As far as desserts go, you can’t get much healthier than a raw dessert. The raw foods lifestyle is all about using 100% whole-food ingredients, minimally processed/prepared in delicious combinations. That means desserts principally comprised of nuts, coconut oil, fresh fruits, cacao (“cacao” typically refers to raw nibs/powder; “cocoa” products have typically been heated over 118F), avocados, and whatever else fits into the whole-foods/raw-foods category. Those kinds of ingredients won’t make your blood sugar levels spike — great news for diabetics, pre-diabetics, and anyone who does not wish to become a diabetic. That covers all of us.
Pretty much all you need to make raw desserts is a food processor, although if you want to achieve amazing silk-texture results for some of the pie fillings, you need a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. On the plus side, raw desserts aren’t cooked, which is a boon in the hot summer months.
For this not-quite-raw rendition of a coconut-milk-based Boston cream pie, I toasted the walnuts and rolled oats to create a crust with a slightly crunchy texture that’s more reminiscent of a standard baked pie crust than raw crusts are. (They’re pretty soft.) Toasted coconut definitely does not qualify as a raw ingredient; nor do rolled oats, which have been steamed to make them soft enough to roll out. I also used coconut milk, which is typically heated over the raw limit of 118F. But like raw desserts, I used entirely whole-food ingredients with a minimum of natural sweeteners (in the form of dates and bananas), and I didn’t bake the pie. You’ll only to have the stove on briefly to make this luxurious version of a Boston cream pie. Perfect for a hot summer night!
Coconut-Banana Cream Pie Makes a 9″ pie.
For the crust:
1 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup rolled oats (be sure to use gluten-free oats if you’re making a gluten-free pie)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
4 dates, pitted
2 T. coconut oil
For the pie filling:
2 ripe bananas
1 T. + 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch sea salt
15 oz. canned WHOLE coconut milk, unshaken and stored in a cool place (this will not work with light coconut milk!!)
Place the walnuts and oats in a large skillet over medium heat. Toast, shaking the pan occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add coconut flakes and continue to toast for another 2 minutes or until everything is fragrant and turning light brown. Immediately transfer to a food processor. Add dates and coconut oil and process until it starts to clump together. (Add another tablespoon of oil if it’s not clumping.) Press into a 9″ pie pan.
Slice the bananas into the same skillet you used for toasting and add one tablespoon of the coconut oil. Saute bananas over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until they’ve begun to caramelize, flipping them about halfway through. Transfer to food processor and add remaining 1/4 cup oil, vanilla, and salt.
Carefully open the can of coconut milk and scoop off JUST THE CREAM THAT HAS RISEN TO THE TOP.* It’s utterly important to use whole coconut milk that has been chilled — light coconut milk doesn’t contain enough cream, and warm whole coconut milk/well-shaken whole coconut milk will be homogeneously thinned out. Chilling whole coconut milk causes the cream to separate and rise to the top. You need to use the cream rather than the milk (which is the cream mixed with the coconut water) so that the pie filling will set when chilled. Add the cream to the processor and blend until the filling is smooth.
Pour filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving to fully set the pie. Pie can be refrigerated for up to a week, although note that the cooked bananas will cause the pie to become faintly brownish-purple after a few hours. Don’t worry about that — it tastes just as delicious. You can always toast extra coconut flakes and scatter them on top as a covering garnish if you like.
* Refrigerate and save the coconut water that is beneath the cream for other uses, like adding to smoothies, using as cooking liquid for grains, or just flat-out drinking. It’s just as delicious as the cream!