“I can’t believe it’s not pumpkin” pie
There are an epic number of pumpkin pies being shared this week, so why another? As the name implies, this is no ordinary pumpkin pie. It’s actually made with nuts and carrot juice!
I first had the opportunity to try this raw vegan pie when Jess, a.k.a. Natural Chef Niagara, came to my in-law’s house to cook and serve us a three-course vegan meal, which I had won as a raffle prize at the Niagara Veg Fest back in June. With busy schedules and newborn babies, we weren’t able to schedule a dinner until earlier this month but the wait was absolutely worth it.
Jess and her warming personality and incredible cooking talents made this night extra special. It was so nice to sit back, sip a glass of wine and watch her whip up our meal. Jess is a certified natural chef who studied at the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, and before moving to the Niagara region she lived and worked as a private chef in New York City. She had many interesting stories to tell about her work there and her aspirations for creating a similar base of clients in Canada.
A few weeks before, Jess and I discussed ideas for a menu and, based on my preferences and the availability of local, seasonal ingredients, and taking into account my husband’s cashew allergy, Jess came up with an incredible array of options for our evening.
As a starter, we were served a creamy butternut squash soup with apple barley salad. I absolutely loved the presentation of this dish—the barley salad in the middle of the soup gave each spoonful a little texture and a refreshing and tangy twist from the apples.
The main consisted of stuffed tempeh with yams, asparagus, mushroom ragout and kale chips. This dish incorporated some of my all-time favourite fall flavours, including mashed yams that were creamy and sweet, lightly sauteed and crispy kale, and the deep flavour notes and meaty texture of the mushroom ragout.
And finally, the “I can’t believe it’s not pumpkin” pie topped off this full meal. It consisted of a pecan crust and a creamy filling made of macadamia nuts, carrot juice and pumpkin pie spices. The texture of the filling is like a cross between a cheesecake and an ice cream cake but with pumpkin pie flavour. I loved this pie so much I asked for the recipe so I could make it again, and of course share the recipe with you!
After dessert, Jess cleaned the kitchen and dishes entirely and left any leftovers neatly in the fridge. For the entire evening, I truly felt like a queen.
For more information on Jess and her personal chef and catering services, check out her website.
"I can't believe it's not pumpkin" pie
Yield: 1 pie
For the crust:
- 2 1/4 cups raw pecans
- 4 dates
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- pinch of sea salt
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp carrot juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tbsp chopped thyme [I used 1/4 tsp dried thyme]
For the crust:
- In a food processor, pulse pecans and dates to small crumbs then mix the other ingredients in by hand. Press into a 9" tart pan or pie dish. Chill the crust in the freezer for about an hour before filling.
For the filling:
- Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender. Fill chilled pie shell. Chill in the freezer overnight for best results. Remove to set for 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe from Natural Chef Niagara.