• Sally Miller, B. S., N. E.

Three "Live" Pies

Sweet treats from live, organic ingredients nourish body and soul

3 Live Pies

October brings us into an autumnal shift to shorter days and cooler weather. It is the time to harvest.

This is a good opportunity to harvest your inner thoughts and make a list of what you are thankful for.

Gratitude brings abundance. Start with the food you eat and the roof over your head. These gifts are especially poignant with the enormous amount of losses felt by many in the world.

Harvesting our natural bounty at this time of year is a way to stay closer to nature.

The dessert book "Sweet Gratitude," by Matthew Rogers and Tiziana Alipo Jamborra comes to mind. Rogers and Alipo Jamborra are chefs and part of the staff of Cafe Gratitude, a raw foods restaurant chain on the West Coast.

I have had the opportunity to visit the San Francisco cafe a couple of times and found the desserts, as well as the food, to be exciting and delicious. Their philosophy for life and food choices is inspiring:

"Sweet Gratitude" uniquely merges a "cookbook" of delicious raw vegan desserts with the philosophy of celebrating life and love for ourselves, each other, and the world. We want to inspire people to become aware of their own power in the choices they make and to understand the infinite effects that these choices have. Being present to every choice we make is a way to honor and celebrate our lives, our bodies and the Earth.

"Choosing vegan, organic, and fair-trade foods has a major impact on the planet and all the beings and supported by this planet. Taking responsibility for how we nourish ourselves goes beyond our food choices. We nourish ourselves with our thoughts, the way we express ourselves, and how present we are in the moment."

Raw desserts fit beautifully into that philosophy. They are the healthiest dessert choices available. They are delicious and filled with ripe, live, organic ingredients that burst with flavor.

Most of the ingredients are fresh and minimally processed - enzymes are intact, which helps you absorb and digest the food.

They use alternative, low-glycemic sweeteners, such as agave syrup and dates. The crusts are nut based instead of highly processed grains.

For many people, these are the safest kinds of desserts to eat. Those who are lactose intolerant, borderline diabetic or allergic to wheat gluten find raw desserts to be a godsend.

People with these conditions are increasing in number as our bodies react to all the processed, high-glycemic sugar, wheat and pasteurized dairy that is abundant in today's world. Some people choose raw desserts for these reasons, but they really are for everyone to enjoy.

People are amazed these desserts are made free of animal products and grains. It can open your eyes to a new way of preparing food that can taste better than the real thing.

My three "live" pies are made with the natural bounty of the season: pumpkin, apple and avocado. The consistency of these pies will be different than your average fall dessert. Instead of baked flavor, you will taste whole apples, pumpkin and creamy avocado. Different, but quite delicious.

Feel free to add or change spices for the season. The crusts are made from nuts and/or coconut. Prepare a gluten-free crust if you like, or purchase one already prepared and fill it in. I have never liked making pie crusts, so this simple, alternative approach has allowed me to make pies or cobblers very quickly without effort.

I hope you enjoy trying a unique approach to pie preparation. Enjoy the season.


Pie slices

*Crusts made entirely with macadamias can easily be over-processed, making the "dough" very oily and too soft to hold a shape in the pie pan. Stop processing and stir often, noticing the progressive change in consistency.

* If the nuts are chunky, first try sharpening the S blade of your processor. You can also lightly process the nuts and salt before adding other ingredients. Adding all the date paste at once will not allow the nuts to break down.

*When pressing the crust into the pan, be careful not to use too much pressure, as this will result in the crust sticking to the pan and making the serving process challenging. On the other hand, if you are not pressing it enough, the crust will be crumbly and messy.

*If the crust is not sticking together and breaking apart with a clean break, you need to add a small splash (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) of liquid vanilla and process a bit longer.

*If you have an allergy to nuts and can eat coconut, you can eliminate the nuts in the crust and use the coconut.


*The ingredients subject to the most variability are the nut milks, coconut milk, and fresh fruits and vegetables. To test the consistency of the creamed pies, pour a small amount of filling in a small cup and place in the refrigerator or freezer for 20-30 minutes.

*Using a small knife, cut into the filling. If the result is clean cut and the filling is holding its shape, the consistency is perfect. Add tested portion back to blender, blend briefly, just enough to re-incorporate, and continue with the recipe.

