mini pie
Pie, Recipe, Uncategorized

Mini Cheeze Cakes – Mini Pies – Raw Vegan

mini pie

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.

Miso Soup
Miso Soup and Rehydrated Veggies

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

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.

Champion Juicer Pusher
  • Filling
  • 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!

Macadami_kiwi_pie2
Pie, Recipe

Epic Vegan Kiwi Pineapple Macadamia Pie

 

Macadami_kiwi_pie1   Greetings Health Fans,

Feast your eyes on this beauty of a raw vegan pie. It’s often difficult for me to eat something that looks so beautiful but the only thing better than how it looks is how it tastes.

Macadami_kiwi_pie5Don’t take my word for it though. Make one yourself. The crust features macadamia nuts and dates. The bottom layer has cashews, coconut milk and maple syrup. The top whipped layer uses the meat from young Thai coconuts blended with coconut milk and more macadamias. A layer of kiwi separates the bottom layer from the whipped goodness on top. The good news is that this pie is cruelty free, dairy-free and gluten-free. Follow the recipe below to experience your very own high pie-brational bliss.

Macadami_kiwi_pie3

Kiwi Macadamia Pie / Cheese Cake

Crust Layer:
1/2 cup dates (8) – pitted
1 C macadamias
1 C almonds
1/4 cup coconut flakes (add last)
1/4 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in food processor. Add coconut at the end and pulse in. Press crust mixture into pie pan or spring form.

Cheese Cake Layer:
2 C cashews soaked
1/2 C date (8) – pitted
1/3 C lemon/lime juice
1/3 C maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 C coconut oil (melted)
1/2 C nut milk ( almond or coconut)

Combine in blender. Pour into crust and allow to set in freezer for 3 hours. Once set, add a layer of cut fruit of your choice. Return to the freezer.

Whipped Topping:Macadami_kiwi_pie2
1 1/2 C coconut milk
1/2 C macadamias soaked
Meat of 3 Thai coconuts
2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 C maple syrup
3 TB coconut oil – melted

2 TB lecithin
Combine ingredients in blender adding lecithin last. Pour whipped topping onto frozen pie. Tap pie on counter to remove air bubbles. Set in freezer for 3 hours. Once set, decorate with fruit slices.

Allow to thaw for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Watch the videos for step by step instruction.

 

Pie, Recipe

Pawpaw pie is actually more American than apple pie

Still Life with Paw Paws

Thanks for joining me for the second installment of the “pawpaw diaries”. This weeks episodes features a video and recipe for pawpaw pie. Considering that pawpaw is the largest indigenous North American fruit, I think I’m justified in saying that pawpaw pie is more American than apple pie. Apples immigrated to North America with the European colonists while pawpaw was here long before they arrived.

Natural growing range of pawpaw

One interesting thing about the pawpaw tree is its flowers, which are tri-lobed and face the ground when in bloom. These funny flowers aren’t very fragrant and what little fragrance they have isn’t very friendly. Their smell has been likened to rotting meat which explains their native pollinators: blow flies, carrion beetles and the occasional fruit fly. I put my nose up to a flower in the Spring and really didn’t notice a smell at all. Pollinated flowers yield fruit that ripens by late September and early October here in Southwest Michigan. Ripe fruit drops from the trees and is a highly prized meal for deer, squirrels, fox, raccoons, possum and black bears. It’s rare to find an unblemished fruit on the ground. Usually they’ve been snacked on. The best harvesting technique I’ve found is to shake the tree and collect what hits the ground. You can admire my technique in the video included in my previous post on pawpaw.

Pawpaw Flower
Pawpaw Flower

The more I learn about pawpaw the more impressed I am with it. Why has no one ever heard of this fruit? Why can’t you get it in grocery stores?

Pawpaw at Whole Foods
Pawpaw at Whole Foods

Unfortunately pawpaw hasn’t quite made it mainstream… yet. While there are plenty of pawpaws feeding the woodlands creatures, they’ve only established themselves at local farmer’s markets and at regional grocery stores. Some of the disadvantages pawpaw’s have which are preventing them from being more mainstream is that they quickly ripen once picked, bruise easily and potentially ferment in their skin once ripe. Some varieties of pawpaw have shown to be better cultivars than others. The ideal pawpaw variety yields many fruit of large size with abundant flesh and few seeds. If Neal Peterson has his way, pawpaw would be seasonal staple around the country.

