Raw Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Breaking with tradition, we've upgraded the classic Pumpkin Pie with antioxidant-rich raw cacao and a nutrient-dense crust that is so easy and requires no baking! Enjoy leftovers in the morning to fuel your day.
One of the most confusing ingredients out there is...drum roll please...sugar! I get asked so often about which form of sugar is safest to consume. Keep in mind that all sugars should be consumed in moderation but are obviously necessary when making a sweet dessert.
In short, I prefer sweeteners that come in whole food form such as dates, for example. Nutrient-rich dates also provide dietary fiber that help slow the uptake of sugar in the blood and help reduce blood sugar spikes. Dates work well in a pie crust, like we've used here but they don't always work when you're trying to achieve a smooth texture in a pie filling. We could have tried some of our other favorite sweeteners, such as unsulfured blackstrap molasses (rich in iron), real maple syrup (mineral rich), yakon syrup (prebiotic rich), lucuma (anti-inflammatory), or honey (unless you're vegan) but we needed a non-liquid option to achieve desired consistency. So in this case, we opted for a good quality unrefined, organic coconut sugar, which is made from the nectar of the coconut blossom, is considered lower glycemic (albeit high in sucrose) and boasts a healthy potassium content as well as amino acids and other naturally occurring nutrients. Coconut Sugar can be used as a 1:1 replacement for refined cane sugar and worked perfectly in this recipe.
Cacao (cacao Theobroma) is native to South America but grown in equatorial regions mostly within 21 degrees of the equator, making Hawaii the only state in the US to grow cacao. Cacao beans come from the pulp of the fruit and are one of nature’s most potent antioxidant foods. Cacao nibs are the least processed end product of the cacao bean pod.
Cacao contains hundreds of beneficial chemicals, including:
· Phenylethylamine (PEA), the “love” chemical,
· Ananamide, the “bliss” chemical,
· Tryptophan, an essential amino acid,
· Seratonin, a natural anti-depressant,
· Endorphins, a natural pain reliever that can also be produced with exercise,
· Theobromine, a relative of caffeine,
· Omega-6 fatty acids, and
· Magnesium...just to name a few.
Research has shown that cacao helps neutralize free radicals, can reduce effects of aging, improve cardiovascular health and circulation, lower blood pressure, balance brain chemistry, relieve symptoms of PMS, and promotes a sense of happiness and well-being. Keep in mind that these benefits can be negated with added refined sugars, flavors, oils, etc. And because of the theobromine content, it’s generally recommended to keep cacao consumption to 1 TB per day.
Hawaiian Alaea red salt (aka red clay sea salt) gets its color from iron oxide-rich volcanic red clay. Loaded with minerals, and with a soft hint of brine, it pairs well with rich flavors. We thought it worked nicely here but you could easily substitute with a fine sea salt or Himalayan pink salt.
Pure vanilla extract is rich in antioxidants, and is appreciated for calming anxiety and promoting sleep. This delicious ingredient also boasts antibacterial and anti- inflammatory properties and may also support brain health.
Vanilla is a labor intensive crop, as each vanilla orchid plant must be hand pollinated, which makes this a more expensive ingredient. You can save a little money if you take a little time to make your own extract by simply adding 4 split vanilla beans to a 4 ounce jar of alcohol of choice (rum, bourbon, tequila all work), store in a dark place and shake often. Your extract will be ready in 3-4 months!
Note: vanilla extract sometimes gets confused with less expensive vanilla flavor, which is NOT the same and considered a non-nutrient and possibly even toxic.
So let's get started with what you'll need to make your pie.
All of these ingredients should be widely available and may already be in your pantry:
- organic rolled oats
- raw pecans
- raw walnuts
- raw cacao
- cacao nibs
- Medjool dates
- coconut oil
- pure vanilla extract
- pureed pumpkin (or butternut squash)
- ground flax meal
- coconut cream
- coconut sugar
- pumpkin pie spice (or ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
Raw Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
· 1/2 cup raw pecans
· 1/2 cup raw walnuts
· 1 cup organic rolled oats (preferably sprouted)
· 3 TB cacao nibs
· ½ tsp sea salt (or Hawaiian red salt)
· 1 TB pure vanilla extract (preferably good quality like La’ie Vanilla Co.)
· 3 Medjool dates, washed, pitted and soaked for 15 min.
· 1 TB coconut oil (or sub cacao butter), melted
· 1 ½ cups pureed pumpkin, fresh or canned (sub butternut squash)
· ½ cup raw cacao powder
· 1 TB pure vanilla extract
· 3 flax eggs
· ¼ cup coconut cream*
· ¾ cup coconut sugar (sub monkfruit sweetener)
· 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (sub ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg)
· ½ tsp sea salt (or Hawaiian red salt)
· 1 TB golden rum or bourbon (use good quality), optional
Optional toppings (shown): shredded coconut, chocolate granola (by Lonohana Chocolate), chopped dried orange slices.
1) Make the crust by adding all the dry crust ingredients (pecans, walnuts, oats, cacao nibs, salt) to a food processor and process until you reach a fine texture. Be careful not to over process or your crust may get mushy.
2) Add vanilla extract, dates, and coconut oil (at room temp or soft) and process until combined.
3) Press the mixture into a 9.5” round glass pie pan. Using clean fingers, press the mixture until smooth and even, going up as high as possible around the sides. Refrigerate while you prepare your filling.
4) To make the filling, start by making the flax eggs by combining 3 TB ground flax meal with 7 TB water and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
5) Clean the food processor by wiping clean with a towel or by washing and drying thoroughly.
6) Add all the filling ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth. Pour mixture over crust and return to refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. Serve with optional toppings and consume within 3-5 days.
*for coconut cream, refrigerate a full-fat can of coconut milk overnight and use the solids that collect on the top of the can. Save the rest for using in smoothies and stews. Alternatively, you can purchase a can of coconut cream and shake well before using. The less liquid you use the firmer your pie will be.
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