Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mango Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

I'm really enjoying making pies that are hidden inside forms, so that the opening is a surprise.
This one was for James' birthday. Since we had a key lime pumpkin for Valentine's Day, only the opening part was a surprise this time.

Opening the pumpkin.

When I asked James what he wanted for his birthday, he said mangos. There are three forms of mango in this pie. The outer crust is made with dried mango, dried coconut and dried goji berries. Between layers of chocolate, there is a layer of mango and goji berry jam. In the center is a mango/coconut cream/chia pie filling with a "seed" made of chocolate covered mango jam.

The different textures, flavours and tastes made it fun to eat.

Here's how it's made. I used a form to press the two layers of crust into. To make the melted chocolate, I ran pieces of some very dark chocolate through the food processor so that it was in small uniform pieces. (This makes it melt better). I put the chocolate pieces in a small pan and put this in the dehydrator to melt. It's wonderful to use the dehydrator this way, rather than melting over simmering water, because no water can get into the chocolate and the temperature is kept constant.

Once I pressed both the outer and inner crusts into the mold, I put it in the freezer to chill. For the outer crust, blend dried mango, coconut and goji berries in the dry carafe for vitamix. The recipe for the inner crust is the same as the key lime pumpkin, found here. That's the basic recipe, anyway. I never really measure. Once the crusts have chilled and the chocolate is melted, swirl a layer of chocolate into the molds and put them in the freezer to harden.

To make the mango jam, I just added water to the extra mixture I had made for the outside layer and blended it. Let it sit for a few minutes until it is fully hydrated. This is the most wonderful, no sugar way of making jams and spreads! Remove the molds from the freezer and add the jam layer. Let this firm up in the freezer.

Add another layer of chocolate. This is why it is so great to have the chocolate in the dehydrator, because you can just leave it there between layers and it's always ready for you when you need it. At this time, make a 2 balls of the mango jam, flat on the top, and coat them with chocolate. These will be the "seeds" of your strange "fruit". These go in the freezer too.

Put some chia seeds on to soak. Blend some mango into a puree with some coconut cream or coconut milk (just a little). Then add the soaked chia seeds and blend just enough to stir. This is the mango pie filling. Remove the forms from the freezer and spoon in just enough of the pie filling so that when you add the "seed" it will not over flow. Back into the freezer they go.

Of course, with each layer, you need to be aware that the two halves need to fit together, so don't make any one layer higher than the other.

Push the two halves together gently. Add a little more of the outside coating along the seam if needed. The final step is to coat the stem of the pumpkin with chocolate. Keep in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to serve.

We never eat dessert at the end of a meal. For us, a dessert IS a meal. This is both filling and nutritious. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Surprise

February is usually a busy month of celebration for us.
Valentine's day, James' birthday and our own yearly holiday: Pumpkin Day.

Pumpkin day occurs any day of the month in February. It notes the cooking and eating of the last pumpkin from the fall harvest. Before we began eating mostly raw food, we took delight in cooking the entire pumpkin in the oven, like a turkey.
I was wondering how we would celebrate Pumpkin Day this year, with raw food. I began to think that a pumpkin cheesecake would be fun and could also be James's birthday cake.

This year, while all three of these celebrations are happening in the same week, James is also leaving one job to begin another. At long last, he will be working from home, which will change aspects of our day to day life.

Because of this, I wanted to make a dessert that we could share.

*(just as a matter of scale, the spoons and forks are tiny dessert sized, not regular size.)

So, here we are, out by the little nectarine tree which has graciously burst into flower for the big week.

But there needed to be a twist, because of the surprise of the new job, and our new life about to begin.

Green is for new beginnings, and as I was thinking about making pumpkin cheesecake I found some beautiful little ripe key limes, and a recipe for a raw key lime pie arrived in my mailbox.

So this is the Valentine Surprise....a creamy mango key lime pie, hiding inside the pumpkin like treats in a piƱata.

The basic recipe for our Pumpkin Day Surprise came from here.

The outer crust for the pumpkin was made by grinding dried mango, coconut and goji berries together.

Happy Valentine's Day!

PS: I made this and took the photos the day before partly because I don't like to stop to take photos in the middle of a nice dinner but also because I was testing the structural integrity of the form: the pumpkin shape. I didn't want it to fall apart while we were looking at it or while I was bringing it to the table. It needs to be refrigerated, but the form was strong, and worked well.

When I served it for dinner, I added fresh, plump blueberries to each half before I sealed them together. I served the pumpkin with an extra dish of blueberries. (The dark blue looked wonderful in the light green of the pie).

The combination of the creaminess of the key lime pie, the two layers of crust, with their different flavours and the taste and texture of little orbs of blueberries was truly a feast for the mouth! A guilt free, nutritious treat.

The recipe made this pie plus several small lunch pies and a try of thumb print cookies. I added some water to the extra outer layer (made of dried mango, dried coconut and dried goji berries) and this made a delicious mango jam to put in the thumb print indentation of the cookie. (I didn't actually use my thumb. I had a metal tool from a small mortar and pestle that I used.)

I did not use agave in the key lime pie. I used maple syrup, but less than suggested in the recipe. Because of that, I used a little less lime juice, to keep the balance of the taste.

Our Daily Bread Part 3

Cumin Flatbread

Once again, I was so hungry that I forgot to sprinkle cayenne and add a squeeze of lime to the soup before I took the photo.
This flatbread is hearty, robust and full of flavour.
It is adapted from Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenny.
1&1/2 C walnuts, soaked overnight
2C pumpkin, chopped
1&1/2 T. ground cumin
1/4C olive oil
1/2 onion or 1 shallot, chopped
1-2 t. nutritional yeast
1-2 T. sweetener (I use maple syrup, which is not raw. Often raw chefs use agave, which is also not raw).
1/2T. salt
1C flax meal or 1&1/2 C soaked flax seed
If you are using flax meal, put that in a large bowl first, the process all other ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is quite smooth, then add the mixture to the flax and stir well. If you soak the flax seeds so that the phytates are removed, you need a high speed blender. Blend all ingredients except the flax. Cut the flax "cake" into strips that can be fed into the top of the vitamix, a little at a time, and blend in. This will give a somewhat different texture than using the food processor and flax meal.
Spread the mixture onto teflex sheets. This is a flat bread, not a cracker, so make them thicker, more than a quarter of an inch thick. Sprinkle cumin or salt or seeds of your choice on top if you feel like adding some texture. Dehydrate at 105-115 degrees until almost dry but still with a little "give" or pliability.
These are hearty and delicious with soups or spreads.