Neal Peterson tasted his first pawpaw in 1975 and since then he has made it his mission in life to develop pawpaws into viable cultivated crop. Over the past 30+ years he has created pawpaw varieties with outstanding yield, size, flavor and percentage of flesh. For those wishing to look into growing your own pawpaw, he is the authority and source for all things pawpaw.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:19]

blog, How To, Pie, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Chico Sapodilla Crumble

Feast your eyes on the fruit of the Manilkara zapota tree, commonly known as the sapodilla. I was first introduced to this variety of sapote while living in Taiwan and now I was being re-introduced to it in Kauai. It turns out that these little brown fruits have a different name in about every country that grows them. Bananas are pretty much bananas where ever you go but this sapodilla goes by the name baramasi (Bengal and Bihar, India); buah chiku (Malaya); chicle (Mexico); chico (Philippines, Guatemala, Mexico); chicozapote (Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela); chikoo (India); chiku (Malaya, India); dilly (Bahamas; British West Indies); korob (Costa Rica); mespil (Virgin Islands); mispel, mispu (Netherlands Antilles, Surinam); muy (Guatemala); muyozapot (El Salvador); naseberry (Jamaica; British West Indies); neeseberry (British West Indies; nispero (Puerto Rico, Central America, Venezuela); nispero quitense (Ecuador); sapodilla plum (India); sapota (India); sapotí (Brazil); sapotille (French West Indies); tree potato (India); Ya (Guatemala; Yucatan); zapota (Venezuela); zapote (Cuba); zapote chico (Mexico; Guatemala); zapote morado (Belize); zapotillo (Mexico). Keep in mind this list isn’t complete. I’m calling them chico sapote. You can pick your favorite name and go with it. Chicos only ripen once they’ve been pulled from the tree similar to avocados. Like many tropical fruits they have latex that oozes from the tree when picked. This latex substance is referred to as chicle which if you know Spanish then you know this word means gum. Yes, the sap from the sapodilla tree was used by natives as chewing gum. Once upon a time all chewing gum was made from this natural tree sap. Unfortunately most chewing gums made today are made from butadiene synthetic rubber. Yes, that’s a petroleum by product you are chewing.  Enough about chewing gum, what about the chico? There is also some of this latex in the unripe fruit as well as a very tannic chemical called saponin. This strongly discourages the consumption of unripe fruit because of the mouth drying effect of this chemical. Once ripe though the flesh of the fruit is soft, juicy and sweet with a malty caramel flavor and a gritty pear like texture. Inside the fruit are 1 to 3 black seeds. I ended up with a ton of these chicos so I had to get creative. Since apples are an imported novelty in the tropics I immediately felt that the sapodilla could be an acceptable substitute in my apple crumble recipe. Sure enough the chicos did the trick. All I was missing was a scoop of coconut mylk ice cream.

If you’re not living in the tropics then you can look for chicos/sapodillas at Asian markets, farmer’s markets and specialty grocery stores. The trees fruit twice a year so you can find them throughout the year. Be patient and wait until they ripen fully. They become soft and their flaky and leathery skin will wrinkle slightly when they’re full on ripe. If you have a chico surplus…. which I had after buying 20 lbs of chicos in Hawaii, you can puree the ripe flesh and pour them mixture into ice cube trays to be frozen. This makes a great exotic addition to smoothies. To eat a ripe chico cut it in half from top to bottom and scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon. Look out for the seeds.

Here’s the recipe for the Chico Sapote Crumble, dehydrator required:

Crust

  • 5 C nuts, pecans are my choice
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1/4 C dates – pitted
  • 2 T chia
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt

Filling

  • 3 cups chico sapote
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C mesquite, I like a lot of mesquite
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • 1/8 t clove
  • blend
  • fold in 1 C raisin

1.     Prepare the crust in the food processor.

2.     Split the crust mixture in half.

3.     Press half of the crust into the bottom of a casserole dish or rectangular spring form (10 by 12 inches).

4.     Pour the filling into the spring form on top of the crust.

5.     Crumble the remaining crust onto the filling evenly.

6.     Dehydrate at 115F – 120F 12 hours until crispy and dry.

7.     Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite raw vegan ice cream.

Stay tuned for the chico pie recipe… Keep it Live!