Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Healthy Summer Pies: Berry, Lime, & Chocolate



These cold, creamy pies have to be one of my favorite things about summer at home.  The kids and I have fun making them together in the morning, measuring out the ingredients, pressing the buttons on the food processor and blender, pushing the crust into the pan, and of course licking the dishes.  They are so easy to make, and with two helpers underfoot and a third helper usually about to wake up from his nap ready to nurse, I’m looking for easy.

We have even more fun eating these pies for an afternoon snack, then for dessert after dinner, then for a before-breakfast snack in the morning … or whenever we happen to be feeling hot and hungry.  They’re healthy enough that I can freely offer second helpings for my kids to gobble up.  The pie is gone before we know it, and it’s time to make another.

Below is Elanor enjoying pie at age 1 and at age 3.  Time goes by so fast ...


Easy Pie Crust

1 cup almonds
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
6 pitted dates
1 or 2 spoonfuls of coconut oil

Put almonds, coconut, and dates together into a food processor.  (You can substitute pecans or walnuts in place of the almonds.  If you are using walnuts, you do not need any coconut oil.  You can also substitute prunes or raisins for the dates.  6 pitted dates equals about 1/3 cup of chopped dried fruit to sweeten the crust.)

Blend these three ingredients together into a fine powder.  Your pie crust may be done at this point—test with your fingers to see if you can press it together.  If it’s too crumbly, add a spoonful of coconut oil (you can substitute softened butter), pulse, and then test again.  Add another spoonful of oil if you need to.

Lightly grease a pie pan, press in the crust, and put in the freezer while you make the filling.

Berry Filling


3 egg whites at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
2 dropper-fulls liquid stevia extract
½ tsp cream of tartar
3 cups frozen berries, partially thawed.
2 tbsp lemon juice or lemonade

(If you are uncomfortable eating raw egg whites, the original recipe gives instructions for how to bring your egg whites to 160 degrees.  I don’t mind raw egg whites as long as they are fresh from a farm that I know, and if I clean the eggs before I crack them.)

Mix together egg whites, sugar, stevia, and cream of tartar to make a stiff meringue.  (I do this in our blender with a different attachment.)  Scrape the meringue out into a separate bowl.

Put the berries and lemon juice into the empty blender.  (I use strawberries, but the original recipe calls for raspberries.  I think you could also do blueberries or a berry mix, or even another fruit like peaches.  Fresh fruit would work just as well as frozen.  I also use lemonade in the place of lemon juice since I had Costco organic lemonade on hand.  Lime juice or lemon extract or oil would probably work just as well.)  Blend into a smooth puree, and then fold into the meringue.  Pour filling into the pie crust and freeze.  Serve with whipped cream.

Lime Filling


2 big or 3 small ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
2/3 cup lime juice (probably about 5 limes)
Zest from 1 lime
Pinch salt
½ cup honey
½ cup coconut oil, melted
Honey or stevia to taste

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  I usually keep tasting and tinkering with the recipe until I like how it tastes—adding more lime juice for stronger flavor, and more honey and stevia to sweeten until it’s right.  Pour filling into the pie crust and freeze.  Serve with whipped cream.

The first time I made this pie I was a little grossed out about using avocadoes in a dessert recipe.  But the avocadoes don’t affect the flavor at all; they just give a smooth texture and a green color.  Even my son who hates avocadoes loves this pie.  He has no idea there are avocadoes in it, and don’t anybody dare tell him!

Chocolate Filling


1 cup nut butter
6 pitted dates
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup plain yogurt
4 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp vanilla
Pinch salt
Honey or stevia to taste

I first discovered this recipe trying to find a use for hazelnuts.  I don’t even remember how I got the hazelnuts, but making hazelnut butter in the food processor is easy, and then I added the other ingredients.  These days I usually use peanut butter since that’s what I have on hand.  Almond butter would work well also.  The 6 dates can be replaced with 1/3 cup of raisins or other dried fruit to sweeten.  The yogurt could also be Greek yogurt to give this pie even more protein.

Blend all ingredients together in the food processor until smooth.  This is another recipe I keep tasting and tinkering with to make sure it’s sweet enough.  Pour filling into the pie crust and freeze.  Serve with whipped cream.

I love how healthy these three pies are—gluten free and low in sugar.  The berry pie is a good serving of fresh fruit; the lime pie is high in Vitamin C and healthy fats; and the chocolate pie is so filled with protein and so filling that it’s a meal in itself.  Enjoy!

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