Raw chocolate cream pie

This plant-based chocolate pie is creamy yet light, decadent yet healthy. If you like chocolate with roasted nuts and fresh fruit, you will love this pie! It’s my daughter Alexandra’s favourite dessert.

I created this pie filling with 100% pure cacao powder, medjool dates, cashew cream, some maple syrup and pink grapefruit juice. The base is made with whole almonds, whole hazelnuts, oats, dates and maple syrup.

With most cream pies, the base turns soggy. In this recipe, to avoid a soggy base, I roasted the hazelnuts and almonds and then chopped them by hand with a long blade knife. Don’t use a processor or blender for chopping the nuts as they will come out too fine and powdery and your base will be soggy.

For the filling to set, I added one tablespoon of Agar-Agar powder. Agar is a plant-based alternative to gelatine and can be found in most supermarkets. There’s no dairy, no flour and no white sugar in this pie. Instead, it’s naturally sweetened with dates and maple syrup. You can’t taste the dates nor the maple syrup; they just add a subtle sweetness to the entire pie (this explains why my daughter loves this dessert!).

As for chocolate, there’s ongoing evidence that dark chocolate with 70% cacao or cocoa is good for health and longevity. It can help improve cognitive function and reduce stress.

So there you go! Who knew that a piece of chocolate pie was good for your health!

When the pie is done and has cooled, put it in the freezer for four hours or overnight. Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the fridge and the pie will continue to hold its shape.

Raw chocolate cream pie

Base

  • 1 cup whole almonds with skins, roasted
  • ½ cup whole hazelnuts, roasted
  • ½ cup small-size rolled oats, roasted
  • ½ teaspoon (tsp) powdered vanilla
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted + ¼ cup water (dates should be fresh; on soft/moist side)
  • 3 tablespoons (tbsp) maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pink salt or sea salt

Procedure

Oven at 350°F /180 °C.

Cover the bottom of one 22 cm (8½ inches) springform pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides.

Spread almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put rolled oats in a small ungreased pan and add the vanilla. Dry roast the oats on medium-high on stove top, stirring constantly until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium-size bowl.

Take almonds and hazelnuts out of oven and chop them small using a long blade knife (roasted nuts chop easily). Don’t process them because they will be too fine and powdery and your base will be soggy. Mix the chopped nuts with the roasted oats.

In a small microwaveable bowl, put the pitted dates and add the water. Push the dates into the water and put a lid on. Microwave on high for 10 seconds to soften the dates. Take out and discard the water. Add the maple syrup and process with a handheld blender to obtain a caramel.

Add the caramel to the almond, hazelnut and oat mixture and mix with a fork until well incorporated. The mixture should feel sticky and moist with small/coarsely chopped nuts. It shouldn’t feel wet. Transfer the mixture to the pan and press it down evenly, firmly and tightly with your hands to the bottom to form a base. You can also use the bottom of a small bowl or a glass.

In Switzerland, Agar Agar is available in 8 grams sachets.

Chocolate cream filling

  • 2¼ cups cashew cream*
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted (dates should be fresh; on soft/moist side)
  • 2 tbsps pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsps pure cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup pure pink grapefruit juice or orange juice (no sugar added)
  • 8 grams (1 tbsp) powdered Agar-Agar

* Cashew cream is simple to make. It’s made with raw cashews and water and can be made in less than 10 minutes. Go to the link for the recipe.

Procedure

In a small and narrow pot on stove top, heat the cashew cream, pitted dates and maple syrup. Bring to the boil and quickly reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes to thicken whilst stirring and banging the dates with a wooden spoon until they dissolve.

Add the fruit juice and cacao powder and simmer whilst stirring constantly for one minute.

Add the Agar-Agar powder and stir and simmer for one more minute. The Agar-Agar needs to simmer in the mixture for one minute to form a gel.

Take off heat and process the mixture directly in the pot with a handheld blender to make it all very smooth and eliminate any possible leftover date chunks.

Agar-Agar works quickly, so quickly pour and spread the hot chocolate mixture on top of the pie crust. It will soon form a gel.

Let the pie cool to room temperature. When cool, pass a thin knife around the outer edge just to loosen it slightly. Cover with foil or a tea towel and put the pie in the freezer for four hours or overnight or longer.

Take out and let the pie thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours (more or less depending on house temperature). Pass a thin knife around the edge again, remove the springform rim and transfer the pie to a platter. Garnish with fresh strawberries or other fruit. Serve. You can sprinkle the top with dark chocolate shavings.

There’s no need to store the pie back in the freezer. It keeps and holds perfectly in the fridge with a cover or a foil. I can’t say exactly how many days it keeps because in this family, by day 2, there’s no more left.  It’d say that it keeps for 3 to 4 days.

Enjoy!

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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