The time has come to go outside of my comfort zone and tackle something unheard of for an avid baker like myself....I am about to make my first RAW DESSERT. My amazing colleague, Denia, has intrigued me with her Raw Food Diet. Wikipedia describes Raw foodism (or rawism) as "a lifestyle promoting the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet." Now, as a die hard baker, the first thought that came to mind was "how can you make a delicious dessert without the oven?" She assured me it was possible. Then, to prove it, she brought me a piece of Raw Key Lime Pie. As I stared at the slice of what appeared to be pie, I was skeptical. My thoughts swam with images of apple pies, fresh baked cookies, and warm chocolate cake out of the oven. But I took a bite anyway. And guess what? It tasted quite similar to the last key lime pie I ate. It was sweet yet tart, and the crust had a good texture and taste. So the gauntlet had been thrown down so to speak. Denia gave me a basic recipe to start off with, so here it goes. Come along for the ride...if you dare!
RAW KEY LIME PIE
3 Cups Almond Flour
4-5 Mejool Dates (make sure to take out the seeds!)
2 Tbl. Organic Coconut Oil (the "oil" has a consistency more so of vegetable shortening)
1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 1/4 Cup Key Lime Juice, freshly squeezed (regular limes are fine; I used about 8 limes total)
2 Ripe Avocados (yes, it does use avocados)
1/2 Cup Mango Slices
1/4-1/2 Cup Agave Nectar (Add to taste)
1/3 Cup Organic Coconut Oil
First, preheat your oven....just kidding. Leave the oven alone this time. Lets make the crust first. In a food processor, take the dates and coconut oil and process until smooth. Next, add the 3 cups of almond flour and process until thoroughly incorporated. Put this mixture into a spring form pan, and press into the bottom. If you don't have a spring form pan, don't worry! You can see that I just used a basic cake pan, but a normal pie dish would work too...it all depends on if you want to take it out of the pan for aesthetic reasons.
Next, lets make the filling. Take all of the ingredients, except for the agave nectar, and put them into a blender and puree until smooth. Take the agave nectar, starting with 1/4 cup, and add it to the mixture, working your way up to another 1/4 if needed. Once you have achieved the right sweetness for your taste, pour the mixture into the pan, and put it into the freezer. It should stay there for anywhere from 4-6 hours. If you want to spruce up your presentation, sprinkle over some raw shredded coconut or maybe even mango slices....the possibilities are endless, just as long as it's raw!
The question I was asking myself as I was looking at this recipe was "where do I find these products?" Luckily, living in NYC does have its perks. This city is a foodies paradise, and you can find ANYTHING. The place where I found the goods was Whole Foods, but buyer beware: the products are pretty expensive. As each item beeped across the scanner, my jaw dropped a little further to the ground. Another place to try (which I will most likely try next time!) is Trader Joe's. They are really great about having products for everyone (vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, and even omnivores like me!) but also at prices that the populous can afford. The good news is that I have enough agave nectar and coconut oil to last me awhile, so I looked at it more as an "investment."
So....what's the verdict? Has this hard core baker gone raw for good? Sorry, but no. As delicious as this recipe truly is, I most likely won't be converting to Rawism anytime soon. Part of the reason that I bake is that smell of something baking in the oven which brings on a sense of accomplishment. There truly is nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven in my opinion. Will I try another raw recipe in the future? Absolutely. But, for now, I am sticking with my oven. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go preheat her to 350 degree....