Raw vegan desserts are often better than their original inspiration. Ice cream, chocolates, cheese cakes… tiramisu: I’ve experienced vegan and raw vegan versions of each of these treats that would make your big toe shoot out your boot. Just another example of how plant-based living can be easy, delicious and healthy… win, win, win.
The inspiration for these mini-pies came from a chef and friend named Dorothy. I used to stop off and stay with Dorothy and her husband Robert when traveling from Michigan to Florida and the reverse. They were living in Nashville, TN, which was a perfect midway stopping point. Upon my first visit I was lavished with miso soup made with re-hydrated veggies from their garden. And the pièce de résistance or more appropriately “pie de résistance” were mini cheeze cakes that she pulled from the freezer, all organized by flavor in various ziplock bags. She had come to the realization that full-sized pies were difficult to store and thaw. Solution: mini pies.
Flash forward 5 years and I’m now living in Florida and Dorothy and Robert are in Philadelphia… last I checked. I’ve never forgotten those pies and the brilliance of their miniature-ness.
Mini-pies require a mini-pie form
I started out doing this with small spring forms. This method works but you’re limited by the number of spring forms you have. Quality forms cost around $3-5 each or you can get 3 or 4 for $10-18. This is the more expensive and a more tedious way of going about this. Making raw pies 4 at a time is not an efficient use of time and plus those spring forms are a bit awkward to store. On top of that they’re usually coated with teflon. If you’re making raw vegan desserts, you’re likely informed enough to know that teflon is bad news and no matter how careful you are with teflon cookware, it inevitably ends up with scratches that can potentially flake off into your food.
Silicon Muffin Pan (Silpan)
This is one solution that optimizes mini-pie making. These forms store well, hold from 6 to 12 pies at a time and they clean up quick and easy. The one drawback with these molds versus a metal muffin pan is that they aren’t rigid and bend and twist when you lift them from the counter. This bending makes a mess of your pies before you can get them in the freezer. The solution I found was to use a rigid piece of cardboard the size of the silicon pan. You could also use a cutting board. You will need enough space in the freezer to accommodate the silpan and the cutting board.
Basic Mini Pie Recipe
- Crust – enough for 10 to 12 mini pies
- 1 C dates (4 oz) – pitted and chopped
- 3/4 C walnuts (2 oz)
- 2 TB sprouted buckwheat (1 oz optional)
- 1 tsp chia seeds (.15 oz) – ground
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
- pinch of Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp water – if crust is to dry and doesn’t bind
Pulse ingredients in food processor with S-blade until combined. Texture should be coarse. Press mixture against side of processor to see if it holds together. If it crumbles, it is too dry. Run food processor on low and add the water. Ideal texture holds together when compressed.
Use a large spoon or 2 TB spoon to measure out crust and drop it into each of the silpan cells. I fill all the cells before I tap down the crust. Extra crust can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer for later usage… or just eat it. For tapping down the crust I use the pusher from a Champion Juicer. Ideally you want something that’s round with a flat bottom that fits into the cells. Spoons don’t work. Get creative. Tap all the crusts down evenly.
- 1 1/4 C raw cashews (5.15 oz)
- 1/2 C water
- 1/4 C agave or sweetener of choice (clear agave gives best look)
- 2 TB Irish moss gel
- 2 TB lemon juice
- 1 TB coconut oil
- 1 tsp sunflower lecithin
- pinch of Himalayan salt
Place all ingredients except lecithin in a high powered blender and blend smooth. Scrape down the sides of blender and continue blender until you have a perfectly smooth texture. Add the lecithin and blend for 5 to 10 seconds.
This is the base filling with no fruit added or coloring. It should have a sweet and lightly sour taste. We’re trying to replicate cheese cake, so that bit of sour is needed. Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of this mixture into your mini pie form. You want to fill the cells at least 1/2 way. I tend to fill them more than half. The left over pie filling will be used to make the fruit creme layer. Add a 1/2 Cup of fresh berries or thawed frozen fruit. This where you add color and flavor. Strawberries and blueberries are an easy addition but the skies the limit. You can also add CACAO POWDER to make a chocolate cheeze cake.
- Flavored Filling
- 1/2 C fresh fruit/thawed fruit or 1/4 C cacao powder
- 1 TB agave
- For strawberry I sometimes add 1/4 tsp beet powder for color
Blend smooth and top off your pie cells. Use a chopstick or tooth pick to swirl in the mixture. At this point you can also float a piece of fruit, flowers or cacao nibs on top. Once finished swirling and decorating, place the pies in the freezer for 4 hours to set. Once they’ve set you can pop them out of the silpans and store them in freezer bags. Easy as pie!
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you. Leave comments and even requests. – Keep It Live!