Pie is one of my favorite things on the planet. My Italian Grandmother was incredibly proud of my pie consuming skills as a child …. as in, she would make sure to always have 2 whole pies available for me to devour over the holidays. My family would sit around and watch me consume one whole pie, and then ask for a second whole pie. Kind of like watching those strange hot dog eating contests, but with apple pie instead of hot dogs, and without any competition ...... just me consuming a lot of pie, by myself. My Grandfather would proclaim that I had a hollow leg, and that I better appreciate my days of a speedy metabolism, because one day I wouldn’t be able to eat an entire pie without guilt and gaining an extra few pounds. As a kid, I thought that day would neverrrrrrr come .....but of course, it did. My love for pie is still very strong, but I’m not consuming it by the whole these days.
These days I like to share my pie with others. I like to watch people devour pie that I make for them. I like to feed people and gift people food, especially around the holidays when a little extra love and a giving spirit goes a long way.
My pal Ashlae, of Oh, Ladycakes, was inspired this past thanksgiving to share some kindness and appreciation (in the form of pie) to some first responders in her neighborhood. Touched by their hard work to save others on Thanksgiving Day, while many of us were spending time with family, she ran to her kitchen to bake them a pie as a thank you to let them know their hard work does not go without notice. She felt so inspired by this act, that she decided to get other bloggers on board to do the same for the holiday season. YES, yes. How could I not say yes to feeding people who selflessly give so much for others, especially over the holidays. Ashlae created the perfectly fitting hashtag #PIEITFORWARD, and PIE BOX donated their beautiful pie boxes, in hopes that this notion will spread beyond our blogs. We hope that you'll be inspired to #PIEITFOWARD too.
From my pervious post it's obvious that my mom has been on my mind a lot, even more now that the holidays are here. This time last year, there were a team of nurses and professionals who were taking care of my mom, pushing her (us) along with their postive energy, friendship, and kindness. Doctors, nurses, and therpists who selflessly gave up their holidays to care for others. People who went above and beyond their jobs to bring smiles to the faces of families that were going through an extra hard holiday season. They are the people that I decided deserve a pie and a big THANK YOU .... because even a year later, I am still incredibly touched by their strength and selflessness that I experienced first hand over the holidays.
Since this pie is going to be gifted to others who may or may not care to eat a gluten and dairy free pie, I decided I needed to knock this out of the park and make it so freaking good, that anyone and everyone would want to devour this pie without even thinking about what is or is not in it.
The first person who it had to pass this test with was Michael, because when I told him I was going to make a chocolate mousse pie, he was less than interested (he claims he’s not a chocolate lover even though I’m working on that). I fed him a slice, and his first bite he screamed “WOW’ and demanded another bite. Then, we proceeded to inhale that first piece of pie, and then a second, and then I had to put the test pie away before I went back to my old ways and devoured the whole thing. YEP, this pie passed the test. This is the pie I will make in hopes that it will bring a smile to some well-deserved people this holiday season.
dark chocolate and mandarin mousse pie with a gingersnap crust + pomegranates + coconut whip (gf+df)
This pie was inspired by and adapted from a recipe in the book: Gluten-Free + Vegan Pie, by Jennifer Katzinger, which is a great resource for anyone looking to get started with gluten and dairy free pie baking.
for the crust:
1 ½ cups of pecans
2 tablespoons of melted ghee (or vegetable oil to make this vegan / dairy free)
1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
a pinch of sea salt
for the filling:
½ cup of macadamia nuts (or cashews) soaked for 2-8 hours
13 oz can of whole coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder)
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
¼ cup of water
¼ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (from a mandarin orange, if you can find them)
¼ cup of panela (or sucanat, or light brown sugar)
¼ cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of agar flakes
1 teaspoon of organe zest
4oz of dark chocolate (70-80%)
for the topping (optional):
about 1 cup of coconut whip (I use an organic store-bought brand, but you can also make it yourself - recipe HERE)
about ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds
Make the crust:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place all of the ingredients for the crust into a food processor, and pulse several times until the dough is formed and holding together. Do not overprocess.
- Place the dough into the center of a 9” round pie plate. Press the mixture into the pan using your fingers to work it evenly up the sides.
- Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, until slightly darker and firm to the touch. Remove, and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.
Make the filling + chill the pie:
- Drain the nuts, and place them into a food processor along with the coconut milk, vanilla, and salt. Run continuously until the mixture is very smooth. Keep the mixture in the food processor while you prepare the rest of the filling.
- Place the water, juice, panela (or light brown sugar), maple syrup, and agar flakes into a small saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until the agar has dissolved and mixture has thickened slightly. Turn the heat off, add the zest and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes, then add it to the food processor and pulse to combine.
- Lastly, melt the chocolate using a double broiler, and add the melted chocolate to the food processor. Pules several times until everything is combined.
- Pour the mixture into the (cooled) pie crust, and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Top with the (optional) toppings and serve:
- Make the coconut whip (if making from scratch).
- Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds over the top, then add a layer of coconut whip and another sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.