Monday, November 5, 2012

Pecan Chai Pie on Cashew Crust

The name of this dessert alone sucked me right in! Then I read the ingredients and saw some of my favorite spices; cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.

This is an almost guilt free dessert when compared to something like a traditional pecan pie and I am sure it takes a lot less time to prepare. 

When it comes to raw desserts (raw food in general, really) a couple things occur to me. The first is how amazing all the fresh ingredients smell. In this dessert I just want to immerse myself in the vibrant aroma of the fruits, nuts, and spices, that once mixed together are like aromatherapy heaven. They literally smell alive and the best thing is that this dessert smells like fall to me. So it's seasonally appropriate too!

The second thing I notice is how filling raw foods are. I can pack away a lot of food for a small person, especially desserts (which I do not share). With raw foods, I can usually only eat half of a portion and I am full and feel totally satisfied...AND...that satiety lasts me for hours.

The food postings I am doing on raw food recipes are new to me in terms of preparation . During my vegan years I bought my food already made and packaged from Whole Foods. Since I wasn't really into cooking or baking at that time, it was much easier to stay on track and assure I wasn't consuming animals and was getting healthy, fresh meals..and got my desserts in, of course.

So if this is new to you and seems 'weird' because it's not traditional baking, stick with's new to me too! It is different and some recipes will require some different tools, like a dehydrator, but it's another adventure in culinary experiences, as I see it anyway...and because it is raw food , you get the nutritional benefits of foods that are in their prime and haven't had their beautiful enzymes cooked out. This is also a nice option/addition to quickly put together if you entertain and some of your visitors have vegetarian or vegan needs, or maybe they are on a traditional weight-loss 'diet'...perhaps they will feel better about indulging if they know it is actually good for them.


Cashew Crust
1 cup cashews, dry
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (Medjool, khadrawhi, or other semi-soft date)
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

1 medium orange, zested, peeled, and seeded
1 cup pitted dates
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp grated nutmeg
Splash of water, as needed

4 cups pecans, dry

Required: Blender and/or Food Processor


To make crust, pulse cashews, vanilla, and salt in your food processor. Slowly add the dates and process into a dough-like consistency. Empty into a bowl.

cashew crust

Use some of the shredded coconut to "flour" the bottom of a pie pan. Mix Remaining coconut into the bowl with the cashew mixture. Press into the "floured" pie pan.

'flour' bottom with coconut

spread crust into bottom of dish

To make syrup, place orange pulp into the bottom of a blender. Add dates, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg and blend. Add a splash of water as needed to make a thick syrup. Set aside.

making the filling

To make filling, mix pecans, syrup, and 1 tbsp orange zest well. Spoon filling into pie crust.

Will keep for four to five days in the fridge.


Makes one pie

For 16 servings, per serving: Calories 300, protein 5g, carbohydrates 25g, fat 21g, sugar 16g

Percent daily value: potassium 11%, vitamin C 9%, calcium 4%, iron 10%, vitamin E 6%, thiamin 15%, riboflavin 4%, niacin 4%, vitamin B6 7%, folate 5%, vitamin K 6%, phosphorous 14%, magnesium 18%, zinc 13%, copper 31%, maganese 80%, selenium 5%, dietary fiber 25%

Source: ani's raw food kitchen

Crystal's Notes

  • Instead of one pie pan, I used 8 of my 5" ceramic dishes, which when compared to her serving reference would equal 2 servings per mini pie dish.
  • When making the syrup, you may need to use more than a 'splash' of water. I ended up with a paste and kept adding water until it was indeed a thick syrup.
  • After zesting and peeling the orange, I made sure to remove as much of the outer white skin of the orange segments as possible until it resembled a thick pulpy orange juice that I might get at the store.
  • I rolled the cashew crust into 8 balls and then flattened into discs and placed one in each ceramic dish. When pressing them out into the dish, I found it helpful to wet my fingers which prevented the crust from sticking to my fingers and allowed for a more successful smoothing out of the crust.
  • Use raw nuts and not salted ones. If all you have on hand is salted, then I would suggest to put them in a bowl and cover with double the amount of filtered water and let sit overnight. In the morning, rinse them off disposing of the salty water. DRY - this recipe calls for DRY nuts, so you can use a dehydrator at 104 to dry for about 3 - 4 hours. Or dry out on a cookie sheet for several hours, being sure to move the nuts and rotate the sheets around.

Until next time, have a great day!


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