I will use any holiday as an excuse to make something fancy. Fancy is literally the word I use to tell my taste-tester to expect something other than rice and veggies for dinner. Arbor Day? Sounds like an excuse for fancy food. Aviation Day? That's a thing? Great. On it. Unlike Thanksgiving, I actually remembered to take photos of what I made for Christmas. Our dessert was one of my usual ice cream pies, but this time it involved multiple steps and homemade chocolate covered raspberries on the top. Intrigued? Keep reading...
For Christmas, my taste tester got me lights that clamp on to any edge so I can take better food photos. The most thoughtful present ever, and also affirmation that my photos really are that bad. But not anymore! I also got some fermenting gear for mason jars, and we also came by a fermenting crock this year, so every inch of our small home smells amazing. But back to this dessert. So this is actually a three part process, which is unusual for me as I'm more of a 'if it requires more than one pot I'm not doing it' kind of girl. But it's totally worth it, and creates a dessert that even non-vegans will love. I think. I don't know, I only cook for one other person and we both have the same diet. So maybe you serve it to a meat eater and let me know?
What You Need:
For the Crust:
5 dates, pitted (Depending on the strength of your blender/food processor you may want to soak these first)
1 cup walnuts
1 cup quick oats
Water, as needed (I use a food processor and don't need to add any water, but if your blender struggles to mix all of this start with water a tablespoon at a time--you don't want it to be too soggy!)
For the Filling:
1/2 cup cashews
2 ripe bananas
One cup of cherries (fresh or frozen), half get blended into the filling, the other half get chopped and mixed in later
1/4 cup water
For the Topping:
One package of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao
1/4 cup honey/agave + more based on tasting
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
I always start with the crust and then the filling, as this needs time to freeze and set. However, the chocolate topping also needs time to freeze and set, so order is less important, as you will see below.
Step One: Take your crust ingredients and put them in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture gets crumbly. If you're using a blender you will need some water, but don't add too much as you want this to have a crumbly texture over a paste-like texture. (Alternately you could just make this without a crust).
Step Two: Pour your crust into whatever pan you're using, and press it into the bottom and up the sides. I use a 10" Springform pan, but anything will work as long as it's freezer safe.
Step Three: Put all of your filling ingredients in a VitaMix or blender except for the half cup of chopped cherries and the 1/4 cup of water.. Start blending, then slowly add the water until you get the consistency that you want. I would recommend the minimal amount of liquid to get everything blended smoothly as this will ensure a really creamy, thick texture! It will be a pretty pink color when everything is fully blended.
Step Four: Pour the mixture into a bowl and fold in the half cup of chopped cherries until they're mixed in. Then, pour the entire thing carefully over the crust. I always do a careful little shake of the pan to get everything evened out and covered. Put this in the freezer for at least four hours.
Step Five: Time for chocolate! In a small pan, put all of your chcolate ingredients except for the raspberries and whisk over low heat until everything is combined and fully liquid. Do a taste test to see if you want more honey.
Step Six: Take this off of the heat and stir in the raspberries until they are all covered in chocolate.
Step Seven: Take a baking sheet and cover it with parchment paper or wax paper. Slowly pour out your Chocolate Raspberries onto this surface, making sure they're evenly spread out. The chocolate will pool all over the pan, and that is what you want! Put this into the freezer also for at least four hours. (If you've got longer it will also set in the fridge!)
Step Eight: once your cholate has set, carefully peel your raspberries off of the paper and put them on top of the pie in whatever shape you want.
Step Nine: Peel the remaining chocolate off of the paper, and put it into a bowl. Take a heavy kitchen tool (I use the flat end of my knife sharpener) and carefully pound the chocolate until it breaks into small chunks. Also pour these chunks onto the top of the pie.
Step Ten: Choices! You can put this back into the freezer so it all gets stuck together (I went with this option--much less messier when you actually want to cut the pie) OR you can serve. Keep in mind that you will need to let this sit out for about 10-20 minutes so you can get a knife through it in order to cut it into slices and people can get a spoon through it.
Whew! Lots of steps, but totally worth it. This is one rich dessert, but it is perfect for a special occasion! And it photographs nicely, providing you have the right equipment.