I have this remarkable friend. She has two kids under 3, a very senior job at one of the world’s biggest companies, runs and supports multiple small businesses, is very involved in political life and takes on multiple projects to top it all. One of her current projects is an anti-sugar campaign at her daughter’s nursery.
She reviewed the menu on offer and found that the children were being given on average around 20g of added sugar in their meals and snacks over the course of the day. The NHS recommends that no more than 5% of calories should come from “free sugars” - that means children aged 4-6 should have a maximum of 19g of sugar a day (there’s no guideline limit for under 4s but it’s recommended they avoid sugary drinks and food with added sugar).
So she took their menu and redesigned it with healthy alternatives that were free of added sugar. She created new recipes, made them, costed them and then sent the full plan to the nursery.
One of the sugary items on the menu was Angel Delight - a dessert aimed at kids that is predominantly sugar and milk (so not something dairy free kids are likely to be eating!). Her remake of this dessert was to blend bananas and milk and mix with agar agar to make a “banana Angel Delight”.
It is such a simple but brilliant idea.
She is not only changing attitudes to added sugar at the nursery, but if they follow her plan, they’ll be reducing salt, artificial additives and saving money too as almost everything on her redesigned homemade menu was cheaper than the store bought version.
So this recipe is a homage to my incredible friend - a dairy free Angel Delight style dessert without added sugar.
Peaches and “Cream” Delight
Makes: 3 “jellies”
Prep time: 5 minutes (plus 4 hours soaking time)
Cooling time: 4-6 hours
3 peaches (~400-450g) - if out of season you can use 1 can of tinned peaches (to keep it added sugar free use peaches in juice, not syrup)
⅓ cup cashew nuts (raw - i.e. unroasted, unsalted)
3 sheets of leaf gelatine (check the instructions on your gelatine as they do differ. This recipe is quite forgiving as you want it softer set than traditional jelly and the cashew nuts help to make it firmer anyway, so you are looking for the amount of gelatine to set about 1 cup of liquid)
2 Tablespoons water
Cover the cashew nuts with water and leave in the fridge to soak for a minimum of 4 hours
Wash the peaches and remove the stones
Discard the soaking water from the cashew nuts
Place the peaches and cashew nuts in a blender and blend until completely smooth - a minimum of two minutes
Soak the gelatine in water for a few minutes
Put the soaked gelatine in a bowl over a pot of boiling water (or bain-marie) with 2 Tablespoons of water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the boiling water underneath)
Stir until completely dissolved (about a minute), then add to the peaches and cashew liquid and stir well
Pour into moulds and leave to set in the fridge for 4-6 hours (or overnight)
When set put the moulds in hot water for a few seconds (without letting the water touch the dessert) then tip onto a plate and serve
Lightly oil the moulds with a small amount of vegetable oil if you want to get the dessert out cleanly while still retaining all the detail from your mould.
For an even easier option, just serve straight from the moulds.