Monday, October 19, 2009

Chocolate Pecan Pie And A Couple Curried Dishes with Autumn Vegetables

A few weeks ago Jennifer Cornbleet’s publisher sent me a reviewer’s copy of her new book, Raw For Dessert.  She had seen my blog and wrote me an email. How very cool!

This is a lovely new dessert book with all kinds of delicious looking treats. Whether you are just starting out on the raw journey or you are an experienced raw pastry chef, this book has something for everyone. Raw desserts are my favorite part of living a raw vegan lifestyle! So I am delighted to have a copy of this raw dessert recipe book filled with cakes, pies, ice creams, cookies and other luscious sweets. Plus I like how most of her ice cream recipes don’t use any young Thai coconuts (which have been scarce lately or poor quality). Even though it’s not ice cream weather, we have our eye on her Pistachio Ice Cream recipe! Scott has also requested her raspberry squares :-)

My first dessert from Jennifer’s new book was the Chocolate Pecan Pie which is perfect for the cooler fall weather and also for the upcoming holidays.

Chocolate Pecan Pie!

Jennifer’s publisher gave me permission to post a recipe from her new book. Please do check out her webpage and the book details by CLICKING HERE.

This recipe includes a few components so I’m going to list them in the order that I made them:

1 Cup of Date Paste (here’s what I used since I cut the recipe almost in half)

  • 20 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 1/2 cups of water (and a couple teaspoons extra)

Soak dates in the water for 20 minutes, massaging them with your hands for a minute. Drain dates but reserve the soaking water.

Place dates in food processor along with a bit over 1/4 cup of soak water and blend until smooth.

Almond Pecan Crust

  • 3/4 cup of unsoaked almonds
  • 3/4 cup of unsoaked pecans (recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
  • 8 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt

Place almonds and sea salt in the food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add the pecans and process until both nuts are finely ground. Add the dates and process until mixture begins to stick together. Don’t overprocess. Form a pie crust in a 9 inch pie plate or tart pan. I used a pie plate.

3/4 cup of Chocolate Ganache

  • 3/4 cup of dark agave syrup or maple syrup (I used mostly dark agave with a bit of maple syrup)
  • 3/4 cup of cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup of virgin coconut oil, melted (in dehydrator)
  • 1/8 teaspoon plus pinch of sea salt

Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth. Add most of it on top of the crust. Scatter 3/4 cups of pecans on top of the ganache. Press down with your hand. Put in the fridge while making the filling.


  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of agar flakes
  • 1 cup of date paste from above
  • 1 tablespoon of dark agave or maple syrup (I used maple syrup since I live in Vermont)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt

Place the water and agar flakes in a small saucepan on the stove and let soak for 5-10 minutes. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Place the date paste, maple syrup or agave, vanilla extract, and sea salt in the food processor and process until smooth. Add the agar mixture and process until blended.

Spread the date mixture evenly over the ganache and pecans with an offset spatula. Scatter the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup of pecans on top, pressing them down slightly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.


Joyce’s Notes: Wow this is a very rich and decadent dessert! Both my husband Scott and I love this one! It’s sinfully good with the chocolate ganache layer! Thank you Jennifer for this clever recipe.

The crust works well as I added a bit more pecans. I always change up crust recipes to suit our preferences.

The chocolate ganache is so simple yet amazing! Scott loved this part the most. We were both scraping every last drop out of the Vitamix. It was that good! You could do a lot with this recipe for other desserts. Chocolate lovers must try this!

The date paste was really nice and I thought the filling mixture was very good with the date paste and maple syrup. This was my first time using agar flakes. I used Eden brand Agar Agar Sea Vegetable Flakes. This is a vegetable gelatin made with a variety of sea vegetables with thickening properties. I found these at City Market Co-op.

The filling did get a bit thicker after being in the fridge but not as firm as using Irish moss. The consistency was OK for this particular dessert. I’d like to experiment more using Agar flakes in the future since it’s a more neutral taste than Irish moss. I’m not worried about Agar being cooked since you use a very small amount. Plus Irish moss gets very hot when blending in the Vitamix so even Irish moss isn’t truly raw in desserts.

Overall I highly recommend Jennifer’s new book and trying this super naughty-tasting dessert. It has a few steps but the end result is worth the effort. In fact I’m about to take a break and cut myself a small piece as it’s not going to last long! ;-)

For people that are looking for a more traditional raw vegan pecan pie recipe without the chocolate, I highly recommend trying Alissa Cohen’s recipe in her book, Living on Live Food. I brought that one to a Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago and it was a huge hit!


Autumn Curried Carrot Salad. Recipe was found on CLICK HERE to see original recipe.

This past Friday, our favorite neighbors, Stu and RenĂ©e left some carrots, purple cabbage, and other veggies in a basket for us to enjoy. Thanks so much you two! This was just perfect because I had my eye on the this curried carrot salad recently posted on that also called for purple cabbage. 

