Raw Apple Pie

Rawpple Pie

The set of Pyrex bowls I bought when I moved into my apartment came with a pie plate, and I was at a bit of a loss because I’ve never made a pie before in my life.  For months, it sat in the bottom drawer of my kitchen, serving as a container for the various blades and attachments that came with my food processor.  Finally, I decided that enough was enough, and it was time to make a pie!  This was my first time making any kind of raw dessert fancier than simple raw ice creams, sorbets, or brownies (which simply require tossing all of the ingredients in a food processor), and it was also my first time making a pie from scratch.  I’ve never been much of a pie person (even before going vegan), but I definitely think that this rawpple pie is the best pie I’ve ever eaten!

Rawpple Pie

I decided to make a raw pie for several reasons.  First of all, I was not willing to go through the trouble of making a regular pie crust and having to deal with rolling it out, pre-baking it, and whatever other steps go into making pie dough.  Secondly, I tend not to care for cooked fruit, and I generally prefer almost every type of fruit in its raw form (peaches, berries, apples, etc.).  Finally, I’ve been trying to incorporate more raw foods into my diet, and I think that delicious desserts are the easiest way to do this (and as an added bonus, I never feel guilty even if I eat a huge portion)!
This recipe was largely based on Ani Phyo’s recipe for All-American Apple Pie, although I made several changes.  The recipe can be found on pg. 211 of her book Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, or online with an accompanying instructional video.  I altered the recipe based on the ingredients I had on hand (for instance, I was out of salt, so I substituted a teaspoon of unpasteurized sweet white miso, though I think it also would also have been fine to omit it) and ideas I had read online in other recipes for raw apple pie (such as pureeing one of the apples as part of the syrup for the filling).  I also adjusted the ingredients based on my preferences, which led me to omit the raisins that are included in the original recipe.  As far as I can tell, this recipe is very easy to adapt to suit your needs, and you could use different nuts or fruit and still end up with delicious results.
Although preparing the ingredients and assembling the pie took a long time, the actual work involved was easy and relatively foolproof.  I used Derrie dates that I had bought at my local Farmer’s Market (although Medjool dates would also be a great choice), and I ended up using about 1 1/3 pounds for the entire recipe.  I chose to use Fuji apples from the Farmer’s Market for the filling, and since I bought “cosmetically-challenged” ones (because I was just going to peel and slice them), I managed to get a great discount.  In spite of this, the ingredients ended up being quite expensive, which I think was a bigger downside to making the pie than the three hours I spent working on it.

Rawpple Pie

Most of the preparation time was spent pitting the dates, preparing the apples, and layering the apples into the crust.  The crust was not as sturdy as I had hoped, but I think that was probably because my almonds may not have been completely dry after soaking them.  I used the same method for soaking and air-drying the raw almonds that I described in my recipe for Raw Brownies (in fact, I used the rest of the soaked almonds to make a delicious batch of brawnies!).  Also, even though I floured the bottom of the dish with ground almonds, I still had some issues with the crust sticking to the pan (although that may be partially due to the fact that I don’t have a pie wedge and had to maneuver slices out with a regular cooking spatula), so I wouldn’t bother with that step if I make the pie again.  After pressing the dough into the pie dish, I put it in the freezer while I worked on preparing the filling, which I think improved the cohesiveness of the crust for the pieces I served immediately after completing the pie.
The pie requires between 5-6 apples (one of which will go into the syrup), depending on their size; I used 5 1/2 of the Fuji apples I bought, and the leftover half made a delicious snack.  I peeled and cored the apples by hand, then used my V-slicer to cut them into uniformly-thin slices.  Having such thin pieces had various advantages and disadvantages; for example, it was difficult to toss the slices with the syrups since they were so fragile and broke easily, but the thin slices also made the presentation more impressive.  It was also more time consuming to layer the thin slices into the crust (whereas I could have just dumped in the bowlful of filling if the pieces had been thicker).  On the other hand, the thin slices avoided any problems with the raw apples being overly crunchy, and helped the pie filling to instantaneously achieve a somewhat cooked quality.  In the future, I think it would be better to use the thicker setting on my V-slicer, or to simply cut the apples by hand.
For the syrup, I pureed one of the Fuji apples and doubled the amount dates.  I didn’t need to add any water since my orange was so juicy, but even though I halved the amount of cinnamon called for in the original recipe and only used 1 tablespoon, I still found the taste to be a bit overpowering.  After storing the pie in the refrigerator overnight, the apples seemed to release some liquid, which made the crust even less sturdy although the pie was still fabulous.
Making rawpple pie was a fun and rewarding experience, and it would be great to serve on a special occasion. Since the pie does not have a very long shelf-life (the recipe says it will keep in the refrigerator for only two days, but all of mine was eaten up by the next morning), it might not be the best recipe for people who only cook for themselves.  Although I definitely think that the pie was worth the effort, if I made it again (or any variation of it with other fruit) I will probably opt for a cobbler presentation and just scoop some of the crust and filling onto a plate to save time and energy (it would also make it easy to adjust the yield and only prepare individual servings at a time).  If your on the market for a delicious raw dessert, this pie would be a great recipe to try!

