Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Raw and Vegan Chocolate Pie, hold the lies.

OK, so I'm gonna be real with you.  This pie, unlike my Raw and Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Cream, tastes quite different from its cooked and animalistic counterpart.  It's tasty, don't get me wrong, but it tastes healthy.  I don't mind that, because I love what it's doing for my body at the moment as opposed to if I were to have eaten a piece of real chocolate pie...(um, which I totally still love, by the way, so don't worry!!) 

But I just wanted to be totally honest with you.  Because don't you hate when you read a recipe, or food blog post, and some skinny bitch is telling you that her chocolate truffles made out of beans taste EXACTLY like a real chocolate truffle?  And then you excitedly make them, taste them and come to the disappointing conclusion that Mrs. Skinny probably hasn't had a real chocolate truffle since she was five and therefore is lying to all of us real food eaters.  So honestly, this pie tastes like a very delicious, healthy raw chocolate pie...with bananas.  It tastes like a chocolate banana raw pie, healthy style.  Make sense?  (I will NEVER lie to you, people.)

My husband loved it.  LOVED it.  There were groans and a couple 'how did you make this?!', which is always much appreciated, though I was a bit harder on the pie (and myself), but I figured it was a great success since he was the one I made it for.  It was his Valentine's Day present that I gave to him early.  I've always made a special (usually chocolate) dessert for him/us for Valentine's Day but this year, at the current moment, we've both been feeling a bit more cleansed and health conscience so I thought I'd experiment with some healthy desserts for the occasion.

And I'm glad that I did.  It was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make this pie work.  Oh, did I mention there's no sugar involved?  None.  Zilch.  Nada.  It's sweetened by fruit and held together by nuts and more fruit.  It was like a fun, little science project and I'm totally happy that I did it. 

Oh, and (cover your ears, Vegans) if you want a knock down, drag out, chocolate dessert option for V Day that is super easy to make and guaranteed to have you looking like a rock star, try my Chilled Chocolate Torte with Walnut Pretzel Crust.  Chocolate, cream and butter never tasted so good. 

(OK now, (clap, clap), Vegans awake!) Here you go, people- A naturally sweetened, healthy chocolate banana pie that will make your tummy oh-so-happy.  No lie.

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*Raw and Vegan Chocolate (and Banana...) Pie
First, place 1 (14-15 oz) can of  FULL FAT coconut milk in the fridge, do not open it, do not shake it.  This, in several hours, will become thick enough to mimic whipped cream to top the pie.

Now you need to soak your cashews so they become soft and blendable and become the backbone of the pie... 

-Soak 2 cups of raw cashews in enough water to cover them for at least 6 hours, but overnight is fine.  The water may turn a purpley-grey color, but that's ok.  (You can drain them and store the soaked nuts in the fridge if you aren't making the pie right away.)

Now make your crust...

-In a food processor combine 1 rounded cup of raw walnuts, 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes/shredded coconut and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt + a pinch.  (note-if you decide to use the sweetened coconut, found in most grocery stores, know that it is sweetened with corn syrup and therefore cannot be 'raw', but I would recommend upping the salt amount to 3/4 tsp to offset the sweetness.  Also if you need a sweeter crust, feel free to add agave to taste but I don't mind the more salty than sweet crust that the basic recipe brings.)
-Process til smooth and moist.
-Press into the bottom and up the sides of an UN-greased pie plate and set aside while you make your filling.
-OR if you want to make the crust several days in advance (I made mine a week prior!), then first chill completely, then cover it with plastic wrap and nestle another smaller pie plate inside so you have a protective layer and can stack things on top of it if need be. 
For the filling...

-In the same food processor (no need to clean it out if you're doing it all on the same day!) place your 2 cups of soaked and drained cashews, 1 1/2 cups of deglet noor* dates (8-9 ounces), 1/4 rounded cup raisins (2 oz), 2 ripe bananas, 1 ripe avocado, 1/2 cup of coconut cream/milk/creamer, 1/4 cup + 2 TB of dark cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, a good splash of vanilla extract and 1 tsp of instant espresso powder.
-Process this until completely smooth and of the consistency of chocolate frosting.  I actually was making this up as I went along so I first added everything above except the coconut creamer and then found that the mixture was too tight so below is a picture of the brand that I used, but any coconut milk product would work (no cream of coconut/'Coco Lopez'!), even a full fat soy or almond milk would be absolutely fine.  Below is just what I happened to have on hand for my coffee during my week of no dairy.
-When it's done, the filling looks like this:
-There will be visible air bubbles, but there should be no lumps.  This can take a few minutes to accomplish so be patient.  (And taste it now.  If you absolutely can't stand the fact that it isn't as sweet as a 'real' chocolate pie, then add some agave or honey or your sweetener of choice.  I was just determined to make another pie with no added sugars.) 

-Spread the filling mixture evenly over your prepared and chilled crust.  Place in the fridge to harden a bit for a couple hours, but overnight is fine if need be.
again, it looks lumpy but what you're seeing are air bubbles
 Now for the cream topping...

-Once your can of coconut milk has been in the fridge for at least 5 hours, you can open it and scoop out the firm top part into a bowl, leaving the coconut water behind.  DO NOT SHAKE THE CAN!  (For a more detailed tutorial on this check out my Coconut Scone post.) With an electric beater or whisk, beat the coconut cream with a splash of vanilla extract until fluffy.  (If you want a sweeter 'cream', then add your sweetener of choice to achieve what you're looking for.  There is a natural, very slight sweetness to coconut cream that I enjoy but you do what suits your taste buds.)

-Spread the whipped coconut cream evenly over the pie filling, making little peaks with your spatula.  Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

-Serve chilled.

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(*note on Deglet Noor Dates-this is often the most common variety of dates found in grocery stores and health food stores.  They are the smaller sized ones, used by commercial dried fruit companies, but can also be found in bulk at health food stores.  The type you see in the produce department are called Medjool dates and they are much larger and more moist.  Those would also work too, although they are generally more expensive.)

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