Orange Blossom Mahalabia-Inspired Cashew Pudding

This delicious recipe, in aid of Unicef's #cookforsyria campaign, is inspired by our favourite breakfast dish, the smoothie bowl. We have been making smoothie bowls and nut and seed 'yoghurts' for events since we launched, as they are our favourite way to enjoy Qnola. Concentrated forms of whatever goodness you decide to blend together, smoothie bowls are a little more fulfilling than standard smoothies. We pack ours full of fresh ingredients, freeze dried superfood powders and a balance of healthy fats, natural proteins, fibre and seasonal vitamins and minerals. For those who are looking for a nourishing alternative to yoghurt and aren't satisfied with soy or coconut products, this is definitely your vibe.

This recipe is inspired by traditional Syrian ingredients, in our support to raise awareness and funds for the crisis in Syria. Mahalabia is a traditional middle-eastern dessert made with boiled milk, sugar or syrup and rose or orange water. We chose more natural and nourishing ingredients for our recipe, and a simple method which, unlike Mahalabia, doesn't involved temperature control or any cooking at all, in fact! We use pure, vegan orange blossom water to flavour this particular smoothie bowl, along with raw honey and a handful of pistachios to combine as many of Syria's favourite dessert ingredients in one dish as possible. Add your choice of superfood powders without altering the result too much, and even experiment with adding seasonal fresh fruits - just be mindful of the quantities, especially in water-rich fruits as the pudding will turn out a little runnier. To accomodate this, add more cashews or less nut milk.

Serve with toppings of your choice and enjoy as a breakfast, as dessert or to accompany other desserts as a yoghurt / cream alternative.

Serves 2
200g cashews, soaked for minimum 2 hours
80ml nut milk or filtered water
25g coconut oil, melted
15g raw honey (or natural sweetener of choice - we chose honey to keep aligned to the Syrian theme)
15g pistachios, soaked for minimum 2 hours
40g pure orange blossom water
4g vanilla extract / paste / powder / fresh seeds
pinch himalayan pink salt
30g chia seed gel (measure 3 tablespoons chia seeds in a bowl or jar with 1 cup water. Stir then leave for 10 minutes before stirring again and leaving to stand until the water has been absorbed and a thick gel begins to form. If using a jar, fasten the lid and shake to get a more even absorption)

Start by adding the cashews, pistachios and water or nut milk to your blender. Blend on a high speed for 1-2 minutes, until a thick paste begins to form. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for a further two minutes. Acknowledge whether the mixture blends smoothly. Depending on the strength of your blender you may need to scrape down the sides or poke around the blade to keep things moving. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more liquid, a tablespoon at a time. The mixture should be completely smooth and free from lumps. Leave the blender running until the mixture flows smoothly.
Taste, and add more salt, sweetness, vanilla or orange blossom water as fit your preferences.
Divide into bowls to serve and chill in the fridge before serving. Alternatively, heat gently in a saucepan over a low heat and serve as a warm dessert (this is nice with stewed fruits or berries). Thin the mixture with extra liquid to make a custard-like cream alternative to serve with other desserts.

+ Serve with nourishing toppings of your choice. We combined pine nuts, pistachio nuts and golden linseeds with a drop of honey and a splash of rose water, to add an instant crunch to the pudding. You could also use Qnola, granola or your choice of nuts, seeds and fruit.

+ Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.