Rawpple Pie

Rawpple Pie
Adapted from “All-American Apple Pie”
Yield: 1 pie

Crust:
2 cups raw almonds, soaked and dried
2 cups pitted dates
1 teaspoon sweet white miso (optional)

Filling:
1 orange, peeled and seeded
1 apple, peeled and cored
1 cup pitted dates
2 teaspoons cinnamon

4 – 5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

Pulse the almonds in the food processor until they form a coarse meal. Add the pitted dates and the miso, and process until the mixture comes together into a cohesive dough.  Press the dough into your pie plate and store in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Process the orange and one of the apples in the food processor until they are pureed.  Add the dates and cinnamon and process again until smooth.

Place the sliced apples into a large bowl, pour the syrup mixture over it, and carefully toss until apple slices are thoroughly coated. Layer the syrup-covered slices into the prepared crust.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for later!

Rawpple Pie

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May 25, 2009. Raw. 16 comments.

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few months ago, a posted about the Chocolate Chip Cookies that serve as my go-to recipe when I want a quick, easy-to-make, and relatively-healthy cookie.  As I mentioned at the time though, those cookies are not the ones I make if I’m hoping to impress others with how delicious vegan baked goods can be.  In those situations, the cookie recipe I’ve always used is Dreena Burton’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies.
The recipe is available online and there is even an instructional video to go along, but it can also be found in her cookbook, Everyday Vegan.  I love how simple the recipe is, and the fact that is doesn’t require margarine, egg replacer, or any ingredients that you wouldn’t be likely to find in an omnivore’s kitchen.  I usually use all-purpose flour and substitute applesauce for some of the oil (the cookies in these photos were made entirely with applesauce, which is why they’re a bit pancake-ish).  I’ve gotten very different results from using different kinds of sugars (granulated, rapadura, turbinado, etc.) so if you make a batch that isn’t to your liking, it might be worth making the cookies again with a different sugar.  This recipe is the only reason I ever kept molasses in my kitchen, but if you’re not a molasses person I assume it would be fine to use brown sugar to achieve basically the same results.  I’ve quadrupled the recipe in the past to make enough to share with my entire Calculus class, and the cookies were just as delicious as when I make a single recipe!
Everyone I’ve ever made these cookies for (vegan and omni alike) have absolutely loved them, so I heartily recommend giving them a try!

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 15, 2009. Cookies. 1 comment.

Cinnamon Caramel Ice Cream

Cinnamon Caramel Ice Cream

This fabulous raw ice cream is my new favorite dessert!  It’s gotten to the point where I always make sure to have the ingredients on hand so I can whip up a batch if I‘m in the mood, and the finished dessert is so healthy that I don’t feel the least bit guilty about eating it all the time.  I think this combination is the best banana-based ice cream I’ve made so far, and it’s so simple to prepare!

Cinnamon Caramel Ice Cream

I feel a bit misleading in calling this recipe Cinnamon Caramel Ice Cream, since the “caramel” is actually pieces of Medjool dates, but I think the name is fitting overall.  To make the ice cream, simply blend a few frozen bananas in your food processor, then add a handful of pitted Medjool dates, a pinch of cinnamon, and a bit of agave nectar, and pulse until the dates are chopped into small pieces.  You can easily adjust the ingredients and their proportions to better suit your preferences, for instance by omitting the agave nectar or cinnamon or substituting other types of dates.  I like to go heavy on the dates since they’re my favorite part (the chunks of frozen date get caught in your teeth like the most delightful gobs of caramel), with just a hint of cinnamon to round out the flavor without being overpowering.
You can serve the ice cream right away as soft-serve, or place it in the freezer overnight to firm up to the consistency of regular ice cream. I love to eat a scoop or two alongside a brawnie, or to simply have a bowlful as a healthy, satisfying dessert!

Cinnamon Caramel Ice Cream

May 5, 2009. Frozen Desserts, Raw. 6 comments.