*If the tested portion is too loose, add back to blender along with an additional 2 tablespoons coconut oil and blend well. Re-test. If the tested portion is very gelatinous and hard to touch, add tested portion back to blender along with 2 tablespoons lemon juice or agave syrup, or combination of both. Re-test.

*The most important thing is to blend all ingredients really well. If your blender has less than 8 cups full or the machine is struggling, blend half the recipe at a time.


Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 small or 6 large slices; will keep for at least 3 days covered in the refrigerator. Can freeze individual slices.



2 cups pecans

1/4 cup date paste

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt


3 cups raw baking pumpkin or butternut squash

1 1/4 cups coconut milk

6 tablespoons agave syrup

1 teaspoon ginger powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons liquid vanilla

1/4 teaspoon clove

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon lecithin

3/4 cups coconut oil, melted

Cashew Whip

1 1/4 cup cashews soaked for 4 hours

1/8 cup lemon juice

few drops of almond extract

Making Date Paste:

The fastest way to make date paste is to finely mince pitted dates. You can also use a mortar and pestle if you have one. Date paste is better than whole dates when making the crusts. However, whole pitted dates will blend up fine in the blender. When selecting dates choose ones that are not overly dry or overly ripe and squishy. Ten ounces of date paste is about 1 ½ cups. Medjool dates are the best choice. Always check the inside of the dates for possible insects.



Process the pecans in the food processor until fine.

Add the rest of the ingredients and process until mixture pulls away from the bowl, but is not oily.

Press into a 9 inch pie plate working the mixture up the sides of the plate.


Put the pumpkin and milk into the blender and blend. Depending on the size and speed of your blender, you may need to divide the milk and pumpkin into 2 or 3 parts and blend individually.

Add all the other ingredients except lecithin and coconut oi, continue to blend until smooth.

Add the coconut oil and lecithin and blend for 1 minute.

Taste the mixture for flavor and consistency. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust and smooth top with spatula.

Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours and then remove to the refrigerator.

Slice and serve cold, or reheat individual slices on warm.

Add a spoonful of the Cashew Whip to each slice just before serving if you like.

Cashew Whip

Combine the nuts, lemon juice, date paste and almond extract in a blender or food processor.

Blend and check for sweetness and consistency. Add more date paste if the cream needs sweetness or more water if the cream is still too stiff.

Blend until fluffy and smooth.

Use immediately. Can be frozen for later use.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Makes 8 small or 6 large slices; will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Individual pieces can be frozen.



1 1/4 cup macadamia nuts

1 1/2 cups coconut flakes

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup date paste

1 tablespoon liquid vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt


2 ripe avocado

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 tablespoons agave

6 tablespoons almond milk

1/4 teaspoon liquid vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons lecithin

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (optional for creamier texture)



Process the macadamia nuts and coconut flakes in the food processor until fine.

Add the rest of the ingredients and process until mixture pulls away from the bowl, but is not oily.

Press into a 9-inch pie plate working the mixture up the sides of the plate.


Add all of the ingredients for the filling except coconut oil to the food processor and process until creamy smooth. Check the consistency and add the coconut oil, if you want it creamier.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.

Top with coconut flakes and optional Cashew Whip.

Apple Cranberry Pie

Makes 8 small or 6 large slices; will keep for at least 3 days covered in the refrigerator. Can freeze individual slices.



1 cup almonds

1 cup walnuts

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ cup date paste

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup fresh cranberries

1 teaspoon orange zest


1. Process the nuts in the food processor until fine.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until mixture pulls away from the bowl, but is not oily.

3. Press into a 9 inch pie plate working the mixture up the sides of the plate.


6-7 medium apples: 4 sliced thin and 2 to 3 shredded

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup cranberries, chopped in half

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup date paste


1. Slice and shred the apples are indicated into a large bowl.

2. Add all ingredients, except cranberries and walnuts to the apples and mix well with your hands until the date paste is evenly distributed.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and use your hands to form a nice rounded shape.

4. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the chopped walnuts, then place the cranberries on top for decoration.

5. Refrigerate for 2 or more hours before cutting.

6. Warm as individual slices if desired.

7. This pie will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Note: I used Granny smith apples because they hold their shape well. This produces a tart and 3

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