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Love:

Last fall my sister came for a visit and I wanted to make her a special meal and an even more special dessert. I made a version of this pie with a traditional graham cracker crust and caramel that I made by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk (still in its sealed can mind you) for 2 1/2 hours! Plus heavy whipping cream for a topping. I knew this would be a hit with my sis, the last pie I made her was a chocolate tofu pie and she ain’t down with no tofu pie. I can’t wait till she visits again so I can make her this new version, don’t tell her but it’s vegan and gluten-free and if you ask me better than the one we had last fall. I have been working out this recipe in my head for the last six months and then one Monday morning in yoga during savasana (corpse pose for those of you who aren’t into yoga) it all fell into place. I couldn’t be happier to share this recipe and hopefully some new ideas (caramel sauce made from dates, and coconut whip cream) with you, and most of all I can’t wait to make it for my non tofu eating sis! Enjoy!

Food:

Coconut Banana Caramel Cream Pie serves 8

Crust-

3/4 c. organic thick rolled oats (gluten-free)

3/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (I buy mine in the bulk section)

3/4 c. walnuts

6 T. coconut oil, melted

3 banana’s, sliced (for filling)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the oats, walnuts and shredded coconut in the food processor, pulse until you get a nice crumble.

2. Pour the crumble into the pie pan, add the melted coconut and with a fork mix until well combined. Smooth out and press up the sides.

3. Bake for 22 min. Take out of oven (the center of the crust might puff up, don’t worry) and let cool 15 min. With the bottom of a measuring cup smooth out the crust again, press lightly up the sides and then place the crust in the fridge for at least one hour (I think mine was in there for 2), it will firm up and be ready for the rest of the ingredients.

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Salted Caramel Dip/Sauce- politely borrowed from My New Roots

2 cups pitted Medjool dates

¼ cup raw nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, sesame tahini, sunflower) (I prefer almond butter)

4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (I use organic vanilla extract)

soaking water as needed

Directions:

1. Soak dates for at least 4 hours in water.

2. Drain dates, reserving the soak water.

3. Add dates to a food processor along with all other ingredients, except for soaking water. Blend on high until dates are smooth. Add soaking water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached (for a sauce to pour or drizzle, add more water).

4. Store in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to a week.

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Coconut Whip Cream-

1 c. canned coconut milk, chilled (save the leftovers for a smoothie OR if you really like whip cream use all of it and adjust sweetness)

1 T. pure maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Pour the canned chilled coconut milk into a bowl (I used my kitchen aid mixer with the whip attachment). Start to whip. When it starts to firm up stop machine and add maple syrup and vanilla. Whip again until you’ve reached desired consistency. (I like mine firm but still light and fluffy, use your best judgement it will firm up more in the fridge).

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Toasted Coconut for topping-

1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Place the coconut in a dry saute pan over medium low heat, lightly toast stirring often. Careful not to burn, set aside.

Assemble-

1. Prepared crust

2. Sliced bananas

3. Salted Caramel Sauce

4. Coconut Whip Cream

5. Toasted Coconut

Place in the fridge for at least an hour for all the flavors to meld together, cut with a very sharp knife and serve immediately.

DSCN2802DSCN2804DSCN2807DSCN2810DSCN2793Nutrition:

Coconut oil- Coconut oils medium-chain fats are easily absorbed and preferentially used as an energy source, their burning actually increases the body’s metabolic rate. Coconut oil contains a fat called lauric acid also found in breast milk, lauric acid is converted into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral, antibacterial destroyer of disease-causing organisms.(Canned coconut milk- buy whole, not low-fat. Low fat coconut milk has most of the medium-chain fats removed. Choose a brand that has no additives.)

Dates- Dates are rich in antioxidants  and anti-cancer compounds. An alkaline food and an excellent source of easily digested carbohydrates.(Eating local is key in a holistic diet, but eating regionally is also important depending on where you live. In Utah we don’t have a year round growing season so eating within our region fills in those gaps. Dates are in season in California during this time of year and I was lucky enough to be gifted 2 lbs of them. This was the perfect recipe to use some of them on.)

Oats- Oats provide and abundance of antioxidants and lignans which help protect against cancer and help stabilize blood sugar levels. Rolled oats, which are minimally processed are slightly less beneficial than steel-cut or whole oat groats.

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