Today I am really excited to share with you this perfect autumn dessert that I was inspired to create for a dinner party recently. It features preserved fruits and is sweetened with maple. This cute dessert is perfect to take with you to any upcoming holiday celebration, whether you are celebrating Autumn, Harvest Season, Halloween, Samhain, Thanksgiving, etc.

Made in small mason jars, not only is this dessert rustic chic, but highly portable! Just screw the lid on and you are good to go! It is also a great dessert for groups since it is allergen friendly, as it is dairy, egg, refined sugar and gluten free. If you experiment by using agar-agar, it is also vegetarian and vegan friendly. You can also play with the flavors by using different sweeteners, like raw honey or stevia and by using different spices and various types of preserved fruit. If you don’t have preserved fruit, a small layer of homemade jam would be perfect, or how about some sweetened pumpkin puree and topped with crumbled candied nuts?

The most important thing about this dessert is that it tastes delicious, it is luscious, creamy and dreamy, not too sweet but easily satisfying those with a sweet tooth and you can play so much with the basic recipe to make it your own. It is so versatile that you can make it for more than one celebration by making it several different ways! So whip some up today and enjoy this beautiful harvest season!

INGREDIENTS:

2 ½ cups canned coconut milk (regular, not lite) – I use Native Harvest because they have BPA-free cans
¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp of cinnamon or crushed cardamom (or a combination!)
¼ cup water
1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 pint of preserved fruit – I used plums from last year’s larder
2 or 3 gluten free cookies – I used some leftover pfeffernusse shortbread (use nuts to make the dessert grain free)

METHOD:

Pour the coconut milk into a small pan and heat on the lowest setting until small bubbles form on the edges of the pan. In the meantime, in a small bowl pour a quarter cup of water and add the gelatin, whisking briskly until thoroughly combined. Set aside until the coconut milk has started to bubble, add maple syrup, vanilla extract and spices to the coconut milk once it has started to bubble slightly.

Remove the coconut mixture from the heat and add a quarter cup of it to the gelatin whisking briskly to incorporate, making sure there are no lumps. Add this back to the pan with the rest of the coconut milk, whisk to combine and then remove pan from heat.

Using ½ pint mason jars, place some preserved fruit on the bottom of the jar, then cover with some of the coconut milk mixture. You will be doing this layering one more time, so make sure to save enough. I just eyeballed it. Put the rest of the coconut milk mixture back on the stove on the lowest heat possible. You want to make sure that it doesn’t cool all the way and start to congeal, so using a whisk stir once in a while.

Put the mason jars in the freezer for about 30-40 minutes, until softly set. Remove from freezer and let the jars come to room temperature (ish). You want to make sure that you aren’t adding hot liquid to frozen glass, as this will cause the glass to break. Then add another layer of preserved fruit, and then the rest of the coconut milk mixture, add another layer of preserved fruit and then crush some cookies on top and put in the fridge for about 2 hours until top layer sets. Keep in the refrigerator until it is time to serve. Serves 6