Vegan Delights #29: Festive Fresh Fruit Pie

If I could capture the delightful smell of this piecrust right from the oven, no words would be needed to describe it! This luscious recipe is very versatile and can adapt to any ripe fresh fruit you have in the kitchen. This version uses organic white peaches, but would also be delightful with nectarines, pears, fresh red cherries (pits removed), bananas, strawberries, or a combination of these choices. It’s all in the crust which is made from wholesome ingredients with Medjool dates as the main source of sweetness with their binding ability.

 

Another aspect of this treat are the many choices available to serve alongside a slice or on it. Suggestions include vanilla soy, coconut or almond milk ice cream, vegan whipped cream, or any of your favorite non-dairy yogurts (plain or with fruit added) readily available in the health food section. Depending on the season, different juicy fruits are offered to you to use for toppings for your taste buds to be satisfied. The fruit on top is not cooked, and therefore retains all its original nutrition value and flavor.

 

Dates are known as a biblical gift to the people of the Middle East having originated from the ancient date palm tree. Grown in desert oasis’, the height of these trees provide shade for the lower layers of other kinds of fruit trees as they all thrive from deep underground water sources. There are reported to be over 3,000 varieties of dates worldwide, but we in the USA are most familiar with the Deglet Noor and the Medjool types. The Deglet is smaller, lighter in color and drier than the Medjool and most frequently found in baked goods. The variety we are using are fat, maple-hued dates prized for their succulent taste and plump texture. They are piled in baskets and served during many various holiday seasons. Muslims traditionally break their fast during Ramadan in the evening starting with a delectable date.

 

Naturally sweet, they are very low in fat, high in absorbable carbs, provide abundant energy and are rich in potassium. Easily digested, they help to metabolize fats and pack a load of fiber to help our systems heal and regenerate health. One excellent and very easy to prepare treat is created by slicing a Medjool date open and fanning it into a heart shaped boat. Remove the seed and the “nub” at the top of the date. Fill it with a small scoop of peanut, cashew or almond butter, or vegan cream cheese, cover with a whole walnut half or pecan, sprinkle with grated unsweetened coconut and serve. Festive and delectable, these after dinner natural sweet “hearts of palm” are always greeted with a smile!

Fresh Fruit Pie

8 Medjool dates – soaked in hot water for at least 1-2 hours

1 cup walnuts (also soaked to soften and aid digestibility)

1 1/2 cup oats (not the quick variety)

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/3 cup turbinado sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract (non-alcoholic preferred)

1/3 cup coconut oil (softened)

1/3 cup grated fine coconut

 

  1. Strain the soaked dates and walnuts, and reserve the liquid.

Add all these ingredients and pulse in a food processor until blended into a soft mass. You may need to add a few drops of the soaking water to make the mixture more malleable.

  1. Use a tiny amount of coconut oil to coat the pie dish.
  2. Press mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of pan.
  3. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees until nicely browned and aromatic.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Cover the bottom with 3/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips. (optional)

 

To prepare fruit topping. Use a shallow bowl. Peel the organic fruit of your choice, if necessary, depending on the fruit used. (I used 3 white peaches.) Slice thinly and add 1/8 cup of real maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla and a dusting of cinnamon powder. Mix gently and place the slices one at a time in a pleasing design leaving the excess syrup behind. Dust with an additional small amount of coconut flakes. Any liquid left over can be used to drizzle on the dollop of ice cream or yogurt that will be added at serving time for the crowning glory.

 

Now set a DATE to ENJOY this pie with family and friends! 🎉

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