Here is  the recipe with my own modifications:


Salad base:

  • 5 to 6 cups of shredded and grated carrots using the food processor
  • 1/2 of a small head of purple cabbage, chopped in the food processor
  • 1/2 cup of unsoaked sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 heaping cup of raisins, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup of dried shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of minced red onion
  • big handful of cilantro or more to taste, minced

Combine and mix in a nice big bowl


  • 1/2 cup plus a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 2 small/medium Macintosh apples (I used one and 2/3 of a second apple)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger (I used a bit under 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of garam masala (start off with 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • sea salt to taste
  • enough water for the mixture to turn over in Vitamix
  • dash of cinnamon

Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth and creamy. Add more water if necessary.  Mix with salad base.

Add a few more cilantro leaves when eating. This is my personal preference as I love cilantro.

(Original dressing recipe calls for juice of one lemon which I forgot to add)


Joyce’s Notes: This is a lovely salad that both my husband and I enjoyed very much. My result was not a ‘taste explosion’ as expressed on But it was still very good and satisfying. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars. Perhaps next time I would make sure I didn’t forget the lemon juice in the dressing. Also I might use a bit fewer carrots. Overall it was still delicious and Scott was happy to take some leftovers to work today as a nice lunch.


A Work in Progress and a fun experiment:

Curry Butternut Squash Cream Sauce over Ravioli stuffed with Cashew Cheese with Cranberries.

This was my own experiment this weekend. The recipe needs to be tweaked a bit, but it has a lot of potential. I thought I’d share the photos anyway and talk a little about it.

I bought a butternut squash for the weekend to experiment with softening it up up in the dehydrator. I peeled and cut it up into small cubes. I then soaked it overnight in the fridge in cold salted water. The next day I coated the squash in olive oil and dehydrated the cubes all day on telefex sheets. They got soft enough to use but not quite as soft as baked squash. I was still very pleased with the results (and I can be fussy too). So I might try Susan Power’s

Savory Squash Crepes With Sage “Cream” Sauce

recipe on Rawmazing. CLICK HERE to check it out. Looks lovely with the dehydrated squash!!

Back to my experiment :-) I made a cream sauce with soaked cashews, pine nuts, the soft dehydrated squash, olive oil and a bunch of other ingredients for flavoring including curry powder.

The filling was a fermented cashew cheese with lemon zest, and other flavorings. I did use a tad too much lemon zest so next time I need to be mindful of how strong the zest can be. Live and learn!

The wrappers were made of turnips that I soaked in grape seed oil which is a very nice neutral oil, easily found at most co-ops and health food stores. I soaked some dried cranberries for garnish which made the dish look pretty.

Once I get this recipe or a ‘cousin’ of this dish perfected I’ll share more details. Hopefully this will be a future recipe I can sell on my ‘special project’ which will benefit farm animals ;-)

So I had a fun time in the kitchen as usual this past weekend. But we did manage to get outside for some lovely autumn running and exploring. (I’m feeling very strong and in good shape after our half marathon a few weekends ago)

Here are a couple photos we took out in the Waitsfield, Vermont area this past weekend:


Oh I just have to include this one with Murphy:

He loves to be a part of everything! :-)

Well, it’s a perfect day with clear blue skies! It’s almost a crime to be inside now. So I’m off for a run!

Cheers and have a lovely week! Sending warm wishes from Vermont. xo


  1. It is so much fun to do book and product reviews. I love the cover of Jenny's book!

    Your pie turned out so well! I'd liked to sit down and have a piece!! YUM!

  2. Hi Pam, this pie is a good one for sure! I love the chocolate layer! Thanks for stopping by

    Joyce :-)

  3. Another beautiful post, Joyce! That pie almost sounds like a "turtle" pie:) Your table is so pretty with the leaves and lil' punkins:)

    Thanks for sharing your weekend fun in the kitchen with us!

  4. Hi Angela, you know, I'm not sure if I ever had turtle pie.

    I found those pumpkins at Heatlhy Living...had to have cute :-)

    Joyce :-)

  5. oh boy that pie looks great. too bad i am off pie for a little while.

  6. Delicious! I'll try this one this week!

  7. Hi. I work for Bass Pecan Company we are offering 10% off if you order by Nov 1st Hurry over to our website use Coupon Code EB2009. Also submite your pecan recipes While your there for a chance to win $1000

  8. Hi Aimee and Joanna!

    I'll have to check out the pecan website. Wonder if they sell raw organic pecans at a decent price. I'm paying aroung $17 a pound here which gets costly....

    Anyhoo, have a great day


  9. Ohhh, how gorgeous, everything! I will try to make this pie for sure and ravioli also looks amazing!! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Hi Barbarella, You'll love the pie! thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Joyce :-)

  11. Yummy! These look so delicious! Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Hi ItVeganAtGenesis! You're welcome :-)

    I'm looking forward to checking out your blog!

    Have a nice weekend!


  13. You are right Joyce, me and my boyfriend both loved this pie!!! Instead of agar, I used coconut oil, and still it turned out perfectly!! I will sure make this pie again:)

  14. Hi Barbarella, so awesome that you made the pie! Yay!! I bet the coconut oil worked great! Thanks for sharing your results. Most appreciated! :-)

    Have a nice weekend


  15. hi! i heard the chocolate pecan pie is amazing over at raw freedom community and i think i NEED to try it! =) thanks for posting!!!


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