASAP before all those figs leave us till next summer!

Frozen Hazelnut Saffron Lemon Yogurt Cake with Honey Drizzled Figs

Serves 6-8

Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

The Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts (save a handful for the topping)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 15 fresh medjool-like dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp water

The Filling

  • 3 cups fat whole-milk greek yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp runny honey + some extra for topping
  • 1 gram (0.035 oz) powdered saffron (2 envelopes), or finely ground/minced saffron threads
  • 8 small fresh figs, halved

Preparing the crust: 

  1. Add hazelnuts (save a handful for the topping) and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse for about 10 seconds. The nuts should be chopped but not powdered. Pour the nuts into a separate bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the pitted dates, coconut oil and water to the food processor and run it on high speed until the mixture comes together to a sticky paste.
  3. Add the chopped hazelnuts and run until everything is combined into a sticky pebbled mixture.
  4. Place in a 20 cm (8-inch) spring-form cake tin and flatten it out with your fingers. Put in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

Making the filling:

  1. Place Greek yogurt, coconut milk, lemon zest and honey in a medium size mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Stir in the powdered saffron very gently with a spoon.
  3. Remove the spring-form cake tin from the fridge and pour the saffron filling on top of the crust. Then place the spring-form in the freezer for about 1 1/2 hour (you can keep it in the freezer for days but then you have to let it thaw for about 15-20 minutes before serving it).
  4. Top the cake with fresh figs and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.
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