In recent years, I have found myself gradually putting on weight. After trying almost every "fad" diet out there, I decided the best, long-term solution is to move towards a plant based diet, with a large portion of this being raw fruits and veggies. To help my appetite reset, I decided to do a 4-week, 100% rawfood cleanse. I have done this in the past and the first few days always go pretty smooth, but you can only eat so much salad before you get bored. This time I made it about a week before one day I was here at the house by myself, and the cravings set in. I found myself searching the house from top to bottom and nothing that was "allowed" sounded good. So I decided to experiment:-)
I decided I wanted pie. Something creamy and decadant. In the rawfood world, I knew that nuts and dates created wonderful raw crusts, and I knew avacados and cashews take the place of dairy. So I looked around my kitchen...
Hmmm... I had several avacados that were perfectly ripe and needed to be used within the next day or so. I also noticed I had limes. I decided I would experiment with making a mostly raw key-lime pie. I say "mostly" because the only ingredient that is heated at all is the organic maple syrup, but if you wanted to keep it 100% raw, you could use agave nectar or raw honey. Either one would work just fine.
Let's start with the list of ingredients.
FOR THE CRUST
(1) cup walnuts
(1) cup pecans
(1) cup pitted dates
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tsp Sea Salt
FOR THE FILLING
(4) ripe, mashed avacados
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh lime zest
1/2 cup pitted, medjool dates soaked in 1/2 cup very warm water
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup (or other sweetener such as raw honey)
FOR THE TOPPING
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lime zest
TO MAKE THE CRUST
Put the nuts, pitted dates, and sea salt in a food processor, place your hand firmly on the top to keep your processor from "walking" away. Be prepared for a LOT of noise! Allow the mixture to process for 10-20 sec and stop occasionally. Keep doing this in cycles until the nuts and dates are pretty small. About the size of whole peppercorns, or slightly smaller. Once you have reached this size, pour in the maple syrup and process until the mixture begins to come together. And your crust mixture is ready!
Here is the picture breakdown:
Here are the whole nuts and dates prior to mixing. (In this particular batch, I used almonds and cashews, so it's really up to you as to what kind of nut you want to use. I do recommend using 2 different types for depth of flavor.
A quick shot of the front of my processor. I use an old 80's Cuisinart food processor. Nothing fancy!
Here is what the mixture should look like when it's ready.
Now it's time to prepare the crust. I use a 9-10" springform cake pan. I also spray it lightly with cooking spray because it makes taking the pie out a breeze!
And start moving the mixture around. I wear exam gloves so that the mixture does not stick and makes it easier to press it in.
Here is the finished product. Isn't it pretty?! Now just set this aside and let's start on the yummy filling!
HOW TO PREPARE THE FILLING
Into the food processor, put the soaked medjool dates along with the soaking water, the fresh lime juice, lime zest, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Process until smooth.
**Note** If you want a smooth and silky pie, I recommend using a blender for these ingredients. A food processor will not completely break down all the chunks, and you will be left with some small chuncks of dates.
The finished product (sans avacado) using a high-speed blender.
Ok. At this point I transfer the mixture back to the food processor. You don't need to wash the food processor between making the crust and the filling. This is what mine looked like, and I used it. It's saves time, and hey that's a big deal! Here's how my food processor looked after the crust mixture..
From this point I pour the brown, sugary mixture back into the food processor..
Then I add the smashed avacados and blended until smooth. Check out this bright green deliciousness!!
Now simply pour the pie filling into the prepared crust.
Now all you do is smooth out the top using an offset spatula!
Depending on how big your avocados are, the amount of filling you end up with will vary. My avocados were pretty good size. Notice in the picture above the crust is slightly above the level of the filling. So I went ahead and pressed down on the crust to make it look nice and neat:-)
Ok now for the fresh lime zest topping! All you do is mix 1 Tbsp of lime zest and 1/4 cup raw sugar. This is what it looks like.
Now just sprinke on top and spread around to make an nice, even layer.
Because the pie is still fresh and gooey, the sugar topping will settle in during the chilling process, and you will be left with a fresh, crunchy top!
Now all you do is wrap the pie in saran wrap and place in the freezer for 4-6 hours.
I hope you enjoy!!